June 19, 2023 | Casey Fletcher

People Share Their Worst Oversleeping Stories

Oversleeping the cause of major anxiety for many people. Why? Because it can lead to some truly devastating consequences. One minute, life is going just fine, and the next, you've lost the best opportunity you'll ever get in your life, all because you slept in. Of course, oversleeping does not always end terribly, but the fear of losing something important from one little mistake is enough to leave people dripping in stress-related sweat again and again.

These internet users share their tales of oversleeping. Anyone reading should probably make sure they have their anxiety in check before entering, as some of these stories are enough to make an innocent digital bystander feel the real panic from afar. Oversleeping is no joke, that's for sure.


Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Saved By The Bus Stop

In my freshman year of college, I was enrolled in an English class that met every day at 7:40 a.m. The grade for the entire semester was based on a portfolio of papers that were to be completed throughout the term, and there was no final test — we just had to show up and give the professor our portfolios.

The final day arrived and I had been out the night before. I woke up to a clock that said 8:25. Class ended at 8:30.

Now, I was a decent sprinter, but I was about a mile away from the classroom so I knew there was no hope. I got up, threw on last night's clothes and sprinted downstairs to consider my options.

Then, as I was running, I saw the professor, waiting for the bus.

“HEY can you take this!?”


Bless your soul, interim professor whose name I forget.


#2 Late, But Still Promoted

I was in the military. I had hurt my shoulder at the gym and the doctor prescribed me a muscle relaxer. He told me to take two, but I was talking with one of the nurses I worked with and she said to only take one to see how I would react to it. I took it at 7 p.m. the night before and woke up at 10 a.m. the next morning.
Unfortunately for me, the promotion results were to be announced at 8 a.m. that same morning. I had a ton of missed calls and texts congratulating me. My commander was looking for me to present my certificate. I got there at 11 a.m. Luckily, the nurse that I worked with had told them about the muscle relaxers, so I didn’t get in trouble. It was still very embarrassing and I will never forget it.


#2 A Taxi Driver's Crisis

A few years ago, I worked for a taxi car company in a semi-rural area. One of my booked jobs was from the Department of Veteran Affairs—war vets would receive free transport to medical appointments, while the department paid the company to provide the service.

My Saturday shift started at 6.30 a.m., because by 7 a.m. I was supposed to be picking up an elderly man to run him to the hospital for dialysis. I woke up at 6:40 a.m. and when I realized the time, I leaped out of bed. I had no time to drive to the depot and swap cars so I rang my boss in a panic:

"Hi boss, I slept in but I'm on my way in now. What do I do? I'll go pick up the client in my car if I have to!" My boss was like "Nah, you're good, come in and grab the limo. The time they book for always factors in time to be early. Thanks for being honest." In the end, I got the war vet to his appointment with about five minutes to spare.

I miss those days. I had a great boss.


#4 First Job Jitters

This happened at my first job. One night, I forgot to set my alarm and overslept. I'd never been late to work before and I was in tears, convinced I was going to be fired. My mom calmed me down and got me to work. No one even cared, so I panicked for nothing.



#5 Priorities

My boyfriend almost missed our son's birth because he went to nap and left his phone on silent.


#6 Horses Have Needs Too

I was a working student at a very prestigious horse barn.

We started at 7 a.m. every morning. seven days a week.

I woke up one day and the clock said 7:56 a.m. I was literally screaming 'OH NO OH NO OH NO' as I ran down the stairs in my pajama pants because I figured I would just wear them all day and die or something.

I got to the barn and NO ONE was there. I checked the clock and it was only 2 a.m. I misread 1:56 a.m. as 7:56 a.m. for some reason. A huge whew moment.

I went back up to my apartment AND FORGOT TO SET THE ALARM. I slept until 10:30 a.m.

I had to stay till 8 p.m. mucking out one of the paddocks in the pouring rain that night.


#7 At Least Missing The Ceremony Doesn't Mean You Don't Graduate

I almost missed my graduation because I had been up for days working on my final thesis. The morning of my graduation, I was ready to go, but just closed my eyes for “20 minutes."

I woke up and the graduation was in 10 minutes. Never ran so fast in my life.


