Sleep: In Words
Smart, Strange, and Funny Quotes About Sleep

Funny Sleep Quotes | Celebratory Sleep Quotes | Insomnious Sleep Quotes
Share Your Own Sleep Quotes

Since we spend around one-third of our entire lives asleep, it is no wonder that many have spent their time ruminating over what sleeping is really all about. Famous actors, politicians, writers, and celebrities have all graced us over the years with their thoughts on this part of their lives.

Their quotes about sleep are often surprisingly insightful, occasionally misleading, and, more often that not, have been known to cause a chuckle or two. You'll find some of the best, along with a bit of commentary, just below.

"You're not healthy, unless your sleep is healthy."
          -Dr. William Dement, father of sleep medicine
          and inspiration for this website

Funny Sleep Quotes

    "Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor."
      -John Ciardi

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore, and you sleep alone!"
      -Anthony Burgess

    "The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more."
      -Wilson Mizener

Have Your Own?

Can you think of any more good quotes about sleep besides the ones we have below? Your own or another's?

Share them with us and the world!

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

    "I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"
      -Ernest Hemingway

    "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

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

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

    "People who snore always fall asleep first."
      -Unknown Author

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

    "A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting."
      -Terri Guillemets

    "Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep."
      -Albert Camus

Celebratory Quotes About Sleep

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

    "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

    "A well-spent day brings happy sleep."
      -Leonardo da Vinci

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death."
      -Leonardo da Vinci

    "There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled."
      -Edward Lucas

    "Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave 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

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

    "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

    "Now, blessings light on him that first invented sleep!Ê 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.Ê 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

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

    "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

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

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

    "Sleep is the best meditation."
      -Dalai Lama

    "Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep."
      -Mohandas Gandhi

    "Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life."
      -Dr. Rafael Pelayo

Insomnious Quotes About Sleep

"Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking."
      -Clifton Fadiman

    "For me being depressed means you can spend all day in bed, and still not get a good night's rest."
      -Judith Guest

    "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..."
      -William Wordsworth, To Sleep

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

    "It appears that every man's insomnia is as different from his neighbour's as are their daytime hopes and aspirations."
      -F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to."
      -F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "O sleep, O gentle sleep,
    Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
    That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
    And steep my sense in forgetfulness?"
      -William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

    "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

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

Interesting Quotes About Dreams

    "Dreams are real while they last -- can we say more of life?"
      -The sexologist and writer Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)

    "The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened."
      -James Arthur Baldwin

    "For often, when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream."
      -Aristotle

Quotes About Sleep With Commentary

Written by Casey Engelbert, Winter 2010

Many of the world's famous share a certain default appreciation of sleep as the contrast to wakefulness. As one of America's greatest writers, it is no wonder that Ernest Hemingway's ironic commentary on sleep is so humorously accurate:

"I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

        -Ernest Hemingway

Not far off is philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who, in an appropriately pessimistic manner, shares:

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

Meanwhile, George Allen resonates productivity when he says:

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

Thus it seems sleep, for many, is simply a break - the only real way to get away from the tumultuousness of wakefulness.

Celebratory Quotes About Sleep

Others, however, can't sing sleep's praises enough, appreciating the sleep itself rather than the break from wakefulness.

    With an entertaining and forthright description, Irish actor Fionnuala Flannigan once described consciousness itself as "that annoying time between naps."
      -Fionnuala Flannigan

While Hemingway and Allen might value sleep as a means to avoiding or relaxing from the waking world, and Flannigan sees it as the best part of the day, there are also those that value sleep for its ability to enhance the waking lives we lead.

    "Sleep is the chain that ties health and our bodies together."
      -Griff Niblack

Sleep is a necessity, and for some this fact reveals itself in a somewhat dramatic experience. The great American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald comments on the frustrations of insomnia, claiming:

    "The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to."
      -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Funny Sleep Quotes

Still, it would be a huge misconception to think that everyone takes sleep so seriously.

    "I'll sleep when I'm dead," quips Warren Zevon, entertainingly shrugging off the necessity to sleep.
      -Warren Zevon

John Ciardi, apparently an avid supporter of sleeping in, humorously observes:

    "Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor."
      -John Ciardi

Actor Wally Shawn, appearing to perhaps be employed by Starbucks, summarizes:

    "Sleep: a poor substitute for caffeine!"
      -Wally Shawn

And finally, Anthony Burgess has utmost insight into the reality of the experience of the snoring man:

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore, and you sleep alone!"
      -Anthony Burgess


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About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

How This Site Was Made

In 2007 I discovered a guide to website building that would change my life. After learning from it diligently, it would eventually empower me to help Dr. Dement take his life's mission of spreading education about sleep health to the online world. Now, several years later, this site reaches over 100,000 visitors per month and counting.

The results are due in large part to the methods taught in that guide, and they are replicable for others who have knowledge of a subject they would like to share with the masses. I've detailed some of my journey here for those who might be interested.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.