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Quotations about Sleeping,
Naps, Insomnia, Sleep Deprivation, etc.


A sleepy man's eyes generally go to bed some time before he does. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You lose such a lot of time just sleeping!... when you might be just living, you know. It seems such a pity we can't live nights, too. ~Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna, 1912

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

[S]leep, and enough of it, is the prime necessity. Enough exercise, and good food and enough, are other necessities. But sleep—good sleep, and enough of it—this is a necessity without which you cannot have the exercise of use, nor the food. ~Edward Everett Hale, "How to Get the Best of It," c.1892

Yes; bless the man who first invented sleep
(I really can't avoid the iteration);
But blast the man with curses loud and deep,
Whate'er the rascal's name, or age, or station,
Who first invented, and went round advising,
That artificial cut-off,—Early Rising.
~John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)

Somnus lets her poppies fall most plentifully on those having a cool head, an empty stomach, tired muscles, a quiet conscience, and warm feet. ~Author unknown, quoted by Rachel Brooks Gleason, "Sleep," 1867

I am a real genius when I am asleep... ~Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, 1881, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, 1890

When you have insomnia you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake. ~Fight Club, 1999, screenplay by Jim Uhls, based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk

insomnia is invisible
but hard as concrete
~Terri Guillemets, "Can't freakin' sleep," 2016, blackout poetry created from Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996, page 21

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow... ~Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë, 1816–1855), The Professor  [written before Jane Eyre, 1847, but published posthumously, in 1857 –tg]

...the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,—
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth, c.1605  [II, 2, Macbeth]

Sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care, but it doesn't sew on buttons. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

"Insomnophobia," or fear of insomnia, is in truth one of the most frequent causes of chronic sleeplessness. ~H. Addington Bruce, Sleep and Sleeplessness, 1915

The nap is a sort of easy version of meditation. ~Tom Hodgkinson, How To Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto, 2004

Sleep deprivation is an illegal torture method outlawed by the Geneva Convention and international courts, but most of us do it to ourselves. ~Ryan Hurd, Dream Like A Boss, 2014

I retired to my inn, determined to enjoy the luxury of a bed and a long night in. It really was a lovely bed, just like bathing in feathers. My thoughts were soon wandering into visions all jumbled together in a ghostly medley, which floated off into misty indistinctness and I subsided into the land of dreams. ~John Keast Lord, 1860 May 15th  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

...rousing himself from a reverie, which had degenerated into an absolute snooze. ~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Spectre of Tappington," 1837

May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry. Reminding you to consider only this moment. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson

Sleep is not a tyrant to be resisted, as by a child afraid of missing something if he goes to bed, or a wraith to be hopelessly pursued, as by an insomniac, but a lovely being, lingering near, but not intrusive. ~Dorothy Scarborough, "Sleeping Out," From a Southern Porch, 1919

Now all our days are but a cry for sleep... ~Edwin Markham, "Wail of the Wandering Dead"  [Context note: "sleep" here is actually a metaphor for death —tg]

Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids:
So I love to wake ere break of day:
For though my sleep be gone,
Yet while 'tis dark, one shuts one's lids,
And still dreams on.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Something Childish, But Very Natural"  ["This poem also first appeared in The Annual Anthology, under the signature Cordomi, 'the heart at home.' It was sent to Mrs. Coleridge in a letter from Gottingen, April 23, 1799. It is partly imitated from the German popular song, 'Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär.'" ~Richard Garnett, 1897 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Day, dawn slowly,
Stay, faint starlight;
Sleep lets the lover be hopeful and bold.
Hush, fond dreamer,
Crush thy fantasies;
These vain thoughts must be left untold.
~William Johnson Cory (1823–1892), "Rhymes at the Wrong End"

DAWN, n.  The time when men of reason go to bed. ~Ambrose Bierce

At eventide sweep out your heart
      Of all dark thoughts, of anger, fear;
      Sweep clean and let no bitterness
      Remain, nor sorrows … sigh nor fear.
Sleep is a little death, a journey,
      And no one may tell where he goes;
      Or if he touches infinite—
      This neither mind nor body knows.
But it is true, whatever vision
      May be, it will be better far
      If white and purified he leaves
      To meet the heaven of his star.
~George Elliston, "White Altars," Bright World, 1927

