15 Best Songs About Insomnia

The stillness of the night often awakens intense emotions and contemplations, inspiring songwriters to capture their nocturnal musings in music.

Exploring the realm of tunes that resonate with the wakefulness of the wee hours, our article delves into the poignant and often beautiful stories these melodies tell.

They provide comfort, assuring us that our struggles with the relentless passage of time are shared.

We have curated a list of 15 exceptional songs that articulate the theme of insomnia and restless nights. Spanning genres and periods, each song offers a distinct take on the experience of sleeplessness. Continue reading to discover their stories.

Can music help you sleep better?

Yes, music can indeed help you sleep better. Many people find that listening to calming and soothing music before bedtime or while they’re trying to fall asleep can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Here are a few ways in which music can be beneficial for sleep:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Listening to slow-tempo music with a gentle melody can help calm your mind and reduce stress and anxiety levels. It can distract you from racing thoughts and create a more peaceful state of mind, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Induces relaxation: Soft and soothing music can have a relaxing effect on the body and mind. It can slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and relax tense muscles, preparing your body for sleep.
  • Blocks out external noises: If you live in a noisy environment or have trouble ignoring background sounds, playing music can help mask disruptive noises and create a more peaceful sleep environment.
  • Establishes a bedtime routine: Using music as part of your bedtime routine can signal your body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. 

When using music to aid sleep, it’s important to choose the right type of music that suits your personal preferences and promotes relaxation. Generally, slow and instrumental pieces, such as classical music, ambient music, nature sounds, or gentle instrumental tracks specifically designed for sleep, tend to be effective choices.

15 Best Songs About Insomnia

1. “Wide Awake” By Audioslave

Audioslave’s “Wide Awake” strikes a chord with its audience by delving into themes that go beyond the personal struggle with sleeplessness. The song cleverly uses the state of being ‘wide awake’ as a powerful metaphor for social consciousness.

Rather than discussing the battle with insomnia, it casts a critical glance at the socio-political scene, particularly focusing on the negligent handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis in 2005. Lyrics such as “You can look a hurricane right in the eye / twelve hundred people dead or left to die” serve as a sharp critique of the government’s inadequate response to the disaster’s severity.

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By positioning themselves as being fully alert to the harsh truths of those times, Audioslave communicates a strong sentiment of vigilance. The song is a stirring anthem that calls for awareness and responsibility, prompting its listeners to remain aware and actively question the efficacy of their leaders’ actions.

2. “Insomnia” by Megadeth

The weight of guilt and past regrets can disrupt the calm of the night, a sentiment masterfully captured by Megadeth in their song, “Insomnia.”

The central figure in this track grapples with a haunting history, one he has attempted to bury and move beyond. Yet, his conscience refuses to grant him peace, as through the solitude of nightfall, he is plagued by a relentless sense of paranoia and weariness.

“Insomnia” resonates deeply with listeners who have been ensnared by the thorns of their past indiscretions. It’s all too common to become entangled in our own errors, wallowing in them until they impede our progress and steal our sleep.

3. “Insomnia” By Daya

American songstress Daya breathes fresh life into the trope of restlessness with her hit “Insomnia.” In this track, she uses the metaphor of insomnia to depict the inner chaos of yearning for someone so deeply it chases sleep away.

Throughout the song, the protagonist battles with sleepless nights, her mind in a relentless loop of thoughts about her beloved. Daya delivers these piercing emotions through her passionate voice and evocative words, unveiling the raw tenderness of such a state.

Coupled with its infectious rhythm and memorable hook, “Insomnia” seizes listeners with its tale of love’s potent ability to unsettle our nights. The track strikes a chord, echoing the heartfelt and widely shared experiences of longing unrest.

4. “Sleep To Dream” By Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple masterfully spins a potent narrative of self-liberation in her song “Sleep to Dream.” Here, sleep and dreaming are not referenced as symbols of insomnia’s restive nature, but rather as metaphors for self-sufficiency and breaking free from a harmful relationship.

The song brims with genuine emotion and vigorous statements of independence. Lyrics like “I’ve got my feet on the ground / and I don’t go to sleep to dream” declare a firm commitment to facing life’s brutal truths instead of finding refuge in deceptive daydreams.

“Sleep to Dream” stands as a powerful anthem of personal liberation. It serves as a rallying cry for anyone entangled in the throes of a toxic relationship, igniting a spark of recognition in the profound inner strength we all possess to rewrite our own stories and reclaim our innate value.

5. “Sleeping Sickness” By City And Colour

City and Colour, the artistic moniker of Canadian troubadour Dallas Green, explores the restless depths of insomnia in his evocative number “Sleeping Sickness.”

The title misleadingly suggests a physical ailment, but the song is, in essence, a lyrical exploration of the psychological and emotional strife that prowls in the stillness of the night, denying one the solace of sleep.

Through poignant lyrics, Green probes into the psyche, exposing how our inner specters can deprive us of tranquility. The haunting refrain, “Someone come and someone come and save my life,” echoes the desperate longing for rescue or a transformative force, resonating with anyone who has ever felt besieged by the night’s silent introspection.

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6. “How Do You Sleep?” By Sam Smith

Heartache and deception often pave the way to endless nights of restlessness, a pain all too familiar to Sam Smith in their 2019 lament, “How Do You Sleep?”

Confrontational yet vulnerable, Smith inquires, “How do you sleep when you lie to me?” This accusation mirrors their strife with dishonesty, stirring a whirlwind of internal chaos that translates into a metaphorical state of insomnia.

Fundamentally, the song transcends literal sleeplessness, plumbing the depths of ’emotional insomnia’ that afflicts many in times of sorrow. With its moving narrative, “How Do You Sleep?” captures the unsettling dance of our emotions and their power to fragment our inner calm, rendering sleep a distant dream.

