20 Songs About Insomnia

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Insomnia has inspired various artworks over the decades and centuries — including songs! Below is a list of 20 great songs about insomnia or the inability to sleep.

Songwriters have written about their insomnia in different ways. So, you’ll see a lot of different types of songs here!

1. “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks is perhaps the greatest song about insomnia. This classic 1964 song was written by The Kinks, though so many other artists, such as Van Halen, have also released their own versions.

“You Really Got Me” follows the narrator as he expresses his attraction for a woman. Because of his love for her, he loses sleep. The band sings, “You got me so I can’t sleep at night”.

2. “Insomnia” by Megadeth

Metal band Megadeth released their song “Insomnia” on their 1999 album Risk. As the title suggests, this song deals with not being able to fall asleep.

Throughout this entire song, the band discusses insomnia. It appears the narrator cannot sleep because of his guilty conscience. The singer says, “Something’s haunting me / The guilty past I’ve buried / My mind won’t let me sleep”.

3. “Insomnia” by Daya

In Daya’s 2019 song “Insomnia”, she discusses how she cannot sleep without her romantic partner in her life. Whether they’re only apart for a night or whether they’ve broken up isn’t clarified. Regardless, Daya faces insomnia when she is not by her partner’s side.

Therefore, this song discusses not being able to sleep because of love!

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

The Go-Go’s released their song “You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)” on their classic 1981 album Beauty and the Beat. In this song, the band discusses how someone cannot sleep, as they keep waking up in fits.

Even if they try to take sleeping pills, nothing seems to work. Toward the end of the song, we learn that the narrator may be talking about themselves, rather than a lover or friend. The band sings, “I can’t sleep” to end the song!

5. “Who Needs Sleep?” by Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies’ 1998 song “Who Needs Sleep?” discusses not being able to sleep all night. The singer discusses how he cannot get a good night’s sleep, as he keeps waking up. However, he also mentions that he knows he doesn’t have it too bad when compared to others.

For example, he sings the lyrics, “Who needs sleep? / Be happy with what you’re getting / There’s a guy who’s been awake / Since the Second World War”.

Later in the song, he also mentions that he can find a lot of positivity and happiness in life. However, he cannot find any good thing about insomnia.

6. “Staying Up” by The Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood released their song “Staying Up” on their 2013 album I Love You. In this song, the singer discusses how he struggles with insomnia. He talks about this inability to sleep while also discussing difficult circumstances from his childhood.

When discussing his insomnia, he sings in the chorus, “How can I sleep if I don’t have dreams? / I just have nightmares”.

7. “I Can’t Sleep” by Martina McBride

Martina McBride’s 1992 song “I Can’t Sleep”, which appears on her album The Time Has Come, discusses losing sleep over someone you love. In this song, McBride admits that she really needs to sleep. However, she cannot because she’s not with the one she loves.

She sings the lyrics, “I can’t sleep for dreaming about you / When you’re gone there’s nothing I can do / But lie awake alone and dream the whole night through”.

Instead of actually sleeping and dreaming, McBride instead is staying awake and daydreaming about the one she loves.

8. “Good Morning Blues” by Leadbelly

In this classic blues song, which Leadbelly originally released back in 1940, the narrator discusses insomnia as a result of the blues or feeling down. Leadbelly 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”.

9. “Peek a Boo” by Daniel Johnston

In Daniel Johnson’s 1982 song “Peek a Boo”, he discusses his bipolar disorder and how this impacts his life in various ways. At the beginning of the song, he talks about how when he feels down and depressed, he struggles to sleep.

He sings the lyrics, “When I’m down, really down / Nothing matters, nothing does / I close my eyes, go to sleep / But I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep”.

Throughout the rest of the song, he dives deeper into his state of mind and past because of his mental illness.

10. “Have You Ever?” by Brandy

Brandy’s 1997 hit song “Have You Ever?” details a romance. Brandy sings about how much she loves someone by asking if you — or, perhaps, the person she loves — have ever felt the same way.

For example, she sings, “Have you ever needed something / So bad you can’t sleep at night”. Here, she talks about how she loves this person so much that she loses sleep over them!

11. “Till Death” by Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast released the song “Till Death” on the 2017 album Soft Sounds From Another Planet. In this song, the singer discusses a romantic relationship while also discussing her life and traumas.