I lay down in bed, feeling that my body was an enormous weight, one I had been carrying far too long. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

Sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it. ~Maura Stuard, age 9, Irondequoit, New York, 1999  ["Mom was telling me I had to take a nap, and I didn't want to. When I woke up, I thought it's better to nap and get it over with." That piece of wisdom turned into "Sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it," which won a competition among a thousand youngsters to have their sayings published on Kate Harper Designs "kid quotes" greeting cards. Source: Lauren Stanforth. —tg]

YAWNS  The air-breaks on a sleeper. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Oh, early every afternoon
I like a temporary swoon.
I do not overeat at luncheon,
I do not broach the bowl or puncheon;
Yet the hour from two to three
Is always sleepy-time to me...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Cat Naps Are Too Good for Cats"

Sleep was like a phantom I was too tired to chase. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2008

Cut if you will, with Sleep's dull knife,
Each day to half its length, my friend,—
The years that Time takes off my life,
He'll take from off the other end!
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Midnight Oil," A Few Figs from Thistles: Poems and Sonnets, 1922

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! ~Rumi: Night & Sleep, versions by Coleman Barks & Robert Bly, 1981

An insomniac is either asleep with one eye open, or awake with both eyes shut. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge. ~Colette  [hashtag infj! –tg]

...O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee,
That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?...
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, c.1597  [III, 1, Henry IV]

Researchers at Harvard say that taking a power nap for an hour in the afternoon can totally refresh you. They say by the time you wake up you'll feel so good, you'll be able to start looking for a new job. ~Jay Leno

Yes: our inalienable right to nap has been taken from us by the agents of industry. ~Tom Hodgkinson, How To Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto, 2004

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters. ~I'd Like Mornings Better If They Started Later, created by Jim Davis, written by Jim Kraft and Mark Acey, 1996

SLEEP... Take it in abundance. The great conservator of nervous force, and recuperator of animal machinery... Do not overtax yourself so the nervous system refuses to let you sleep. ~F. J. Groner, M.D., "Health Hints," 1889

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie
Sleepless... last night, and two nights more, I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:
So do not let me wear to-night away:
Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth?
Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
~William Wordsworth, "To Sleep," Poems, 1807

Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. As for so-called soothing thoughts, fewer people have been kept awake by innumerable worries than by numerable sheep. Dull books are equally dormicidal. A bed full of animal crackers is far more lulling. ~Clifton Fadiman, "I Shook Hands with Shakespeare," Any Number Can Play, 1957  [The Shakespeare game referenced in the chapter title is basically a literary version of Six Degrees of Separation, or Kevin Bacon. –tg]

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep...
~Irving Berlin, "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)," 1954

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep...
~Irving Berlin, "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)," 1954

...this particular song is based on what really happened... sometime ago, after the worst kind of a sleepless night, my doctor came to see me and after a lot of self-pity, belly-aching and complaining about my insomnia, he looked at me and said "speaking of doing something about insomnia, did you ever try counting your blessings?" ~Irving Berlin, 1952  [the song: "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)" —tg]

Now, in a word, the day is ended,
And a little sleep would be simply splendid.
But sleep is perverse as human nature,
Sleep is perverse as legislature,
And holds that people who wish to sleep
Are people from whom away to keep...
Sleep is as shy as a maiden sprite,
And where it is most desired, takes flight...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Read This Vibrant Exposé"

So people who go to bed to sleep
Must count French premiers or sheep,
And people who ought to arise from bed
Yawn and go back to sleep instead.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Read This Vibrant Exposé"

How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. ~Dorothy Parker (1893–1967)

The white sheep will not walk one by one, slowly counted, over green lawns through the gap in the hedge. You can count the stars in the dark pond up to twenty but no further without rebellion. The nursery-taught methods of courting sleep fail one by one. ~"Reading in Bed," in The Spectator (London), 1903  [a little altered —tg]

Sometimes a really good nap feels better than an entire night's sleep. ~Terri Guillemets, "Comforter," 1989