#8 How To Almost Ruin Your Whole Master's Degree In One Swoop

In grad school, I lollygagged in renewing the lease on my apartment. When I did renew, someone had already claimed my apartment, so I had to move two doors down. They asked me for a date; I picked a Sunday, thinking that would be when my parents could help me move. What I didn't realize was that was the day before the final draft of my master's thesis was due.

So we got everything moved. Then I worked on my thesis. After pulling an all-nighter, I reached the point where I thought I was about done, so I decided to take a nap for a few hours. The alarm clock didn't go off. I woke up two hours before my thesis was due. I was freaking out.

I actually didn't submit it until two and half hours after it was due, and though they accepted it and never said anything, the stress was unbearable.


#9 Oversleeping Has An Actual Price

I disputed a fine and was to present in front of a judge to explain it. I arrived 15 minutes late, with my hair still wet and my socks mismatched. I was struggling to attach a tie too.

The judge was not impressed, rejected my dispute and gave me a sermon about punctuality.

That oversleeping cost me $600 bucks some dignity.



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#10 When Your Lateness Starts Affecting Others, It Has Gone Too Far

I came an hour late to my security job. Apparently, I set my home alarm at the wrong time. I felt bad because the person I relieve is really nice and her husband was waiting to leave. I just started working there, so I didn't want to be that guy who shows up super late all the time.



#11 No Brownie Points With The Family There

My girlfriend was graduating from college. She was French, so a lot of her relatives took the flight over to see her walk the stage. Well, I turned off my alarm while I was still sleeping. I rushed to the ceremony was and people were already coming out. Just terrible.


#12 Funerals Are Already Hard Enough

I overslept because of alarm clock failure. I was on a morning I was to play the organ for a 9 a.m. funeral.

When the church office called, I scrambled to get moving. I made it to the church just as the hearse was pulling up to the front door to bring in the coffin.


#13 Some Of The Big Differences Between Austria And Germany

About 10 years ago, I moved from Austria to Germany. As an Austrian, you're used to having a whole bunch of public holidays. Austria is very Catholic, so every semi-important Catholic holiday is also a public one. Berlin, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. There are very few public holidays, especially compared to all the other German states.

So, anyway, one of these holidays came up, so I thought great, I can just stay in bed, chillax, maybe order a pizza. At around 1 p.m., just when I was about to order some food, I got a text message from a work colleague: "Hey, why aren't you in the office?"

I was shocked. I looked up the holidays in Berlin, and only then I realized that I mistook an Austrian holiday for a German one. I quickly packed my stuff, went to the office, and told them that I overslept. Fortunately, my job back then had flexi-time, so all I had to do was work later in the evening. I never got to order that pizza.


#14 Not So Reliable Anymore, Are We?

I got called the night before to cover a shift for someone. I hurried home from being out with a friend and set an alarm on my iPad for the next morning.

Well, my iPad decided to not charge overnight, and consequently died before my alarm could go off. I woke up two hours after I was supposed to be there. I got called in specifically because I was one of their most reliable workers. I sure wasn't that day. Oops.


#15 Jumping To Some Strange Conclusions

I came home from working a 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift. I was on Skype with my boyfriend at the time and had apparently nodded off. I woke up around 8 p.m.,  but it was still a little bit bright outside. It was dusk but my brain thought it was dawn.

I saw that it was almost 9 a.m. and thought I had somehow slept through the night, into the morning, while on Skype, and my boyfriend didn't wake me up. I was so mad at him.

I cried because I thought he not only let me sleep through the night but the WHOLE NEXT DAY. I finally put it all together and felt awful.


#16 Running Late Can Get Dangerous If You're Driving

I directed a low-budget feature film. I woke up to a phone call from my producer at 7:40 a.m. asking if I was on my way to breakfast (the unit call was 8 a.m.). I don’t usually do 90 mph on the M4 in Wales, but I had a 40-minute commute to get to set. I directed the scenes to my producer (over the phone) who started getting everything ready before I got there.



#17 She Must Have Been Pretty Tired

I went to sleep on a Wednesday evening on the sofa at about 6 p.m. When I woke up, it was already 8 p.m. I looked at the HBO guide (this was in the days before the internet) and saw there was a film I wanted to see.

But the film was not playing. It was something totally different. I couldn't understand why. I flipped to the networks and I realized that Thursday's schedule was playing.

I had slept for 26 hours.