7. “Insomnia” by Faithless

A hallmark of ’90s dance music, “Insomnia” by Faithless has become an anthem for night-dwellers worldwide. Maxi Jazz’s hypnotic spoken-word delivery over a pulsating beat captures the frustration and energy of lying awake, unable to sleep.

The electronic instrumentation emulates the looping thoughts that haunt the mind during hours meant for slumber. Their refrain, “I can’t get no sleep,” has echoed through the years, resonating with anyone who’s ever felt the grip of restless nights.

8. “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars

In “Talking to the Moon,” Bruno Mars serenades the night with a soulful ballad about loneliness and seeking connection.

The emotional track from his debut album showcases Mars’ vocal prowess as he croons about confiding in the moon, evoking images of an insomniac’s soliloquy to the stars.

The singer’s yearning for a lost loved one is accentuated by the delicate piano accompaniment, making it a heart-wrenching ode to those long, silent hours devoid of sleep.

9. “Awake” by Godsmack

“Awake” by Godsmack offers a heavier take on the theme of sleeplessness, channeling the frustration and agitation that can come with incessant wakefulness.

The hard rock grit and aggressive guitar riffs underscore the energy and defiance that characterize the song’s tone. Sully Erna’s gravelly vocals invoke the rebellious spirit of someone who has embraced their insomnia, turning it into a source of raw power and determination.

10. “Sleeping With The Television On” By Billy Joel

With his distinctive narrative style, Billy Joel tells an intriguing story in the song “Sleeping with the Television On.” The track explores themes of insomnia, albeit indirectly, through a story about Diane, a woman who keeps the world at a distance.

Joel illustrates Diane’s life of seclusion, highlighting how she opts to immerse herself in the TV’s glow rather than face her underlying issues. “Sleeping with the Television On” tiptoes around the subject of sleeplessness, not addressing it head-on.

Yet, it adeptly captures the essence of nights filled with introspection, a resonance familiar to those who battle with insomnia. The song is a tribute to the silent wakefulness where the mind becomes a stage for ceaseless thoughts and contemplations.

11. “You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)” by The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s iconic 1981 album, “Beauty and the Beat,” features the track “You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep),” which delves into the struggles of insomnia. Throughout the song, the narrator describes restlessness and the failure of sleeping pills to provide any solace.

As the song reaches its conclusion, it becomes apparent that the narrator is reflecting on their own sleepless nights, culminating with the repeated admission, “I can’t sleep.”

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12. “Good Morning Blues” by Leadbelly

In this time-honored blues track released by Leadbelly in 1940, the story told is one of sleeplessness stemming from a case of the blues or a downcast mood.

Leadbelly’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of tossing and turning with restlessness, as he sings, “Now, you lay down at night / You roll from one side of the bed to the other all / Night long / Ya can’t sleep, what’s the matter? The blues has gotcha.”

13. “Sleepyhead” By Passion Pit

Passion Pit left a lasting impression on the music scene with “Sleepyhead,” their breakout debut single, which graced both their initial EP, “Chunk of Change,” and their first full-length album.
“Sleepyhead” interprets the concept of sleep deprivation as a metaphor for themes of escapism and the challenges of overpowering emotions.

Lyrics such as “And you said it was like fire around the brim … / burning thin the burning rim” convey the image of a mind on the verge of exhaustion, struggling to retreat into the comfort of sleep, yet remaining relentlessly awake and alert.

The track adeptly portrays the internal battle of trying to slip away from troubling emotions by falling asleep, a conflict resonating deeply with those familiar with insomnia.

14. “I’m So Tired” by The Beatles

John Lennon’s “I’m So Tired,” penned during The Beatles’ sojourn in India, serves as an unguarded account of his personal insomnia and mental strife, finding its place within the legendary White Album.

This song offers an authentic depiction of the repercussions of sleeplessness, which include both corporeal lethargy and emotional strain.

Lennon’s vocals deliver a tangible sense of exhaustion, paired with a sparse musical backdrop that accentuates the song’s sense of closeness and exposed emotion. The lyrics sway between a desperation for slumber and an obsessive preoccupation with a love that remains elusive, crafting an intimate portrait of an insomniac’s struggle.

15. “Sound-A-Sleep” by Blondie

Blondie’s 1979 tune “Sound-A-Sleep,” featured on their album “Eat to the Beat,” touches upon the topic of insomnia with a personal take. The vocalist expresses a deep longing for sleep but is continually thwarted by her inability to attain it due to her rapid heartbeat.

The lyrics, “Insomnia, no sleep disease / Petties parking, feed me please / Lie and wait for sleep and listen / To your heart beat too fast for sleep,” illustrate the struggle of lying in anticipation of sleep while being acutely aware of an accelerating heartbeat, a common predicament for those struggling to find rest.

Throughout the song, the desire for sleep is palpable, yet it’s the persistent quickening pulse that hinders the tranquility of night.

Conclusion

Sleep and its myriad themes indeed encompass a profound trove of artistic expression within music. From the deep ache for a bygone affection and the arduous battle with sleeplessness to the celebration of life’s dynamism and the quest for serenity in dreams, music has captured a spectrum of human sentiments linked to our encounters with sleep.

Whether it’s a search for reprieve from the tiresome wakefulness or a wish to seize life in wakeful splendor, music serves as a cathartic channel for introspection and emotional exploration. With its profound capacity to summon intense feelings and forge an emotional bond, music remains a potent vehicle for self-discovery and for articulating our deepest ruminations.

Your journey through the musical narrative of sleep-related themes has hopefully provided valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of rest. Music, rich with its diverse themes and provocations, acts as an insightful compass guiding us towards a deeper comprehension of our own nature and the articulation of our innermost yearnings.

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