Sleep deprivation made his life an imaginary thing, his days a ribbon floating aimlessly in water. ~Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys, 2012

Sleeplessness is one of the most frequent symptoms of approaching insanity. ~N. E. Yorke-Davies, One Thousand Medical Maxims and Surgical Hints, 1883

SNORE  An unfavorable report from headquarters. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

I honor health as the first muse, and sleep as the condition of health. Sleep benefits mainly by the sound health it produces; incidentally also by dreams, into whose farrago a divine lesson is sometimes slipped. Life is in short cycles or periods; we are quickly tired, but we have rapid rallies. A man... sinks into deep sleep and wakes with renewed youth, with hope, courage, fertile in resources, and keen for daring adventure. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My heart is open
Although my mind is sleeping
And my eyes are shut.
Come, Great Mystery,
Into the secret places,
And while my mind is sleeping
My heart be teaching.
Then all day thereafter
My heart shall be remembering
What it knew at night,
And however my thought stumbles
My heart will stand upright.
~Mary Hunter Austin (1868–1934), "Tribal Wisdom: Evening Prayer" of those wakeful nights, when the hour of two A.M. has acted like an alarm, shattering sleep beyond repair... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "Come out, come out, whoever you are!," A View from the Hill, 1957

One fellow wins in all he tries, and captures every offered prize, because when he retires to bed, he sleeps eight hours, like some one dead. Another fails and draws a blank, and owes some money at the bank, because at night he seldom knows a solid hour of real repose. ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "Insomnia"

Draw in the threads of thought—
Each delicate filament,
Reaching into too many places,
Finding forgotten faces…
Draw in the long twisting thoughts you have sent.
Strange, that you lie here wondering
About things that don't matter...
Once, like a wind, beauty swept through you;
Once, like a small song that sings and sings,
Happiness crept through you...
Draw in the threads of thought—
Each delicate filament,
Quivering and bright;
Draw in the long twisting thoughts you have sent.
Cast all the tangled old dreaming and groping
To the still, deep,
Strange heart of Night
(Gentle forever to all grieving and hoping)—
And sleep.
~Marjorie Meeker, "Ode to Myself Trying to Sleep," c.1921

Sleeping on a country porch is so delightful an experience that one really should stay awake all night to get the full pleasure of it. One realizes the world and feels the sensuous magic of it more when one is half asleep than when fully awake. Perhaps then the intellect, the cold mechanism of logic, is disregarded, and one merely feels, but feels in a sublimated way... On a country porch one does not feel the bitterness of waking up as in the inside of a house, especially in the city, where one feels that one has not slept enough, yet must arise to work. Sleep in the open is much more restorative, so that one needs less of it and hence can give a portion of the night to pure enjoyment of his sensations. ~Dorothy Scarborough, "Sleeping Out," From a Southern Porch, 1919

Judith slept far into the morning the sound, deep sleep of exhaustion; that sleep of the heavy-hearted from which, almost by an effort of will, the dreams are banished. ~Amy Levy (1861–1889), Reuben Sachs: A Sketch, 1888

And is thy soul so wrapt in sleep?
Thy senses, thy affections, fled?
No play of fancy thine, to keep
Oblivion from that grave, thy bed?
Then art thou but the breathing dead...
~George Crabbe (1754–1832), "The World of Dreams"

People who have insomnia lie awake all night for an hour. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night… without the satisfaction. ~Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse, 2006 July 22nd,

If an insomniac had as many ideas during the day as he has at night, he'd make a fortune. ~The Comic Encyclopedia, Evan Esar, 1978

INSOMNIA... Lie perfectly still and count 287,643 in a slow, methodical manner. By the time you have finished counting it will be daylight, and you will be surprised to notice how quickly the night has passed. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

awake until 3 A.M.
hard hours — in the dark
anxious shadows lingered in my imagination
~Terri Guillemets, "Hard hours," 2019, blackout poetry created from T. Greenwood, The Golden Hour, 2017, pages 59–60

I fell into a refreshing, thirty-seven-minute night's sleep. ~Clifton Fadiman, "I Shook Hands with Shakespeare," Any Number Can Play, 1957  [Been there, done that! –tg]

