Falling asleep on the job is never a good thing, especially if one's job involves direct combat against a fellow pocket monster. In Pokemon Sword & Shield, as well as in every other main-series game in the Pokemon franchise, Sleep is a status condition that can debilitate any target for a few turns.
Sleep prevents an afflicted pokemon from being able to move under normal circumstances for one or more turns, depending on some hidden RNG mechanics. While not as common as some other status conditions in modern games like Pokemon Sword & Shield, Sleep arguably has the best versatility, as it can be used as both a way to hinder foes or by players for certain niche strategies.
Sleep Throughout The Generations Of Main Series Pokemon Games
Sleep In Generation 1 Pokemon Games
Sleep in the initial games of the franchise can last between 1 to 7 turns (or between 1 to 3 turns in Pokemon Stadium). The Sleep counter does not reset upon switching out, meaning that if a pokemon is meant to be asleep for 4 turns as determined by the RNG, if it stays in combat for 1 turn before retreating, it will be asleep for 3 turns when it returns to the battle. When a pokemon wakes up from its slumber, it still won't be able to move until the next turn, which can be abused to lock a pokemon into an unending sleep cycle if the attacker is faster.
Sleep In Generation 2 Pokemon Games
The maximum duration of Sleep was reduced to 5 turns as to slightly decrease its power and usage, plus pokemon that awaken from their slumber will be able to move on the same turn, preventing the aggressive sleep-cycling that was abused in the Generation 1 games. It is also worth noting that wild pokemon cannot flee while they are asleep, making Sleep-inducing moves excellent for aiding in the capture of the roaming legendaries Raikou, Entei, and Suicune.
Sleep In Generation 3 Pokemon Games
The minimum duration of Sleep was increased, so the new possible duration is between 2 to 5 turns. In an unfortunate change, wild pokemon are now able to flee when asleep, making catching roaming legendaries more difficult than before. The moves Sleep Talk and Snore will slightly increase how long a pokemon stays asleep if used by a sleeping pokemon, however, this was weirdly implemented and this mechanic operates on a separate counter than the real Sleep counter.
Sleep In Generation 4 Pokemon Games
The Sleep counter mechanic for Sleep Talk and Snore were integrated into the real Sleep counter, though possesses the same effects from the perspective of the player, meaning no visible change was noticeable to most.
Sleep In Generation 5 Pokemon Games
In yet another duration change, Sleep can now only affect a pokemon for between 1 to 3 turns, though, upon switching out, a sleeping pokemon's Sleep counter gets reset to its starting value, meaning that pokemon that switch out while sleeping will remain dormant for more turns. This new mechanic also works with Rest, so players who want to keep a specific pokemon asleep can use switching out to their advantage.
Sleep In Generation 6 Pokemon Games
The developers didn't like that the Sleep counter resets for sleeping pokemon that switch out of combat, therefore this was removed. However, nothing else was changed about Sleep in this generation's games.
Sleep In Generation 7 Pokemon Games & Beyond
There were no changes made to how the Sleep status condition works after Generation 6, therefore it remains the same in Generation 7 and Generation 8 Pokemon games.
Moves & Abilities That Can Cause Sleep In Main Series Pokemon Games
List Of Moves That Cause Sleep In The Main Series Pokemon Games
|Move Name||Probability To Cause Sleep On Hit||Description|
|Dark Void||100%||Targets all opponents (was only usable by Darkrai in Generation 7)|
|Grass Whistle||100%||Cannot affect pokemon with the Soundproof ability|
|Hypnosis||100%||A regular status move|
|Lovely Kiss||100%||A regular status move|
|Psycho Shift||100%||Can only inflict Sleep on an opponent via the move Sleep Talk if the user is asleep|
|Rest||100%||Can only target the user and will always last 2 turns|
|Sing||100%||Cannot affect pokemon with the Soundproof ability|
|Sleep Powder||100%||Cannot affect pokemon with the Overcoat ability, those holding the Safety Goggles item, or Grass-types|
|Yawn||100%||Will make the target fall asleep on their next turn, though this effect gets canceled if the target switches out before falling asleep|
|Spore||100%||Cannot affect pokemon with the Overcoat ability, those holding the Safety Goggles item, or Grass-types|
|G-Max Snooze||50%||Exclusive G-Max move of Gigantamax Grimmsnarl and the Sleep effect will only potentially occur on the user's following turn|
|G-Max Befuddle||33.3%||Exclusive G-Max move of Gigantamax Butterfree|
|Secret Power||30%||Can only potentially cause Sleep if used while in an area with long grass (Generation 3), tall grass (Generation 4 to 8), or if the effects of Grassy Terrain are active|
|Relic Song||10%||Targets all opponents but cannot affect pokemon with the Soundproof ability|
Abilities That Can Cause Sleep In Main Series Pokemon Games
There is a single ability in the Pokemon franchise that can put an opponent to Sleep, which is Effect Spore. When an enemy makes contact with a pokemon with the Effect Spore ability, there is an 11% chance that they will fall asleep.
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