#18 Just Like A Dog

Last year, I got my first job as a manager. The office was about an hour and a half away from my home. I started working out after work, so I’d get home really late.
One night, I got home and found out that my fiancé forgot to pay the water bill. Our water was shut off, so I was like okay, I guess I’ll wake up early, drive to the LA fitness by my office and shower there. I slept through my alarm and woke up with no time to go to the gym. I literally went #1 in my yard with my dog that morning and took a mini bath in my pool. Soap and all.
My dog is half mastiff half lab and I think that was the greatest morning of her life.


#19 What Happens When Teachers Are Late For School

I'm a high school teacher. I overslept for class one day and was afraid that something bad would happen while I wasn't there. Luckily, the worst thing that happened was some of the kids texted their friends, so there were just a few random students in the class when I walked in.


#20 Not Oversleeping Can Be A Bit Like Time Travel

I was once supposed to meet some friends for dinner at like, 8 p.m. I decided to take a nap at about 5 p.m.
I woke up, looked at the clock and it said was 6:23 a.m. It was dark out, so I thought I had slept for over 12 hours. I sent my friend a text apologizing for missing dinner, figuring he would see it when he woke up. Immediately texted me back saying what? We’re meeting in like 90 minutes. That’s when I remembered it was winter and it got dark early.

#21 Karma Is Real, Folks

I overslept before a court date for a speeding ticket, and the courthouse was an hour away.

I woke up 10 minutes before I was supposed to be there. I threw on a dress, rushed out the door, then slammed the gas on my way to court (oops).

I got there just in time to be squeezed in.

The judge called me up and commented on my tardiness. The only reason I wasn’t in big trouble was that the court secretary had vouched for me.

Turns out, I had served her the week before at the restaurant I worked at, which was an hour away. I happened to mention the speeding ticket in my conversation with her. She remembered how nice and personable I was as a server.

She told the judge I was a good kid trying my best. I ended up getting the ticket written off completely.

It went from terrifying to wholesome in just a few short hours. Karma is real folks.


#22 Don't Be Late, Especially If You're A Baker

I woke up an hour and a half late for work. I was the opener for a bakery. The dough takes four hours to make. I was able to fix things before the end of my shift, but I thought I was so fired. Thankfully, my boss was out of town and didn't notice.



#23 College Professors Mean Business

I overslept for a final exam in a class I needed. Thankfully, the teacher had back-to-back classes, so I went to the second and begged. He said he would allow me to take it with 5% off, which was honestly perfectly fine with me.


#24 Falling Asleep On The Bus Will Cost You

Traffic is horrible where I live. On the bus ride home, I decided to take a nap. I usually wake up just before my stop, but this time, because I was so tired, I simply just slept the entire way through. I woke up as the bus was turning in to the depot. I ended up having to take a cab home.


#25 Just A Few Hours Late

I woke up at noon with a text from my sister who lives in Boston saying that if I could get there in a few hours, I could see OneRepublic live, for free, at a private event at her work. I live in New York.
The text came at 7 a.m. I didn’t get there.


#26 You Know It's Bad When Your Job Calls Your Mom

I'm a teacher. It was 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.

I was sleeping so deeply that when the school called to see if I was okay, I slept through that too.

They had to call MY MOM who drove to my house, let herself in and stormed into my room in a panic telling me that my principal was on the phone and I was very, very late for work.

I still haven't lived it down.


#27 Illness Can Sometimes Take Over Punctuality

On the first day of my new job. I had a really hefty cough and cold. I was already out for a week after everyone else, so my manager stuck her neck out for me.

I woke up to a phone call at 9:30 a.m. from my coach asking where I was. He’d been my coach previously, so he knew that wasn’t like me. I turned up at 9:45 a.m., practically crying and struggling to breathe due to the cough. Definitely not my finest hour!


#28 He Never Got To Say Goodbye

I missed a funeral after drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey with a friend. We spent the whole time talking about the good times we had with the deceased. It happened 38 years ago and I still feel bad about it.


#29 The Language Barrier Didn't Help

I work as a travel guide, so my duties include late night airport shifts. The airport is about a one-hour drive from my apartment and I was supposed to be there at 12 a.m. The alarm went off, but I decided to 'rest my eyes' for a moment before getting ready.
I woke up to a phone call from my colleague asking where I was. It was 12:30 a.m. and the plane was to land in 15 minutes, meaning there was no way I could have made it to the airport before the guests came out of the terminal. My colleague didn't speak the language that the guests did, meaning that it was a real mess there. My boss wasn't too happy, but as it was my first proper mistake, they forgave me and let it pass.