There was something important in this idea — Darlene was almost sure — unless it was the kind of half-formed, ethereal insight that sometimes came on the verge of dreaming. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Does anyone else ever wake up in the morning, move from the bed to the couch, and then immediately take a nap? Or is that just me? ~Keith Wynn, tweet, 2020  [written during the coronavirus stay-at-home —tg]

Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between two. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was not exactly sleepy, somewhere between alertness and a kind of delirium. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

I ran in the house and I fell in a heap.
I needed my rest, but I just couldn't sleep...
I tossed and I flipped and I flopped and I flepped.
It was quarter past five when I finally slept...
~Dr. Seuss, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965

Sometimes I sit up late with my thoughts, reluctant to fall asleep and leave my thoughts alone by themselves. ~Robert Brault,

The bed is nature's repair shop. ~Hasselbarth advertisement for the Paradise Bed Spring, 1911

Some people are satisfied with five or six hours' sleep, but the adult body requires at least eight hours, to repair the wear and tear of the other sixteen. ~N. E. Yorke-Davies, One Thousand Medical Maxims and Surgical Hints, 1883

Ten hours of drowsiness are plenty,
For any man, in four and twenty.
~James Montgomery (1771–1854), "The Pleasures of Imprisonment: In Two Epistles to a Friend"

Sleepless questions
In the small hours:
Have I done right?
Why did I act
Just as I did?
Over and over again
The same steps,
The same words:
Never the answer.
~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1961, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

Awake all night with melancholy thoughts... ~George Gilfillan, "The Poets of Night," Night: A Poem, 1867

three o'clock—
anxiety, regret
in the depths of worry
swept away in the
whirlwind of nothing—
a horrible nothing
~Terri Guillemets, "Insomnia ticking," 2019, blackout poetry created from Octave Mirbeau, The Diary of a Chambermaid, 1891–1900, page 6

And, even though I am a happy person, if I lie in the dark my thoughts veer towards worry. I have found it better to get up than to lie in bed teetering on the edge of nocturnal lunacy. ~Karen Emslie, "Broken sleep,", 2014

Insomniacs don't sleep because they worry about it, and they worry about it because they don't sleep. ~Franklin Pierce Adams, as quoted in Evan Esar, The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, 1949

Ever lie awake at night wondering if there's something you're not losing enough sleep over? ~Robert Brault,

What she needed, Uncle Snowball thought, was a good dose of southernwood tea. That was what his mother always gave him if he thrashed around with nightmares when he was a boy, and it made him sleep like a woodchuck in winter. ~Frances Frost, Uncle Snowball, 1940

And I hate when my foot falls asleep during the day because that means it's going to be up all night. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985,

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish proverb

The best cure for getting up on the wrong side of the bed is to get into it a little earlier. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

The best cure for insomnia is a Monday morning. ~Sandra Cooley, 1980s

Whiskey may not cure your insomnia, but it makes you more content to stay awake. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

Nothing cures insomnia like the realization that it's time to get up. ~Quip found in Edwin H. Stuart's Typo Graphic magazine, 1961

"The way to sleep," says a scientist, "is to think of nothing," but this is a mistake. The way to sleep is to think it is time to get up. ~Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 1885

And thank God for sleep, for that blessed enchantment, that magic spell that weaves itself about us... ~Charles F. Raymond, Just Be Glad, 1907

I required only the pure medicine of silence and slumber. ~Andrew Jackson Davis, Beyond the Valley, 1885

When I get to the point where I don't feel enthusiastic about anything at all it means I'm sleepy, so I go and take a nap. ~Ruth Stout, "My Garden Is My Compost Pile," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955

Oh, magic, fairy sleep.
Upon the barren mount-tops
And brooksides
And on the grassy hill-tops where shepherds tend their sheep;
Everywhere you wander touching everything you see
And opening houses with a golden magic key.
You only do your work when night comes skipping from the east and west,
And people are at rest.
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Sleep," 1902, The Poems of a Child, Being Poems Written Between the Ages of Six and Ten, 1904

