10 Insomnia Quotes That Will Make You Feel VALIDATED

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Insomnia can be an isolating experience. You’re alone with your thoughts in the middle of the night, and regular sleepers fail to understand the toll it takes on your mental, emotional, and physical health. So my dear insomniac, here are a few insomnia quotes that will hopefully make you feel heard, understood, and validated.

[Insomnia] is like a three-ton gorilla sitting on my chest. He was neither attacking me nor particularly demanding of my attention.

Kim Cattrall – actor

Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrell described insomnia quite well here. Just as this insomnia quote implies, the sleep disorder creates an almost unimaginable heaviness that weighs on you without even having to acknowledge its existence. It’s just there, waiting for you in the deep recesses of your mind before you go to sleep. 

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, lock in it

Tennessee Williams – playwright

This isn’t a direct insomnia quote, but Williams exemplifies the mental prison we get locked into with insomnia. We want others to understand, and to sleep normally like others, but we just can’t. And a lot of the time, we don’t even know why we don’t sleep. We look out our windows during the quietest hours of the night, looking for other signs of life just to feel less alone. Our minds are churning, and there is no one around to reach out their hand and tell us we’ll be ok. No one is there to save you but yourself. 

Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture

Emil Cioran – philosopher

When you’re exceptionally sleep deprived, you understand how it’s an almost out of body experience. Just like Cioran described, it feels like you have a lucid vertigo as you make your way through another day without nearly enough sleep. Even ‘better’ yet, insomnia puts a negative filter on every facet of life. There’s truly not one thing insomnia doesn’t touch and it makes all realms (relationships, jobs, school, etc.) so much more difficult to manage.

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

Clifton Fadiman – editor, anthologist, and writer 

Insomnia is a vicious cycle that feeds itself on absolutely anything it wants. Have you ever tried to meditate as an insomniac? You try to clear your mind of thoughts, only to find yourself wide awake at night. Or have you tried thinking of literally anything else to keep your mind off of not sleeping? Yet there’s this little electrical impulse that lights up in the back of your mind that says, I know you won’t sleep. It doesn’t matter what we do – the off switch for brains is broken.

It’s useless to play lullabies for those who cannot sleep

John Cage, composer and philosopher

How many times has someone said to you, “just take melatonin!”, “stop drinking coffee”, or “get some sunshine”. They might as well tell you to just sing a lullaby to yourself. Most insomnia ‘advice’ is utterly useless because curing it is so much more than a simple fix. 

I’m losing the ability to think clearly. Words are harder to remember without sleep. I can’t grasp, hold on to ideas, thoughts, even tasks. They’re slipping away from me.

Kim Cattrall – actor

Another insomnia quote from Ms. Cattrell that resonates. With insomnia, it’s like you’re existing in this weird purgatory where your mind is unable to do, think, or say anything clearly yet it’s still awake and refuses to rest. It feels like you’re walking through a haze, and it’s near impossible to do anything to your full potential. Kim would know- she had to pull out of a play from the London Royal Court Theatre because of insomnia.

“With insomnia, you’re never really awake; but you’re never really asleep.”

With insomnia, you’re never really awake; but you’re never really asleep.

Chuck Palahniuk, novelist

Fight club is full of insomnia quotes so if you ever need a book to read or movie to watch to feel less alone, this would be it. Author Chuck Palahniuk describes the haze of insomnia perfectly here. That you never feel good, and just sort of float through life. Existing. 

…the waking brain races, sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to settle, to join the collective nod. The insomniac brain is a sort of conspiracy theorist…as though if it were to blink, then doze, the world might be overrun by some encroaching calamity, which its obsessive musings are somehow fending off.

Jonathan Lethem, novelist

It feels as if your brain has a mind of its own with insomnia. You want so badly to sleep but it’s like an overactive kid that won’t calm down. And when it finally does rest, it still stands guard. Waiting to wake, play, touch and cause chaos again. 

Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.

C. H. Spurgeon – preacher

Another quote that isn’t directly about insomnia, but it applies no less. Insomniacs stress about their lack of sleep, but being anxious about it never works. Ask any hardened insomniac – spending time worrying about sleep doesn’t make you get a better sleep the following night. The worry just causes you to enjoy today a lot less. 

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…live in the question

Rainer Maria Rilke, poet and novelist

For the final quote, an offer of hope. Insomnia stems from being out of touch with some part of yourself. There is something that you are not honouring or acknowledging in yourself. Remain curious about your lack of sleep.

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