Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

The Nintendo Switch was released worldwide in 2017 and has been a popular gaming device ever since. By its first year alone, it already has over 300 game titles. Further, Switch owners can also buy digital games or titles on cartridges.

Part of its popularity comes from its hybrid nature. It is a portable device, but gamers can also dock and hook it up to a larger display. That allows them to play games on television screens or other monitors. This mode increases the flexibility of the gaming unit. And like many modern consoles, users can put the Switch into a special Sleep Mode, which we will discuss further in this post.

What Happens if You Leave a Nintendo Switch in Sleep Mode?

The Switch turns off automatically when you’re not using it. When it does, the entire system shuts itself down completely. Although this is fine, you must wait for the Switch’s OS to boot up and load its system files before you can use it. This process can take some time, which could delay your game playing.

To solve this, Nintendo added the Sleep Mode feature to the console. It is a special mode that allows you to save battery life while Switch waits for you to use it. 

If you are not yet aware of it, you can change the Sleep Mode settings according to your preference. These settings are necessary for your console. As helpful as Sleep Mode might be, leaving your Switch in this state for a long time is not a good idea. 

If you leave the console in Sleep Mode for extended periods, you shouldn’t run into any significant issues. However, memory leaks could be an issue in some devices with similar modes. 

A memory leak occurs when a system fails to get rid of any memory it doesn’t need to use any longer. When this happens, the system has no more space to accommodate new game data. As a result, it leads to various performance issues. For example, the Switch’s system cannot start any new processes.

Nintendo designed the Switch to be able to function while in its Sleep Mode for long periods. It means that issues like memory leaks should be minimal issues with the device. Although there are still issues, complete restarts will only happen when it gets an update. 

When Nintendo rolls out any such update, the Switch must restart to install the new patches. With this feature, a memory leak shouldn’t be a significant concern.

Does the Nintendo Switch Lose Battery in Sleep Mode?

Yes, the Nintendo Switch loses some of its battery charges while in this mode. It is because some processes and functions still run in the background, even in Sleep Mode. But it consumes far less battery power than when the device is in its fully powered state. How much battery your Switch loses while in Sleep Mode depends on a few factors.

If your battery is newer, it should last longer while powering a Switch in Sleep Mode. As long as it’s not a defective battery, it should last a long time when fully charged. 

Keeping your Wi-Fi connection active while in Sleep Mode will also use your battery. Turning Wi-Fi off while the Switch is sleeping saves you some battery. 

In such cases, you should only have one or two per cent battery loss per day while the new Switch is in Sleep Mode. Note, however, that this can change as the battery ages.

Is It Better To Turn Off Your Nintendo Switch or Activate Sleep Mode?

Which mode is better for your Switch depends on how you use the device. For example, keeping the unit in Sleep Mode is better if you like to play regularly. Aside from saving your battery life, it also allows you to pick up most games right where you left.

This feature is handy for those who need to stop their games but don’t wish to lose progress. However, if you are playing regularly, keeping the Nintendo Switch in its Sleep Mode makes more sense. 

If you only play occasionally, it makes more sense to power it off entirely. It is also true if you know you will not be playing your Switch for a long time. 

Turning your console off gives the battery and all internal hardware time to rest. Further, it also allows the console to deal with glitches or performance issues.

complete shutdown saves the battery from draining and multiple recharge cycles. Although the battery drain during Sleep Mode is insignificant, it does happen. If you let the console stay in this mode, the battery could discharge itself completely. 

Thus, leaving the battery in this state for too long could affect its charging time. The fewer charge cycles you need to use to accommodate Sleep Mode, the more you have left for the Switch to run games.

That said, Sleep Mode doesn’t run most of the hardware that the Switch needs to use while it is active. It keeps some processes active, but things like the fan are not running. 

Further, the central processor and other essential components shut down. What’s active in Sleep Mode is the console’s internal system memory. 

Can the Nintendo Switch Still Download in Sleep Mode?

Yes, the Switch can still download during Sleep Mode. That means you can download your favorite games even when the device is asleep. Make sure to leave the Wi-Fi connection active in the Switch’s settings. Doing so allows the console to access the internet while the rest of the system sleeps.

What Do I Do if My Switch Doesn’t Update or Download in Sleep Mode?

Here are some fixes if your Switch does not start or completes downloads while the system is asleep. But before you do that, recheck the console settings first. For example, ensure the Wi-Fi is on before you put your Switch into Sleep Mode. Similarly, check if the device doesn’t have problems connecting to your Wi-Fi network.

If you know that the Wi-Fi connection is active and working as it should, here are some things you can do:

1. Check for System Updates

The console may need to update its firmware to eliminate glitches and get downloads working again. 

2. Do a Complete Restart

If it is up-to-date already, do a complete restart of your console. Start by holding down the console’s power button for a few seconds. A small menu will pop up to give you some options. Then, choose to shut down the console.

3. Place Console Closer to Router

Even if the system has an active internet connection, ensure there’s minimal interference. To do this, get your Switch close enough to your wireless router to receive a signal. 

4. Check For Obstructions

Also, put the Switch in a location with no metal or other electronics between it and the router. Any such obstructions can interfere with the signal and its ability to download.

5. Check Switch Storage Space

If it’s already complete, it won’t be able to download games with extensive memory requirements. The Switch does not alert you about storage issues, especially your storage space. Thus, it makes sense to check how much space you got from time to time. 

Do Switch Games Download Faster in Sleep Mode?

Generally, Switch downloads items faster in Sleep Mode than in its regular one. The console simultaneously powers up other processes in the background when the console is active. As a result, it has fewer resources for downloading games or files at top speeds. 

If you put the gaming console in Sleep Mode, it shuts down many of these processes. So, it can focus on downloading files to the system’s memory. You will find that this process goes more smoothly when you do not have any games suspended in Sleep Mode.


When you need to use a system frequently, the Sleep mode allows you to pick up the game where you left it. You can also shut down most system processes while preserving battery life. Additionally, the sleep mode helps your console download files quickly. To top it all, Nintendo designed this feature so that you can use your console for a long time without any issues.