There is nothing so asleep as a kitten. ~Pam Brown, Utterly Gorgeous Cats, 2006,

After coffee the Rector sat in his armchair in that blessed state which is neither sleep nor waking, but a voluptuous, dreamless sinking into peace, a foretasting of sleep, an exquisite saturation. ~May Sinclair, A Cure of Souls, 1924

The little Plumpuppets are fairies of beds:
They have nothing to do but watch sleepy heads;
They turn down the sheets and they tuck you in tight,
And they dance on your pillow to wish you good night!
~Christopher Morley, "The Plumpuppets," The Rocking Horse, 1919

I now know that there is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled. If he who sleeps, dines, he who naps, nips; but he nips the true Hippocras, the real elixir... The friend of humanity who should confer sleep upon the sleepless would be perhaps the truest friend of all. ~E. V. Lucas (1868–1938), "Thoughts on Sleep"

She hadn't slept. She lay in bed the entire night, the day's events tumbling in her head like clothes in a dryer. ~Jill Alexander Essbaum, Hausfrau, 2015

A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting. ~Terri Guillemets, "Sweet sleep," 2009

At midnight, Darlene was... too tired to sleep. She had been awake so long that her muscles would not uncoil. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018  [Been there, done that. –tg]

A man who, night after night, falls like a lump of lead upon his bed, and ceases to live until the moment when he wakes and rises, will such a man ever dream of making, I do not say great discoveries, but even minute observations upon sleep? He barely knows that he does sleep. A little insomnia is not without its value in making us appreciate sleep, in throwing a ray of light upon that darkness. ~Marcel Proust (1871–1922), Remembrance of Things Past, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff

...sleep, Heaven's gift to all its creatures... ~Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

To many men, sleep comes with a blessed naturalness and swiftness. To others, for many hours during a troubled night, the words spoken and the thoughts unexpressed during the day run in wearily multiplied circles through a humming brain. ~"Reading in Bed," in The Spectator (London), 1903  [a little altered —tg]

Sleep lingers all our lifetime about our eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How little sleep one got at a slumber party is a matter of great pride and an index of the success of the party. ~Elizabeth Radin Simons, The Slumber Party as Folk Ritual, 1980

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world. ~Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game, 1963

Why is it that people who are troubled with insomnia are generally so proud of it? ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968  [So true! I think it's kinda like being proud of your black eye after a fight. –tg]

"But how shall we wakeful ones find the way to sleep?" asks one—yes, many, I fear. First, let us remember the lesson of our youth, which said that "the day was for labor, and the night for sleep and repose." When the open fire, a pine knot, or a tallow candle were the only facilities for a nightly illumination, the temptation to late sitting up was much less than now, when the brilliancy of gas or kerosene invites us to sit up at night that we may enjoy its exhilarating splendor. I have been interested to notice how music, gay colors, beautiful pictures, and bright lights keep us wide awake. Place the same persons in a room of dim light, and with but little about it to attract the eye, and they fall into easy, quiet chit-chat, and soon begin to yawn, and by mutual consent retire early... ~Rachel Brooks Gleason, M.D. (1820—1905), "Sleep," Elmira Water Cure, November 1867

Come, then, I woo thee, sacred Sleep!
Vain troubles of the world, farewell!
Spirits of Ill! your distance keep—
And in your own dominions dwell...
~George Crabbe (1754–1832), "The World of Dreams"

Even at night her life had been entirely Edwin's, and not her own, in the large double bed where his unfortunate habit of snoring shook even her dreams into his pattern. ~R. A. Dick (Josephine A. Campbell Leslie, 1898–1979), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1945

Three o'clock in the morning. The soft April night is looking in at my windows and caressingly winking at me with its stars. I can't sleep, I am so happy! ~Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), "Love," translated by Constance Garnett, 1931

In God's care and in His keeping
I now place myself ere sleeping;
And, as stars and moon shine brightly,
Spirit loved ones guard me nightly.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham (1880–1971), "My Nightly Affirmation"

What hath night to do with sleep? ~John Milton

I felt the necessity of getting to bed, but I loathed the idea of going through the horrible duties of undressing and washing and brushing my teeth. I wished, as I do every night, and I suppose everyone wishes it with me, that some miracle would happen, and I would find myself in bed, all my clothes off, and my pajamas on, in a twinkling of an eye. ~Theodore Spencer, "On Reading in Bed," 1923