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#30 Parking Lots Can Be Used For More Than Just Parking

I had an interview at 11 a.m. for graduate school that was two and a half hours away from where I currently go to school. I wanted to be early, so I set an alarm for 6:30 a.m. (and 3 more after just in case) to have time to get ready, make breakfast, and not be stressed out if there was traffic.

I slept through all my alarms and woke up at 9 a.m. After screaming many profanities, I quickly grabbed what I could and jumped into the car with no shower, food or coffee. I drove faster than I had ever driven before and got there exactly at 11 a.m. I put on my suit in the parking lot.


#31 Radio Silence In More Ways Than One

I was working morning shifts at a small radio station. I had just been chewed out mercilessly two days earlier for not updating the weather and a client complained. I knew I would be on eggshells for a couple of weeks after that.

Anyway, I had to be there by 5 a.m., way before it got light out. I was the only one there until about 8 a.m. when the business people and the boss started showing up. I NEVER oversleep. I was always on time or way early.

Not this day. I woke up and it was already light out. I dressed up in about 30 seconds. The clock said 7:49 a.m. The overnight content was automated so there was dead air for well over 2 hours. Thankfully, I lived exactly three-tenths of a mile from the station. I pulled up and saw that no other car was there yet, but surely my boss had listened that morning and heard nothing.

I burst through the front door at 7:58 a.m., jumped in the DJ chair and hustled to get everything on track. I got the network news on at 8 a.m. on time and then tried to make up as many of the commercials that I missed from there. The boss rolled in at about 8:22 a.m. He didn't say a word; no one did. It was a miracle. As it turns out, the boss had felt really bad about cussing me out two days earlier. I realized this because from then on, he always called me son instead of my name.


#32 Making Up For Lost Time

I'm a night auditor and I usually work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I went to bed around 1 p.m., crashing almost instantly. I didn't wake up for another 12 hours. My first thought was "1:45 p.m.; gee it got dark in just 45 minutes," until I realized I was almost three hours late for a shift.

My boss wasn't thrilled, nor was the new girl who had no idea how to do her job on her own yet. Fortunately, I had the following day off and they both appreciated that I volunteered to work for free and train the girl.


#33 Duty Did Not Call That Day

I overslept jury duty. Luckily, my number wasn't called.


#34 That Fresh-Out-Of-Bed Look

I was in the Navy and doing some EMT training for a month. I overslept but still managed to make it out the door and get there on time. But as I was sitting there trying to concentrate on the lecture, I was also becoming more aware of what I physically looked like. I had just run from the bedroom straight to the car and didn't stop in the bathroom. So of course, that was the one day that I had bedhead and hair sticking up in about five different directions. I hadn't brushed my teeth either, and I didn't even have my complete Navy uniform on. It was a whites-uniform season, which meant white top and pants, with a white t-shirt underneath the uniform top. I had run out the door in sneakers, uniform pants, and a t-shirt without the uniform top. I ended up going home on our lunch break to fix myself.


#35 The Good/Bad Student

I was taking biology my freshman year of college and to this day it was my most difficult class. The professor was really great; the only thing he was ever strict about was the final. He made a huge deal about not being late. He repeated about ten times that if you were even a minute late to the final, you wouldn't be allowed in and you wouldn't be able to retake it.

I made sure to be a good student. I studied early so that I wouldn't have to cram, I went to bed early, set my alarm, laid out my clothes. The whole nine yards.

But my alarm didn't go off on the morning of the final exam. I looked at my clock and had about two minutes until the final. There was no way I could get from my dorm to the class on time, but that didn't stop me from trying. I tore out of bed and just ran.

I showed up at the door in my flannel pajamas, hair a mess, no shoes, crying, and breathing heavily from running. I was like, five minutes late. I just looked at the professor and before I could choke out the words between sobs he just looked at me and said: “Take a seat and calm down, finish the test when you’re ready." I have no idea what I got on the final but I did well in the class.

Now I have a fear of not waking up to my alarm for important events.


