Skip to main content

63 Songs About Sleeping and Insomnia

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Celebrate relaxing, restful, glorious sleep and lament the times when sleep escapes you with this playlist of pop, rock, R&B, and country songs about sleeping and insomnia.

Celebrate relaxing, restful, glorious sleep and lament the times when sleep escapes you with this playlist of pop, rock, R&B, and country songs about sleeping and insomnia.

Make Sleep Your Priority

How'd you sleep last night? Perhaps you went to bed late and woke up early again. Or maybe you had a restless night of tossing and turning. If either is true, you're in good company. More than one in three Americans get fewer than seven hours of slumber on a routine basis, with consequences of sleep deprivation potentially including the following:

  • poor decision-making, memory, and insight
  • irritability, outbursts, decreased motivation, and poor communication
  • distractibility, greater risk-taking, and slower reaction times.

And then there is also the lengthy list of physical and mental health outcomes linked with chronic sleep loss:

heart attack and heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, depression, anxiety, suicide, ulcerative colitis, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, and accidental injury.

You surely don't need any more reasons to prioritize getting a better night's sleep, right?

Celebrate the value of nodding off to dreamland, and lament those times when sleep escapes you. Enjoy this playlist of pop, rock, R&B, and country songs about sleeping and insomnia. Then go catch some winks because you deserve some extra rest.

1. "How Do You Sleep?" by Sam Smith

Faced with a cheating lover, the narrator in this globally popular pop ballad from 2019 feels ashamed of the jealous, snooping person he has become. He spends too much time crying, checks his partner's cell phone log, and calls numbers he doesn't know. The guy feels stuck between wanting to keep the partner he loves and hating himself for feeling so desperate. He also asks his lover how they can sleep at night when they're living a life of deception? This is someone who is getting ready to move on from a relationship where all trust has been lost.

2. "You Can Sleep While I Drive" by Melissa Etheridge

In this 1989 rock song, rocker Melissa Etheridge recalls how a former partner, Kathleen wanted her to come along on a long-distance road trip. The song narrator has loaded up her convertible, brought along a harmonica for entertainment, and gassed up the vehicle. She's waiting on her partner and they'll leave for their adventure. In 1995, this ditty became a moderate hit on the country charts when Trisha Yearwood covered it.

3. "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd

Canadian artist The Weeknd pays tribute to a lost love whom he yearns for in this 2019 electropop song. It was a worldwide chart-topper. He expresses difficulty in adjusting to life without his former love interest. The narrator suffers from a case of insomnia and spends his nights in Las Vegas, distracted by the city's bright lights. The Weeknd dated both model Bella Hadid and singer Selena Gomez, either of whom may have inspired the song.

4. "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All" by 5th Dimension

If you've ever faced a restless night, unable to drift off in spite of a sleeping pill, then you can surely sympathize with this desperate fellow. In this 1972 R&B-pop crossover hit, a man with a troubled love relationship describes the sleepless night before.

He laid awake in the dark feeling lonely as the hours slowly passed. As his eyes grew bleary, his body still resisted sleep, and he ruminated about whether to forget his foolish pride and call his sweetheart. How many nights can he last like this before he gives in? Is she going through the same misery?

5. "Don't Wake Me" by Skillet

Sleep is a means of escapism for the narrator in this 2009 Christian rock song who seeks to reunite with a loved one he misses. The tune can be interpreted to be about missing either an ex or a loved one who has died. The depressed man in the song relives old memories in his dreams like a movie, wishing he could have a second chance. It simply isn't the same without the person he misses, and he doesn't want to wake up since sleep is the only way to access them.

6. "I Can't Sleep" by Clay Walker

Humility has set in with the loss of sleep for the narrator in this 2004 country song. With his marriage broken apart, he's lost an entire night of shut-eye regretting his mistakes and pondering how he can reconcile with her. His sleep situation, he says, won't change until he can touch her face.

7. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight.

Perhaps you recall "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" from your youth, whether you heard the song on the radio in the sixties or in one of The Lion King movies decades later. The tune was originally recorded in Zulu by a South African musician, Solomon Linda, under the title, "Mbube."

It was subsequently translated into English and covered by many international pop and folk artists, including the doo-wop group The Tokens for whom the song became a #1 Billboard hit in 1961. In the 2010s, the song was used in meme videos online signaling that someone was about to get hurt.

8. "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith

This 1998 power ballad was inspired by a Barbara Walters television interview with aging lovebirds James Brolin and Barbra Streisand. Brolin gushed that he missed his beloved when they slept, and confided, "I don't want to miss a thing."

The song's narrator watches his partner sleep. He listens to her breathing and gazes at her as she smiles and dreams. (That sounds creepy to me, to be honest, but many people feel it is romantic.) The track was recorded for the motion picture, Armageddon. Incredibly, it's the only Aerosmith song to top the mainstream Billboard charts in the legendary band's 50+ years of performing.

9. "Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis

When you're in love, thoughts of your honey fill your mind throughout the day, but those musings can also consume your thoughts at night and keep you from getting good zzz's. This chart-topping hit is a 1960 R&B-pop crossover song that features a lovesick man who tosses and turns into the wee hours. Unable to sleep, he throws aside blankets, goes to the kitchen for a bite to eat, and listens to the tick-tocking of the clock. "Tossin' and Turnin'" was one of only two Top 40 mainstream Billboard hits by Bobby Lewis.

"A ruffled mind makes a ruffled pillow." - Charlotte Brontë

"A ruffled mind makes a ruffled pillow." - Charlotte Brontë

Facts About Sleep

Did you know?Did you know?

Sleep drunkenness or confusional arousal is a sleep disorder affecting 1 in 7 adults. It refers to when a person is forcefully awakened and remains in a confused state for a certain period of time before either going back to sleep or fully waking up.

In 1965, 17-year-old Randy Gardner stayed awake for 264.4 hours (about 11 days) for a science fair experiment and set a world record for the longest time a person has gone without sleep. The record was broken several times but is no longer documented as a world record because of ethical concerns.

Driving after 20 hours without sleep is like driving with a blood alcohol limit of .08%, the legal limit in the US. You are three times as likely to be in a vehicle accident when driving drowsy.

Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, involves performing activities in a state of low consciousness that are typically reserved for full awareness (e.g., talking, cleaning, emailing or texting coworkers, walking to the bathroom, driving a car, cooking or eating, etc.)

Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) is sudden unexpected death of a person 18 years or older during sleep. It is caused by heart disease, medication-related causes, or other causes.

Within five minutes of waking 50% of a dream is forgotten, while 90% is forgotten within 10 minutes.

One in four married couples sleeps in separate bedrooms.

Fever dreams are vivid, usually negative and unsettling dreams that a person experiences when their body temperature is elevated.

10. "Sleep" by My Chemical Romance

In this creepy 2006 rock number, a distressed man describes his experiences with night terrors. The song is based on the group's stay at a historic estate known to be haunted. The band's frontman suffered night terrors there that included feelings that he was being strangled in his sleep, and he believed that he saw Joan of Arc burning. Night terrors are episodes of screaming, intense fear, and flailing while still asleep. Typically, they last from a few seconds to several minutes, the person remains asleep and often does not recall the content of the dream.

11. "I Should Probably Go to Bed" by Dan + Shay

For his own good, the guy in this 2020 country song decides to make himself scarce when his ex comes back into town. Friends have been encouraging him to get back out there and move on from his relationship. He decides not tonight.

The lovelorn fellow is still carrying a torch for his previous ladylove and realizes that if they cross paths while out on the town, then seeing her face will erase any progress he's made. Therefore, he figures he'll play it safe by staying home, turning off his phone, and going to bed.

12. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!

This high energy, vintage 1984 pop tune was a worldwide smash hit, the first #1 tune for Wham! The narrator in the song hears from a friend that his partner left him sleeping and went out dancing last night. (Sounds suspicious, right?) However, rather than get angry with her, he tells her to wake him up before she goes next time. He's willing to trade sleep for some late night clubbing with his honey.

13. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel

The Piano Man, Billy Joel, wrote this 1994 tender piano ballad in response to his then 7-year-old daughter Alexa's question, "Where do we go when we die?" In the song, Joel reassures his child that he will never truly leave her and never be far away.

The loving father assures his daughter that she'll always be part of him. He encourages the girl to lay down and dream of how wonderful her life will be. Lullabies like this one, he explains, are a thread that links the generations. Just as he sings this lullaby to her, she can one day sing it to her child.

Alexa Joel, whose question sparked the song, is the daughter of model Christie Brinkley, Joel's second ex-wife. The beloved singer later married twice more and had two additional daughters in 2015 and 2020 with his fourth wife.

14. "Fireflies" by Owl City

Struggling with insomnia, the man in this 2009 synthpop song finally falls asleep and experiences lucid dreams filled with 10,000 twinkling fireflies. They mesmerize the narrator and light up his world.

15. "Brain Stew" by Green Day

Lying in bed tossing and adjusting your pillow, 2 a.m. turns into 4 a.m. Your mind is consumed with worry or your lengthy to do list. No matter what you do, you can't nod off. The blaring sounds punctuating this 1995 rock song depict the frustrating experience that can amount to both physical and mental torment:

My mind is set on overdrive
The clock is laughing in my face
A crooked spine
My senses dulled
Past the point of delirium.

16. "Go to Sleep" by Radiohead

Sleep is a symbol of general political unawareness in this 2003 rock ditty (as opposed to the term "woke," which refers to awareness of sociopolitical injustice. The song alludes to vicious debates over social assistance for the poor and sending "someone's son or someone's daughter" off to fight wars. The narrator experiences such a sense of powerlessness in the face of high alert that slumber, or not thinking critically, represents a welcome escape.

17. "Mr. Sandman" by The Chordettes

In Western and Northern European folklore, The Sandman is a mythical figure who sprinkles magical sand into people's eyes, causing them to drift off to sleep and bringing them good dreams. The lonely young woman in this 1954 pop number accordingly tries to special order a boyfriend through Mr. Sandman before bedtime. While we don't know whether it worked for her, the formula was very successful for The Chordettes, as this song topped the charts for seven weeks. Additionally, the single was later honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

18."Lights" by Ellie Goulding

This catchy synthpop tune from 2011 was a worldwide hit and was inspired by Ellie Goulding's childhood fear of the dark. Sleeping with a light on provides comfort from all the things that go bump in the night.

19. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by Nirvana

This 1993 MTV Unplugged song by grunge band Nirvana is haunting on multiple levels. A murder ballad, the traditional American folk song claims roots that hark back to the nineteenth century and Appalachia. Cobain sings it with a fitting level of distress, reaching a primal scream at the end in what can only be described as the performance of a lifetime. Within less than five months, he would be dead by suicide.

Although there are many different lyrical versions of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," the one featured here is a reinterpretation of Lead Belly's. A runaway girl, whether a slave or an abused romantic partner, escapes briefly but returns (or is caught?), only to be aggressively questioned by her captor. He is intimidating and powerful, and he chides her, taunts her:

My girl, my girl, don't lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night?
In the pines, in the pines where the sun don't ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through.

An ominous, thinly-veiled threat then follows in which the narrator describes the death of a woman's husband. The poor fellow's decapitated head was found in the large wheels of a locomotive. The warning is clear.

20. "Talking in Your Sleep" by The Romantics

In this 1983 global pop hit, the narrator can hear what his girlfriend dreams about. The gal has a case of somniloquy, a type of abnormal sleep behavior or parasomnia that involves talking in her sleep. Sleeptalkers have no control over what escapes their mouths when they're catching some zzz's.

Those who experience the condition might scream, whisper, or mumble. They may appear to chit-chat briefly to themselves or carry on lengthy, articulate conversations with others. The song narrator's partner professes her love while sleeping, describes what she wants, and divulges secrets. Meanwhile, the guy is all ears. What would you do?

"Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together." - Thomas Dekker, American actor and director

"Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together." - Thomas Dekker, American actor and director

Even More Songs About Sleeping and Insomnia

Know a song about sleeping or insomnia that should be on this playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below!

SongArtist(s)Year Released

21. "We All Sleep Alone"



22. "Enter Sandman"



23. "Can't Sleep Love"



24. "Insomnia"



25. "Who Needs Sleep?"

Barenaked Ladies


26. "Sleepless Night"

The Kinks


27. "Sleepless"

The Decemberists


28. "Wake Up Little Susie"

The Everly Brothers


29. "Insomnia"



30. "Sleepwalker"

The Kinks


31. "Daysleeper"



32. "Sleeping Alone"



33. "I'm So Tired"

The Beatles


34. "Behind the Wall of Sleep"

The Smithereens


35. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"

Bon Jovi


36. "Stay Up Late"

Talking Heads


37. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"

Carly Simon


38. "Talking in Your Sleep"

Crystal Gayle


39. "I Can't Sleep"

The La's


40. "Sleep"

Little Willie John


41. "I Guess I Should Go to Sleep"

Jack White


42. "Up All Night"



43. "Get Up"



44. "Sleep to Dream"

Fionna Apple


45. "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed"

Barbara Mandrell


46. "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)"

The Four Tops


47. "Golden Slumbers"

The Beatles


48. "I'm Only Sleeping"

The Beatles


49. "When I Go to Sleep at Night"

The Chiffons


50. "I Don't Like to Sleep Alone"

Paul Anka (featuring Odia Coates)


51. "Sleep Without You"

Brett Young


52. "Losing Sleep"

Chris Young


53. "Insomnia"



54. "Sleepless Nights"

The Everly Brothers


55. "Sleep"



56. "In the Arms of Sleep"

Smashing Pumpkins


57. "Sleep All Day"

Jason Mraz


58. "I Go to Sleep"



59. "Only When I Sleep"

The Corrs


60. "Ode to Sleep"

Twenty One Pilots


61. "Asleep"

The Smith


62. "Lucid Dreams"

Juice WRLD


63. "R.E.M."

Ariana Grande


© 2020 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 29, 2020:

MG - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you sleep well at night.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 29, 2020:

Nice selection, thankfully I don't have insomnia. But it's good to listen to these songs

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 29, 2020:

Suhail - Glad to see you back. I'm glad this brought back memories of your daughter and grandson. Congratulations on the growing family.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on September 28, 2020:

Thanks for writing another article on music. I don't know how many I have missed during my absentia.

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as played in Lion King is surely my favorite. I watched Lion King first when my daughter was 2 years old and then its remake when my grandson is now 4 years old haha.

On another note, I used to hate that Wham song.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Raymond - I'm glad you enjoyed this and are open to learning new songs. Thank you for reading and listening. Have a wonderful weekend.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Devika - That's such a kind compliment. I appreciate you.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Linda - I'm glad you found value in this playlist. Thank you for stopping by. I love that song and was surprised to learn about its complex past.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Audrey - I'm sorry you have problems falling to sleep. I've had it at times and know how frustrating it can be. I hope a solution comes for you so you can get some rest.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Linda, It's such a crazy world and you can only solve so much. I find that keeping a routine makes my sleep come easier. One of my older cats (who sleeps with me) reminds me when it's time to go to bed. He and two others head upstairs together with me each night like clockwork, and everyone has their specific spots. Cats are delightful in helping to shut it all off.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Pamela - After 3 days of being awake, things start to come off the rails as far as decision making and emotional control. I've done it and even small decisions may become challenging.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Mary - Reading books can help, especially if they aren't exactly page-turners. I like to save nonfiction science books (not my favorite) for insomnia. When I was working I used to read government regulations and that worked like a charm. Put me right to sleep.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Heidi - That's funny that the Slaughter song was your go-to. I value sleep time fiercely. I've used sleep to solve vexing problems and find that when I'm coming down with something, the best thing to do is "sleep it off." Have a wonderful weekend and get lots of good sleep.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2020:

Bill - I'm glad you sleep well! It's vital for a happy life. Have a terrific weekend.

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on September 25, 2020:

I have to admit in all honesty that I only knew a few songs from the list you mentioned. It's nice to get to know material you don't already know.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 25, 2020:

Hi so interesting to read another one of your list of songs. I am amazed of your song list and the research you do to inform us. Well done!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

This is an interesting article, as always. I probably shouldn't have read an article about sleep problems so close to bedtime! I'm glad I did, though. I found the section about "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" especially interesting.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on September 24, 2020:

For as long as I can remember I've had insomnia. My mind keeps me awake. How I envy those who have no problem falling to sleep. I enjoyed each song, especially "Lullaby Goodnight My Angel" by Billy Joel.

Thank you. I really enjoyed this.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 24, 2020:

If sleep is so important, why is it so difficult? I struggle with switching off my brain, solving the problems of the world instead of sleeping. But then there's my husband who can sit down in his chair (with kitty on lap) and fall asleep within moments. Aah, the sleep of the innocent.

What a great list--I will admit that, of course, I knew the oldies, but I'm patting myself on the back for knowing the Nirvana and Metallica. Lots of good information here on sleep too. Flourish, you've done it again. Loved it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 24, 2020:

I sure have no desire to stay awake for 11 days. This is a huge list of songs and I don't know why I should be surprised as you never disappoint. I am familiar with many of these songs and it is a great selection, Flourish.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2020:

Your article shows us the value of getting a fair amount of sleep daily. Thanks for reminding me of some of these songs that I have not heard in a while. Time for a nap! (Smile)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2020:

I sleep well, but sometimes, it takes me a while to fall asleep.

When this happens next time, I will ask for help from Mr. Sandman.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 24, 2020:

Sleep is such a crucial element of life and, sadly, one that can be so elusive for many. I read this book, Why We Sleep, it was pretty enlightening and frightening.

Interestingly, the Slaughter "Up All Night" tune was the one I thought of. Okay, because I'm asleep in the 80s-early 90s.

Well, I'd be losing sleep trying to think of any adds to this extensive list. But if I do, I'll pop back in.

G'night or G'morning, whichever it is for you!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2020:

I sleep the sleep of the innocent, thank you! lol Bev, not so much, even thought she is much more innocent than I.

The Beatles...nailed all three....had a little trouble after that, then smacked myself on the forehead when I saw your list. Duh!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2020:

Swati - Thank you for the kind kudos.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2020:

Ankita - I'm glad you enjoyed the songs as well as the facts on sleep. Have a terrific week and get good rest!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2020:

Yves - I appreciate your visit and kind comment. I enjoyed the Crystal Gayle song, too, and have it at #38. Have a fabulous week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2020:

Chitrangada - I appreciate your stopping by. My life revolves around sleep and my sleep quality. I love sleep and can't get enough due to my medical problems. It's wonderful to clearing the mind and body of any toxins.

Swati Khandelwal from Nainital on September 23, 2020:

This is something outstanding, wonderful

Ankita B on September 23, 2020:

I enjoyed reading this. You have provided a great list and I love listening to some of them. The facts were interesting.

savvydating on September 23, 2020:

I rather like Mr. Sandman for its catchy tune...

Your facts about sleep are interesting. I had never heard of fever dreams. Personally, without 8 hours of sleep I feel less than myself and definitely less astute. But, I do sleep in on weekends, and then feel amazingly rested... and even a little bit smarter. Lol.

Anyhoo.... another song that was popular, though rather slow-ish and sad is, "Talking in Your Sleep" by Crystal Gale. It is about a lover or husband who is mumbling in his sleep about another woman.

Yikes. Definitely not a good thing!

Sleep is an interesting topic---- It is the time when we dream. I believe dreams are amazing... and good sleep can give us more clarity in dreaming, perhaps.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2020:

Interesting list of songs about sleeping and insomnia.

Sleep is so important, but sometimes due to various reasons, we are sleep deprived. And yes, it does affect our health adversely.

Thanks for sharing another wonderful list of well presented songs.