Erica:  So you couldn't sleep either, huh?
Dr. Tom:  Charter member of the Insomniacs Club.
~Being Erica, "A River Runs Through It... It Being Egypt," 2009, teleplay by James Hurst and Shelley Scarrow  [S2, E9]

There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At such times, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing, to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate. ~Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Oh, sleep, blessed sleep! I woo thee each night;
Kiss gently each eyelid; blot out the light.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Sleep," 1940s

Many seek good nights and lose good days. ~Dutch proverb  [Quoted in P.J. Harrebomée, Spreekwoordenboek der Nederlandsche taal, c.1853, and in English: Henry G. Bohn, A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs comprising French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish, with English Translations, 1857. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Many things — such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly — are done worst when we try hardest to do them. ~C. S. Lewis, 1954

"Time is money" — and eight hours' sleep is a mighty good investment. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1907, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Whelk was not sleeping... he rarely closed his eyes for longer than a few hours at a stretch. He rolled in his bedsheets. He sat bolt upright, woken by whispers... His sleep patterns and energy seemed dictated by something larger and more powerful than himself, ebbing and flowing like an uneven tide. ~Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys, 2012

A man can't get along that don't sleep. ~Ernest Hemingway, "Now I Lay Me," Men Without Women, 1927

When some years ago I read a piece by Ernest Hemingway called Now I Lay Me, I thought there was nothing further to be said about insomnia. I see now that that was because I had never had much; it appears that every man's insomnia is as different from his neighbor's as are their daytime hopes and aspirations. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Sleeping and Waking," 1934

The best substitute for coffee is a good night's sleep. ~Terri Guillemets, "Recovering in bed," 2009

If your bedroom is arranged so there is but one window, have it slightly open during the night. Do not be afraid of night air. ~F. J. Groner, M.D., "Health Hints," 1889

In bed, I can go for hours. Oh yes, I love naps. ~Jarod Kintz, Love quotes for the ages. Specifically ages 18–81.

Napping, whenever possible, is an integral part of your job when you're a professional basketball player. ~Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, 1990

I had napped... earlier — dropping into a dreamless void as soon as the adrenaline left my system... ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

It's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don't know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind. I wish I believed, as J. B. Priestley did, that consciousness continues after disembodiment or death, not forever, but for a long while. Three score years and ten is such a stingy ration of time, when there is so much time around. Perhaps that's why some of us are insomniacs; night is so precious that it would be pusillanimous to sleep all through it! A "bad night" is not always a bad thing. ~Brian W. Aldiss, "Reflections of an Ardent Insomniac," in The Guardian, 1972

There is nothing like a sleepless couch for a clear vision of one's environment. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)

I have benevolent insomnia. I wake up, and my mind is preternaturally clear. The world is quiet. I can read or write. It seems like stolen time. It seems like I have a twenty-eight-hour day. ~Marilynne Robinson, interview with Sarah Fay, The Paris Review, 2008

In the earlier years of his literary career he would frequently awake at night, get out of bed, light a candle, and compose many lines upon some poem which he said had "forced itself upon his mind." ~William H. Hayne, "Paul H. Hayne's Methods of Composition," c. 1892

My trouble is insomnia. If I had always slept properly, I'd never have written a line. ~Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894–1961), Death on the Installment Plan, 1936, translated from the French by Ralph Manheim, 1966  [This title — Mort à crédit — has also been published in English as "Death on Credit." –tg]

In summer he always began his studies as soon as it was night; in winter generally at one in the morning, but never later than two, and often at midnight. No man ever spent less time in bed... ~Pliny the Younger, of his uncle, Pliny the Elder

I have never suffered from "insomnia" — I have not sleepless nights but wakeful hours. ~Charles L. Dodgson, Pillow Problems, 1893  [a little altered —tg]