#36 There Is A Reason Oversleeping Causes Panic Attacks For So Many

I got up at 4 a.m. to do a last-minute review for a final exam worth 25% of my grade. It was for my toughest class, which I was barely passing. I fell asleep while studying and woke up right before the exam was over. I failed the class and delayed my graduation a semester.

#37 Midday Versus Midnight

I was planning to go on holiday to Spain.

It was my first time going abroad in a long time. My flight was at 6 a.m. in the morning from Heathrow, which is about an hour and a half from my home.

I decided to stay up for a bit to do some last-minute packing. I set my alarm for 12, and then in half hour increments after that, to be able to get up on time.

After all of that, I ended up waking up at 5.45 a.m., with the flight attendant at the gate calling my mobile phone.

It turns out I had set my alarms to midday, not midnight.

Needless to say, I still needed to go to Spain, so that cost me an awful lot of money.


#38 Sometimes Too Early Can Get You In Unexpected Trouble

I was hired by a store for their overnight stocking shift. They told me I had to be at a certain door by a specific time to be let in. The first night went fine. I joined the group and went in, then trained like normal. On the second night, I got to work a little early and fell asleep in my car by accident...for three hours. Whoops.


#39 Ruining A Mom's Thanksgiving

I still feel bad about this. A very long time ago, I worked at a gas station and convenience store, and I was a shift leader which meant I had to open and close the store.

I worked with a super cool lady who was always nice to me, and we got along very well. She had a big Thanksgiving planned, and I hated my family anyway, so I volunteered to take her shift that morning so she could spend time with her family.

My foolish self went out the night before, overdrank, and woke up to my phone going off at about 11 a.m. She was so angry because she had to come in and work. When I finally arrived, it was like, almost 1 p.m. I totally let her down.


#40 Fires Are Serious Business

Someone pulled the fire alarm in my dorm during finals. I was sleep deprived and genuinely slept through the blaring siren in the hall. The fire department went door to door with a master key and checked every room. They found me asleep. This happened in the middle of December. They lined me up outside with everyone else wrapped in a skimpy blanket and flip-flops (they wouldn't let me dress) until the building was cleared. It lasted for probably a half hour, but it felt like a week. I also got fined 50 bucks for ignoring the fire alarm.


#41 Terminal Sleeper

I was waiting for my flight back to Chicago from Portland. I fell asleep in the terminal and woke up at 3 a.m. in the dark. Not a single person was anywhere. I literally smacked myself to make sure I was awake, then had a mild panic attack. I had to wait another 3 hours for the ticket booths to open so I could buy a ticket to go home. I made sure I didn't fall asleep for that flight.


#42 A Bath That Was A Little Too Relaxing

I fell asleep in the bath the night before a morning exam.

I’d packed my pencil case and made sure I had the permitted texts correctly highlighted before I took a bath to relax before bed. The thing was, this was my last freshman exam and I was exhausted. The next thing I knew, my coursemate Helen was pounding the door of the bathroom having figured out that was the only place I could be. We had a habit of walking together and she had called around my dorm on her way to the exam hall. Had she not persevered, I would have no doubt missed it.

Helen went on and I got myself dry and dressed. I made it just in time and did reasonably well!


#43 It's My Party And I Can Sleep If I Want To

I missed my own birthday party. I am known for sleeping through my alarm. There were about 20 people waiting for me at a bar. 20 missed calls later, I woke up at like, 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. at night and everyone had left except for a couple of friends that were too tipsy. I ended up just going back to sleep.

#44 Some People Do Better In A Crunch

I woke up to a call from my dad: “We’re in terminal 2 in the check-in queue. Where are you?”

I had the worst hangover ever, but I literally just jumped out the bed telling them I'd be 20 minutes late. In seven minutes, I’d packed my suitcase, showered, dressed, cleaned up the place, and was in the metro. 22 minutes after I hung up, we were checking in together.

To this day, I don’t know how I managed that. I didn’t even forget anything and my place was clean when I came back.


#45 How Unpoetic Of Him

I got my MA in literature and I'm really passionate about poetry. My advisor was a wonderful man and an accomplished poet, and he really encouraged my writing. One day, he made the effort to invite me to lunch with a group of other local poets so I could learn more about the trade from them.
I stayed up too late working on my thesis and slept through it. I still regret that so much.


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