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Quotations about Sleep

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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

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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

[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)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. ~Fran Lebowitz

It's a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it's light out. ~Bill Watterson

The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. ~Charles Caleb Colton

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

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

...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

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~Leo J. Burke

Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience — unless they are still up. ~Ellen Goodman

Sleep... Oh! how I loathe those little slices of death. ~Author unknown, various wordings commonly attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, and Journey to the Center of the Earth

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]

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
~D.H. Lawrence

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

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast. ~Author unknown

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

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: When men of reason go to bed. ~Ambrose Bierce

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

The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest. The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being. Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows. ~Gaston Bachelard

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"

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

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

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Do not go back to sleep. ~Rumi

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters. ~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis

Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. ~Author Unknown

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

Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed. ~Arthur Schopenhauer

[S]leep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker

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

People who snore always fall asleep first. ~Author Unknown

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

Now, blessings light on him that first invented sleep! It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap, and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even. ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605

Life is in short cycles or periods; we are quickly tired, but we have rapid rallies. A man is spent by his work, starved, prostrate; he will not lift his hand to save his life; he can never think more. He sinks into deep sleep and wakes with renewed youth, with hope, courage, fertile in resources, and keen for daring adventure. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims, "Inspiration"

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"

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg — Her Dream

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

There is no hope for a civilization which starts each day to the sound of an alarm clock. ~Author Unknown

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. ~John Steinbeck

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

Sleep, rest of things, O pleasing Deity,
Peace of the soul, which cares dost crucify,
Weary bodies refresh and mollify.
~Ovid, attributed

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

When I want to go to sleep, I must first get a whole menagerie of voices to shut up. You wouldn't believe what a racket they make in my room. ~Karl Kraus, translated from German by Harry Zohn

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

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

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

Don't fight with the pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.
~Edmund Vance Cooke

All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own. ~Plutarch

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"

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,

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep. ~E. Joseph Cossman

Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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

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]

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

"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

Fatigue is the best pillow. ~Benjamin Franklin

Sleep doesn't help if it's your soul that's tired. ~Author unknown

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

I'm not asleep... but that doesn't mean I'm awake. ~Author Unknown

Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals. ~Vladimir Nabokov

Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life. ~Virginia Woolf

The days are cold, the nights are long,
The North wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast;
All merry things are now at rest,
Save thee, my pretty love!
~Dorothy Wordsworth, "The Cottager to Her Infant"

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

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. ~Author Unknown

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 Buckingham, "My Nightly Affirmation"

What hath night to do with sleep? ~John Milton

Sleep: a poor substitute for caffeine. ~Author Unknown

The reasons we can't sleep at night are usually the same reasons we don't truly live during the day. ~Michael Xavier

The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. ~Wilson Mizner

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. ~Charles Dickens

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

Leisure time is that five or six hours when you sleep at night. ~George Allen

"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

But no one ever is allowed in Sleepytown, unless
He goes to bed in time to take the Sleepytown Express!
~James Jackson Montague, The Sleepytown Express

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. ~Anthony Burgess

Early to rise and early to bed
Makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.
~James Thurber, Fables for Our Times, 1940

For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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

There are twelve hours in the day, and above fifty in the night. ~Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

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

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