The real dilemma, which I have had to face, is this: given that the brain is in so wakeful a condition that, do what I will, I am certain to remain awake for the next hour or so, I must choose between two courses, viz. either to submit to the fruitless self-torture of going through some worrying topic, over and over again, or else to dictate to myself some topic sufficiently absorbing to keep the worry at bay. ~Charles L. Dodgson, Pillow Problems, 1893

INSOMNIA... Always undress in the dark. When you have broken three chairs, upset the centre table and stepped on six assorted tacks, you will realize what a stupid habit sleeping is anyway, and your senses will have become so acute that you will want to sit up and read the Family Story Paper during that portion of the night which has not been devoted to swearing. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

Heartbreak is not lessened by the day. Nor is sorrow diminished when washed by night. Sleep will not visit the incomplete soul. ~My FGR friend for life, Tim Irwin, 2013

I wish you quiet sleep, good dreams, happy awakenings. ~Pam Brown, To Someone Special, Wishing You Happiness, 2008,

Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You'll realize this as soon as they're born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you. ~Ray Romano, "The Baby," Everything and a Kite, 1998

It is late
And the clock is striking thin hours,
But sleep has become a terror to me,
Lest I wake in the night
And stretching out my arms to comfort myself with you,
Clasp instead the cold body of the darkness...
~Amy Lowell, "Strain," Pictures of the Floating World, 1919

What you don't worry about gives someone else insomnia. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

two in the morning
mind humming from the inside out
thinking about how much I think
~Terri Guillemets, "Two AM," 2019, blackout poetry created from Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls, 2001, pages 281–286

There is, if one is lucky, the "first sweet sleep of night" and the last deep sleep of morning, but between the two appears a sinister, ever widening interval. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Sleeping and Waking," 1934

      He had been unable to drive away the gloomy thoughts which kept sleep from his eyes for a long hour... He had solved any number of difficult arithmetical problems, and mentally repeated the same prayer at least twenty times; but the sleep which he obtained after waiting so long and making so many efforts, brought neither rest nor comfort, and the old man struggled all night in the fiery embrace of the fever-god.
      It was only in the morning, after awaking and happily falling off into a second sleep, that he enjoyed the peace and repose of both body and soul, which usually characterized his rest. When he again opened his eyes after this delightful morning's nap, a joyous ray, cast by the rising sun through the bed curtains, danced on the counterpane like a streak of gold, and gave a marvellous brilliancy to its variegated embroideries. ~Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870), The Watchmaker, 1859

I'm an insomniacaholic
if there is such a thing
well, I know there is —
I am one, and their king!
~Terri Guillemets, "Insomniacaholic," 1989

Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants. Only you, under a curse of some sort, alone; not mindless, but with no use for your mind; without pain, but with a body that needs pain to remind it that it still lives. ~Jessamyn West, The Woman Said Yes, 1976

It was four o'clock in the morning... Since midnight, when she had gone to bed, she had lain in that uncomfortable position, motionless, irremediably awake... thinking... At first the night had gone by her unperceived, black and timeless. Now she could measure time by the dull progress of the dawn among the objects in the room. ~May Sinclair, The Helpmate, 1906

SLEEP. — The balmy, beddie-bye, beddie-bye-bye, attending blanket class, horizontal exercise, Land of Nod, shut-eye, slumberland, undercover show, beauty sleep, admiral's watch, in the arms of Snorpheus, nasal crooning, forty winks, noddins and bobbins, snoozle, blanket drill, bunk in, flop in the hay, fall in, go night-night, nighty-night, perch, roost, grab a flop, tumble in, put the clock out and wind up the cat, bo-peep, cork off, plow the deep, put up, bunk out, blink a peeper, catch a wink, cop a snooze, knock a nod, saw gourds, zzzz, snoozy, asnore, dead to the world. ~Lester V. Berrey and Melvin Van den Bark, The American Thesaurus of Slang, 1947 edition

You have been wonderful about everything! First I want to go back to tell you how good it was of you to murder a Sunday morning's sleep and come down to see the plane off. It was so comforting to see you standing so alert and cheerful... as I went into the air. ~Althea Warren

I've had such bad insomnia the sleep cops have issued a warrant for my rest. ~Terri Guillemets, "The chase," 1990

The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world. ~E.W. Howe

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