Famous Insomniacs

So it turns out some of the worlds most famous and creative people have experienced severe sleep disorders, so at least the ME community knows that we are not in poor company.

Marilyn Monroe was a troubled star in Hollywood that was a habitual insomniac. She tried to take sleeping pills to cure her ills, but nothing worked. Over several years, her insomnia kept getting worse until the time of her death, and the cause of it was an overdose of sleeping pills. The day before she died of an overdose, she was extremely enraged when she heard that a friend had gotten 15 hours of sleep.

Vincent Van Gogh tried to treat his insomnia on his own. His cure was to use a heavy dose of camphor that was applied liberally to his mattress and pillow, and even though this helped him sleep, it was slowly poisoning him too. Camphor is closely connected to the chemical turpentine. Many experts believe that it was a component that pushed him to an early suicide.

Napolean Bonaparte created a whole empire even though he just slept in two-hour stints. He was called the ‘Little Emperor’, and he had such terrible suffering from insomnia, that he could he barely sleep for more than four hours a night, and he just had to grow accustomed to his condition.

Judy Garland was extremely addicted to diet pills, which were just like amphetamines from a very early age. She would sometimes be awake for days on end. To deal with the effects of the speed, she would try out sleeping pills, and this was a dangerous combination that would eventually lead to her death.

Margaret Thatcher was the British prime minister, and she said she only need four hours of sleep per night. Some are suggesting that her motto of “sleep is for wimps” is just a cover-up for insomnia, a disease that could have been seen as a weakness in a leader.

Groucho Marx had some terrible insomnia, and it was triggered the week of the stock market crash in 1929, after he had lost a fortune. To reduce the symptoms of his insomnia, he would call up strangers in the middle of the night and insult them. That is not a good recommendation to try. Remember, that in today’s time, we have caller ID.

Madonna close sources say that she uses medication to treat her sleeping problems, and that she has an extreme desire for fame and fortune too. She doesn’t disagree with this statement. She says she is anal, is a workaholic, has insomnia, and is a control freak. She said that’s one of the reasons she’s not married, because she says that no one can stand her.

Benjamin Franklin had problems with insomnia, despite waking up early in the morning. He would need to get up and air out his bed to get the fresh oxygen coming in. He went so far as to have two beds so that he could get up from one in the middle of the night and move to another if he couldn’t air it out.

Cary Grant suffered from insomnia as well. He said he would wake up at 3 AM, read for an hour, go back to bed, and wake up at 6:30 AM, and then maybe fully get up at 7.

Charles Dickens definitely had some insomnia. He would stroll the streets of London at night.

Thomas Edison had some insomnia too. He would only sleep for a few hours at a time. He just couldn’t stop creating. He was a busy thinker.

Marcel Proust was a famous author that serious insomnia.

Arianna Huffington is a professional writer and commentator on The Huffington Post, and she has garnered a lot of fame as a workaholic as well as an insomniac, but when she passed out from being exhausted, broke her cheekbone, and got five stitches above her eye, she has been a tireless crusader against the disease of insomnia. She calls insomnia a “feminist issue”, and she encourages women to get plenty of sleep each night.

Bill Clinton has said that he only gets five hours of sleep per night, but he tried to extend that number after he had a heart attack that he partly blamed on fatigue. He says that every mistake he made in his life, he made because he was way too tired to operate cogently.

Abraham Lincoln suffered from insomnia for a very long time, and he was known for his midnight strolls.

Tallulah Bankhead was an actress that hired homosexuals to hold her hand while she went to sleep.

Marlene Dietrich was an actress, and used a sardine sandwich to cure her insomnia. No one is really sure why this worked, or if it was just psychological or somatic. It could have worked because the sweet bread released the tryptophan in the meat, which his a brain chemical that is a potent sleep aid.

Amy Lowell was a poet, and she couldn’t sleep without pure quiet. She would rent a hotel room, and she would also rent the rooms on top, underneath, on the left side, and the right side of her.

W.C. Fields was a famous actor, and he could only fall asleep under an umbrella that would get watered by a sprinkler hose. Perhaps it was the white noise that he liked. He would be happy to know that he could buy white noise devices now in this day and age.

Alexandre Dumas was an author, and he wrote several famous novels. He would relieve his insomnia by taking strolls late at night.

Franz Kafka was a famous author, and he had a journal where he wrote of his worst suffering. He wrote one night that he could not fall asleep for three straight nights, and that he slept soundly, but after about an hour of sleeping, he would wake up, and it was as if he had put his head in a bad place.

Theodore Roosevelt was a U.S. president, and he would take a glass of cognac with a glass of milk before bed. The tryptophan in the milk might have been released by the sweet cognac. Tryptophan is a potent sleep aid because it’s an amino acid that creates serotonin which creates melatonin, and melatonin helps put us to sleep.

Mark Twain was an author who one time tossed a pillow at a bedroom window of one of his friend’s houses he was staying in. When the glass shattering let in some cool air, he went to sleep right away. When he woke up in the morning, he discovered that he had just shattered a glass bookcase.

Full article here: http://www.remmedical.com/insomnia/famous-people-with-insomnia.php


Juice Me Up, Scotty!!!
Murcia, Spain
Hah of these people the ones I have some knowledge of were unhappy and/or had tragic lifes, especially the artists. I imagine the others did/do not have such a great time wither,

I wonder if someone like Kafka would have produced "lighter" material without having insomnia. Biologic determinism is a big player in this world!

Happiness/comfort or personal achievements? Tough call! It depends of the achievement, most of the time I would choose good sleep and being a nobody. Right now I am a nobody but have awful sleep, what a crappy deal eh. :rofl: