Celebs Who Have Struggled With Insomnia

Celebs Who Have Struggled With Insomnia

February 8, 2021

The day is behind you, work responsibilities have been taken care of, and everything on the home front is in place after knocking out a few chores. Then after gazing at the TV for a spell, you envision yourself taking a big old swan dive into your bed, where you will bask in a perfect night of slumber until sunlight. Alas, it isn’t always so easy. Instead, you lie awake with insomnia, and your stress is twofold because you’re frustrated that you’re awake in the middle of the night, plus worried that you’ll be exhausted for the upcoming day.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines insomnia as the “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality,” according to the Sleep Foundation. Plus, the American Sleep Apnea Association says that 70% of adults in the U.S. admit to sleeping poorly at least one night each month, and 11% say they don’t get enough sleep on a nightly basis. But out of the many who are plagued by the dreaded sleep disorder of insomnia, which celebrities suffer from it? Especially since they’re prone to keep crazy and inconsistent schedules? To find out, we did a little digging and listed some of the famous people who’ve talked about having insomnia. 

Carrie Underwood had pregnancy insomnia

Oftentimes, celebrities will share their pregnancy experience with their fans and detail how joyful they are. But they’ll also open up about the difficulties of carrying their little one and how it has affected their sleep pattern. It’s something that Carrie Underwood did when tweeted about having insomnia while pregnant with her youngest son Jacob Fisher. “Dear pregnancy insomnia,” her tweet began. “Please go bother someone else … like dads. Go bother dads. My husband sleeps so soundly and peacefully and I’ve been awake for 2 hours (so far). How is this fair? Imma lose my mind.”

To combat their insomnia, some celebs said they try to find something that will bore them to sleep, like Kelly Ripa, who told Good Housekeeping in 2012 that she watches infomercials. But Underwood said that used her sleepless nights to knock out some writing for her 2020 book Find Your Path. “At the time I was writing a lot of the book,” she told Country Radio Seminar in February of 2020, according to People. “I was pregnant, and I had the worst pregnancy insomnia, which actually ended up being a blessing because that’s when I wrote the majority of the book, the window from, like, 2 a.m. to 5 or 6.”

Michael Jackson tried desperately to solve his sleep issues

A lot of people could probably pinpoint where they were in 2009 when hearing the news that Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest after overdosing on propofol, a drug used to make people unconscious for surgery, as Harvard Medical School explains. Reportedly, Jackson had a terrible time with insomnia and the drug was given to him by his doctor at the time, Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in November 2011.

Murray was sentenced to four years in prison and was released in October of 2013, and the details of Jackson’s sleep disorder came out during a wrongful death trial between Jackson’s family and concert promoters AEG Live. “The symptoms that Mr. Jackson was exhibiting were consistent with what someone might expect to see of someone suffering from total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” said Dr. Charles Czeisle in court, according to CNN. Plus, a holistic health care nurse named Cherilyn Lee spoke at the trial about the late singer’s sleep problem. As Reuters reported, she shared that when the vitamins she gave Jackson didn’t work as a sleep aid, the pop star “requested that she obtain propofol.” However, as the outlet noted, “she refused.”

Debi Mazar couldn't 'turn it off' and fall asleep

For some, it’s hard to wake up for work in the morning, but for others, it’s hard to go to sleep when work is completed. Why? Because their minds aren’t able to shut down when business hours conclude and it’s time to get some shuteye. Actor Debi Mazar is one of those people, and she talked about dealing with insomnia with Fox News in 2015. “When I was in my 20s, being an actor and also being a workaholic, I would get to sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night, and I also traveled to different time zones,” the Entourage star described. “I go to bed and start thinking … and I just can’t turn it off.”

Mazar also spoke on Dr. Oz’s podcast in 2018 about her sleep issues, citing her inconsistent work schedule as an actor. At first, she took “sedatives” to sleep, but the problem only grew after her first child was born. In fact, Mazar said that her insomnia got so bad, it made her “forgetful” and she’d “catch colds easily.” But the Younger star eventually went to a doctor, who prescribed Rozerem, commonly used to treat insomnia, which helped.

Rihanna has 'trouble switching off' and falling asleep

Picture this: For most of the year, you’ve been working tirelessly, and people have been pulling you in various directions to fulfill what seems to be an endless number of obligations. Your vacation finally arrives… but insomnia hits. You can’t get a single wink of sleep. That’s what happened to Rihanna, who in 2012 tweeted, “Waited all yr+Finally I have time off, time 4 rest n quiet. Suddenly all the silence is being drowned by my thoughts! No sleep #HEAVY #SCARY.” Then in 2017 during an interview with Vogue Paris (via WWD), she admitted to sleeping “three or four hours a night” because her brain is still in go-go-go mode. “I have a lot of trouble switching off. Even when I get home early, which means before 1 a.m.,” she said, according to a translation by WWD. “I start binge-watching shows or documentaries, which I love. I can’t go straight to bed.” 

Having to wind down before going to bed seems to be understandable for the Barbadian artists since she splits her time in the recording studio being a pop star and running her Fenty fashion line. In fact, when actress Sarah Paulson spoke with Rihanna in 2019 for Interview and asked her how she gets any sleep with her hectic schedule, the “Umbrella” singer said, “I don’t have a sleep pattern. I have sleep pockets. I fit it in when I can. That’s why I take those personal days so seriously. Because it’s like, ‘You had all of me.'”

Chrissy Teigen fights insomnia with eggs

Pregnancy, having nightmares, and not being full enough before bed all contributed to Chrissy Teigen having insomnia, which she revealed on Twitter at different times. In January of 2020, for example, the model tweeted that every night before bed she has to eat “night eggs,” because she can’t sleep unless she’s “overly full.” Teigen also tweeted that she takes “two-hard boiled eggs to bed every night” and eats them whenever she wakes up, which is at least “a half an hour like 4 times a night.” Can you imagine? Then in March of 2020, the supermodel posted a clip of herself lying awake and gave a reason. “I’ve been having the same nightmare for months,” she tweeted. “If I wake up, I fall right back into it when I go back to sleep. And when I do officially wake up, I’m soaking wet and so sad all day. I’m tired!! Sleeping in a different room tonight.”

The tweet suggests that Teigen’s husband John Legend has to go at it alone in bed some nights, which also could have been the case when his wife was pregnant with their third child. “Still awake like it’s nothing. 530am! Didn’t happen with other pregnancies, tweeted Teigen in August of 2020. Sadly, Teigen lost that child following pregnancy complications, which she opened up about in a September 2020 Instagram post. Hopefully, she’s having better luck with her insomnia these days.

Chris Brown's struggle with insomnia was revealed in court

When Chris Brown first appeared on the scene with his debut album in 2005, it seemed that he had all the makings of a superstar: A soulful, candy-coated voice, dance steps that were nothing less than futuristic, and charisma to spare. But in February 2009, on the same day as the Grammys, what seemed to be a perfect career was nearly shattered after the singer assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna.

The Barbadian-born singer was brought to the hospital afterward, and Brown turned himself in to police. Then in March of that year, he was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. He eventually pleaded guilty and struck a plea deal, and his issues with insomnia were revealed in a 2014 follow-up hearing. “Mr. Brown became aggressive and acted out physically due to his untreated mental health disorder, severe sleep deprivation, inappropriate self-medicating and untreated PTSD,” wrote someone from the facility where Brown completed 90 days of anger management, according to TMZ. On top of that, in a 2013 interview with The Guardian, the singer talked about his career and how he’s “a ball of creativity,” who’s good at everything except “Just being able to relax and sleep.”

Stevie Nicks doesn't fall asleep until morning

The touring life of a rock star may seem glamorous from afar, but some artists have said that it’s physically and emotionally taxing — and it can really mess with your sleep schedule. “Being confined to the van for a 10-hour drive … You can’t sleep, you can’t move, you can’t do anything. It’s like a recipe for a breakdown for me,” Meredith Graves, formerly of the now broken up  punk band Perfect P****y” told The Guardian in 2015. And if there’s anyone who could relate to Graves, it’s legendary rocker Stevie Nicks, who grew to fame in the ’70s and ’80s as a member of the band Fleetwood Mac and for her solo music. In a 2020 interview with Vogue, the Bella Donna creator admitted to being “nocturnal,” which stemmed from touring all over the world for many years. But what used to be a conscious decision to stay up into the wee hours is now out of her control. 

“It used to be I could sleep from 5am to 1pm,” she told the fashion mag. “Now I don’t go to sleep until 8am. I need therapy, or I need someone to hit me on the head with a hammer.” And in a July 2020 journal entry that Nicks shared on Twitter, she wrote, “It is 6:50am. I am still awake listening to Pandora. I am just happy to be awake, immersed in music, feeling slightly euphoric and inspired to be alive.” 

Kim Cattrall dropped out of a show due to insomnia

Sex and the City character Samantha Jones seems bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, well-rested, and ready to fire off a double entendre before she’s had her first cup of coffee. For actor Kim Cattrall, however, sleep hasn’t always come easy. In fact, the problem got so bad that she had to withdraw from a London stage production of Linda in 2015. In a statement obtained by The Guardian, Cattrall said, “With great sadness and at the advice of my doctors, I will not be able to continue with the Royal Court’s production of Linda.” The following year, Cattrall opened up about leaving the production because of insomnia during an interview with Radio Times. She said her struggle with insomnia was like having “a gorilla sitting on [her] chest,” calling it a “complex” problem. “I didn’t understand the debilitating consequence of having no sleep,” Cattrall added. “It becomes a tsunami. I was in a void.”

Then after Cattrall left the UK under a bit of criticism for dropping out of Linda, she still wasn’t able to get some shuteye. “Coming back to the US, I hadn’t slept for 48 hours and had to wait six hours to get my 18-year-old cat through customs,” she told the Radio Times reporter. The Porky’s star also said that she received cognitive behavior therapy to treat her insomnia. 

Lady Gaga's 'overactive mind' interferes with sleep

More than likely, one of the benefits of being a prolific songwriter is having constant ideas about lyrics and song concepts. But the downside of being such a creative person could be the inability to turn off that idea machine when it’s bedtime, which Lady Gaga can attest to. She talked about having problems with insomnia about one year after breaking onto the scene. “I lie in bed and try to pray and breathe. I have a very overactive mind. I’m the sort of person who’d never take medication to calm myself. It’s maddening,” she explained to OK! magazine in 2010, according to MTV.

And while the pressures of stardom can sometimes zap a person’s energy so all they want to do is stay at home, Gaga finds fame energizing. “For some people, fame kills it and becomes more important than the music or the performance,” she told the outlet. “But for me, fame is like rocket fuel. The more my fans like what I’m doing, the more I want to give back to them. And my passion is so strong I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept for three days.”

Christina Applegate learned how to fight against insomnia

Christina Applegate has been suffering from insomnia for decades, first battling it as a young person, then as a mom. The Married… with Children star spoke about it with People in 2016 and while she didn’t mention having trouble falling asleep, Applegate said she couldn’t stay asleep throughout the night — a problem called sleep maintenance insomnia, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

“In my 20s and 30s, I used to never be able to fall asleep and would just stay up all night long,” Applegate explained. “But when my daughter was born, I got into a three-hour feeding cycle. Now she sleeps 10 hours a night, but my body still wakes up every few hours. I’ll also be up from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. and finally fall asleep. And then [Sadie Grace] comes in and is ready for breakfast.” The Bad Moms star also spoke with SELF in 2017 about her sleep issues, and she’s been doing things to fight it like trying not to “look at newsy stuff” before going to bed, steering clear of her phone if she does wake up, and doing “sleep meditation” before bedtime.

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