A sudden feeling of hunger and wanting to eat may be called a hunger pang. Is there a word for a sudden feeling of tiredness and wanting to sleep?

  • 2
    If it is more than a feeling and you actually fall asleep, no matter where you are, whether sitting or in the standing position, it's "narcolepsy". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcolepsy
    – Centaurus
    Oct 29, 2014 at 14:56
  • An attack of drowsiness.
    – Kris
    Oct 29, 2014 at 16:58
  • 1
    Pang without "hunger" in front could mean anything. I could feel a "pang in my heart" when someone abandons me, or when I experience nostalgia; a pang of guilt if I do something that I shouldn't have; a "pang of disappointment" etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 29, 2014 at 17:44

3 Answers 3


I think you may be referring to what is generally called:

A sudden onset of drowsiness: (from www.healthgrades.com)

  • Drowsiness refers to feeling sleepy or tired, or being unable to keep your eyes open. Drowsiness, also called excess sleepiness, can be accompanied by lethargy, weakness, and lack of mental agility. While most people feel drowsy at some point or another, persistent sleepiness or fatigue, especially at inappropriate times, can indicate a sleep disorder or other medical problem.
  • 1
    "A sudden wave of drowsiness" would probably convey the sense a little better.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 29, 2014 at 15:41
  • 1
    I often find 'onset' in formal/medical context (see the link for instance) but 'wave' is ok too.
    – user66974
    Oct 29, 2014 at 15:45

Crash. Used in a sentence: At the end of the long day I went home and crashed on the couch.

  • You crash because you are tired. It doesn't indicate a sudden feeling of tiredness.
    – ermanen
    Oct 29, 2014 at 20:13
  • I don't think the sense used in your example is the same. The sense in your example is a generic term for "sleep" which is what we mean when we say, "Can I crash at your place?" or "We can't go over this late, his sister is crashing on his couch." However, a "crash" is also what you experience when your energy level suddenly plummets, and you're left struggling to stay awake. Especially used when a stimulant wears off, or after an all-nighter when your second-wind is coming quickly to an end. ex: "I thought I was fine when I drove to campus, but I started crashing hard once lecture started."
    – abathur
    Oct 29, 2014 at 20:14

A common way to indicate a sudden feeling of tiredness is using the phrasal verb set in after tiredness (or any related term like fatigue, lethargy etc.). Also, kick in can be used.

set in A desperate tiredness set in after hours of anxious waiting.



Periods of "driving unconsciousness" usually last only a few seconds while the brain goes on autopilot. Psychologists say that when boredom and fatigue set in, a driver slips in and out of unconscious states. "Brain fade" is the familiar term.

[Popular Mechanics - ‎Vol. 161, No. 8 - ‎Magazine]

Also, somnolence, as a single word, suggests a state of near-sleep or a strong desire for sleep.

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