9 Reasons People Slept in Church Yesterday

It probably happened in your church yesterday – somebody fell asleep, perhaps even during your sermon (and mine). Here are some possible reasons that nap took place:

  1. Some people were legitimately tired. Perhaps they worked a late shift the night before. Maybe they just arrived home from a long trip. A sick child may have kept them up. They might be dealing with insomnia. Whatever the reason, some of your church members were rightly tired.
  2. Some have reached ages often marked by increased fatigue. I’m don’t think I’m that “old” yet, but I can’t stay awake through much of the night like I once could. Increased age sometimes brings increased tiredness regardless of the time of day.
  3. Some partied the night before. I hope they did so in a godly way, but not all churchgoers spend their Saturday night in Christ-honoring activities. Late Saturday nights mean weary Sunday mornings.
  4. Some were taking medications with side effects. When pill bottles say “may cause drowsiness,” many of them are not kidding. There’s not much you can do when medicine-induced weariness sets in.
  5. Some don’t know how to pay attention for more than 30 minutes. They’ve been raised on a “sitcom” schedule, so they begin to fade when anything goes much longer than a half-hour. 
  6. Some seldom sit down during the week. I’m much that way – so busy during the week that sitting in one place for any length of time is almost an invitation to sleep. My wife knows that reality, so she’s always ready to nudge me in church.  
  7. Some weren’t feeling well. They came to church because they wanted to be there, but sickness was beginning to take a toll. Their bodies sought rest as a step toward healing.
  8. Some were bored. Maybe they didn’t enjoy the music or the sermon. Others easily get distracted and bored in general. In some cases, the sermon went so long that sleep seemed logical . . . .
  9. Some were just not interested in spiritual stuff. They might have been children and teens who simply aren’t at that place yet, but their family never misses church. Or, they might have been adults whose regular attendance doesn’t necessarily mean they know Christ personally. Sleep is a great escape when you don’t want to participate anyway.

What reasons would you add to this list?


  • Robert M Spencer says:

    Some had heard that message (“you did nothing to deserve salvation”) a thousand times before, and wondered if the Bible maybe had anything else to say, just before nodding off.

  • Teresa Ebert says:

    I don’t have any reasons to add, but I can remember being a teenager and one of the ways we would entertain ourselves during the sermon was to count the number of times a particular older gentleman nodded off during the service. We would count the headbobs. The worst part was he was in the choir. It was more entertaining to watch him than to count the number of wood slats in the ceiling….. Again. The “good” ole days.
    Now, I don’t even know what type of ceiling is in my church. I’ll have to look. LOL

  • Trenton Fleener says:

    The pastor hasn’t done the necessary work to prepare a thought-provoking, convicting, and contextual sermon.

  • david mcbryar says:

    There is someone other than the usual pastor speaking that day? I know, I know bad timing for me to make this comment on this article but it is true for some…LOL

  • Smith says:

    Got someone with narcolepsy in my audience on Sundays!

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Hard to complain about that one, Smith.

      • Smith says:

        The only bad part is he can snore pretty loud! I often see newcomers chuckle when they hear him (since they don’t know). One time I had a handout and the person handing out the sheets of paper (not me) balanced one sheet right on top of his sleeping head! He’s a great guy with a big heart to reach our small town with great ideas. He’s such a good brother. Just has narcolepsy.

  • Smith says:

    O, and one more reason people probably went to sleep: No one’s opened the windows and changed the air in the church building for 20 years! Literally, not enough oxygen!

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