People Share Their Worst Oversleeping Stories

By Casey Fletcher
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Oversleeping is 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. The next, you’ve lost the best opportunity you’ll ever get in your life, all because you slept too long. Of course, oversleeping doesn't always end terribly, but the fear of losing something important because of 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 diving in, 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.

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 completed throughout the term, and there was no final test. We just had to show up and give the professor our portfolios.

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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. I was a decent sprinter, but I was about a mile away from the classroom, so I knew there was no hope. Still, I got up, threw on last night’s clothes and sprinted downstairs to consider my options. As I was running, I saw the professor waiting for the bus!

He graciously took the portfolio from me. Bless your soul, interim professor whose name I forget.

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.

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Priorities

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

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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 then I just closed my eyes for “20 minutes.” I woke up, and the graduation was in 10 minutes. I never ran so fast in my life.

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How to Almost Ruin Your Master’s Degree in One Fell 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.

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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 although they accepted it and never said anything, the stress was unbearable.

Oversleeping Has an Actual Price

I disputed a fine and was supposed to go 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.

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The judge was not impressed, rejected my dispute and gave me a sermon about punctuality. Oversleeping cost me $600 and some dignity.

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When Your Lateness Affects Others, It Has Gone Too Far

I showed up 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 sure didn’t want to be that guy who shows up super late all the time.

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No Brownie Points with the Family

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, and people were already coming out. It was just terrible.

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Funerals Are Already Hard Enough

I overslept because of alarm clock failure. It was on a morning I was supposed 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.

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A Few 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.

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So, anyway, one of these holidays came up, so I thought I would just stay in bed, chill and 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 then 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 flex-time, so all I had to do was work later in the evening. I never got to order that pizza.

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 wasn't playing. It was something totally different. I couldn’t understand why, so I flipped to the networks and realized that Thursday’s schedule was playing.

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I had slept for 26 hours.

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 got 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 decided to 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.

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My dog is half mastiff and half lab, and I think that was the greatest morning of her life.

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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 a few random students in the class when I finally walked in.

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Not Oversleeping Can Be a Bit Like Time Travel

I was once supposed to meet some friends for dinner at 8 p.m., so I decided to take a nap at about 5 p.m. I woke up, looked at the clock and thought it said it 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. He immediately texted me back reminding me we were meeting in 90 minutes. That’s when I remembered it was winter, and it got dark early.

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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 and then slammed on the gas on my way to court (oops). I got there just in time to be squeezed in.

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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.

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Don’t Be Late, Especially If You’re a Baker

I woke up an hour and a half late for work, and 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.

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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 class and begged. He said he would allow me to take it with 5% off, which was honestly perfectly fine with me.

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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 slept the entire way through. I woke up as the bus was turning in to the depot, and I ended up having to take a cab home.

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Just a Few Hours Late

I woke up at noon thanks to 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 in at 7 a.m., so I didn’t get there.

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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.

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I still haven’t lived it down.

Illness Can Overtake Punctuality

On the first day of my new job, I had a really hefty cough and cold. I was already out for a week longer than 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!

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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.

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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.

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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 mistake, they forgave me and let it pass.

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 three more after that one, just in case) to have time to get ready, make breakfast and navigate traffic without the stress.

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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.

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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 that it was weird it got dark in just 45 minutes — until I realized I was almost three hours late for a shift.

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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.

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.

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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.

Oversleeping Causes Panic Attacks for a Reason

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, which delayed my graduation for a semester.

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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 ensure I would get up on time.

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After all of that, I ended up waking up at 5.45 a.m., thanks to the flight attendant at the gate calling my mobile phone. It turns out I had set my alarms for midday, not midnight. Needless to say, I still needed to go to Spain, so that trip cost me an awful lot of money.

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, went in and then trained like normal. On the second night, I got to work a little early and fell asleep in my car on accident…for three hours. Whoops.

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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 for ignoring the fire alarm.

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