She suffers from insomnia for a variety of reasons, which she mentions here. However, she manages to fall asleep when she has her partner by her side.

She sings the lyrics, “Your voice in the night / Sing me to sleep, soothe this insomnia / Haunted dreams, stages of grief / Repressed memories, anger and bargaining”.

12. “Have a Cuppa Tea” by The Kinks

The Kinks’ 1971 satirical song “Have a Cuppa Tea” is all about how a cup of tea can solve many ailments and problems — including insomnia. In this song, the band consistently says that if you ever feel off or down, Granny’s cup of tea will solve all your issues.

They sing, “Take granny’s stand-by potion / For any old cough or wheeze / It’s a cure for hepatitis, it’s a cure for chronic insomnia / It’s a cure for tonsilitis and for water on the knee”.

13. “Never Get Out of These Blues Alive” by John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker released his song “Never Get Out of These Blues Alive” on his 1972 album of the same name! In this classic song, Hooker sings that he’ll never get out of these blues. He’ll continue to smoke cigarettes and drink black coffee all night long.

He explains, “I started smokin’ cigarettes all night / I can’t sleep, I can’t eat / There is no use of me layin’ down”.

14. “Too Low For Zero” by Elton John

“Too Low For Zero”, Elton John’s 1983 song, also discusses insomnia. John sings, “I’m too low for zero / I’m on a losing streak / I got myself in a bad patch lately / I can’t seem to get much sleep”.

He also discusses his lack of sleep and being tired throughout this song. However, he must still go to work and go about his life — even if he isn’t getting any sleep and suffering from insomnia!

15. “It’s Not Right” by Devo

Devo also discusses lack of sleep in their 1980 song “It’s Not Right”. In this song, the singer discusses learning that his girl is with another and has cheated on him. Obviously, he’s upset about this. In fact, he sings that he can’t sleep until he finds her!

The lyrics say, “I can’t sleep until my baby says it’s over / I gotta hear it face to face”. So, throughout the song, he sings about how heartbroken he is. However, he won’t even consider sleeping until he learns the truth from his girl, face to face!

16. “Snow in San Anselmo” by Van Morrison

In Van Morrison’s 1973 song “Snow in San Anselmo”, Morrison discusses when it snowed for the first time in 30 years in San Anselmo, California. He mentions everything he sees during this time period.

He sings, “And the pancake house is always crowded / Open 24 hours of every day / And if you suffer from insomnia / You can speed your time away”.

17. “Sound-A-Sleep” by Blondie

Insomnia is also talked about in Blondie’s 1979 song “Sound-A-Sleep”, which appears on their album Eat to the Beat. In this song, the singer discusses how much she’d like to sleep. However, she can’t sleep, and her heartbeat is too fast!

She sings, “Insomnia, no sleep disease / Petties parking, feed me please / Lie and wait for sleep and listen / To your heart beat too fast for sleep”.

Throughout this entire song, we learn how much she longs for sleep. However, there are hints here and there that she cannot sleep as she wishes, thanks to her fast heartbeat which keeps her from settling down at night!

18. “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

The Weeknd also references insomnia in his hit 2019 song “Blinding Lights”. Throughout the song, the singer is distracted by a variety of different things, including “Blinding Lights”. However, he does gain safety and becomes calm when he is with the girl he loves.

When he’s not with her, he cannot sleep. He sings, “I said, ooh, I’m blinded by the lights / No, I can’t sleep until I feel your touch”.

19. “No Other Way” by Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson released his song “No Other Way” on his 2005 album In Between Dreams. In this song, Johnson discusses how both he and his partner struggle with insomnia. They want to sleep, but can’t.

He sings, “When your mind is a mess, so is mine, I can’t sleep / ‘Cause it hurts when I think my thoughts aren’t at peace”.

Later in the song, we learn that both he and his partner struggle with a variety of different problems. So, they can’t sleep because they’re questioning the world and their place in it.

20. “Streets” by Doja Cat

Finally, let’s discuss “Streets” by Doja Cat, which also talks about insomnia! In this 2019 song, Doja Cat talks about her relationship. She left this man, though later in the song she returns to him. She says that she realized she just needed space.

During the time these two were apart, Doja Cat struggled. She says, “I can’t sleep no more / In my head, we belong / And I can’t be without you”.