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- A Scrooge McDuck comic had him unable to sleep after overseas travel due to jet lag. He eventually manages to make himself fall asleep, and wakes up in the morning... only to find out that he's been asleep all day, and it's actually evening of the next day.
- On The Big Bang Theory, in one episode Sheldon is unable to sleep as long as he's left a specific science problem, one he's having a lot of trouble with, unsolved. Over the course of the episode he steals peas, then makes diagrams with marbles, and when those are not big enough he breaks into a generic Chuck E Cheese type place to use the balls from the ball pit. Bernadette tells him he would probably be able to solve it if he wasn't so sleep-deprived, but he doesn't listen.
- A later episode, "The Anxiety Optimization", has a similar plot, with Sheldon raising his anxiety levels in an attempt to optimize his performance. Again, he ends up sleep deprived and hallucinating about armadillos.
- On an episode of The Big Comfy Couch Loonette talks about the previous night where she and Molly barely slept since, as she put it, their brains were so excited and couldn't stop thinking to go to sleep. They go out to explore the house at night and think about why they must sleep. Later on Granny goes to tell them that you need sleep every night to relax and stay healthy, and encourages her to go to bed early.
- In one episode of Family Ties, Alex is unable to sleep, even when his family offers various ways that usually help them sleep.
- On one episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sarah is put in a sleep ward when she has been unable to sleep for two straight weeks. Subverted when at the end of the episode we find out that the sleep ward plotline was All Just a Dream, which she was having while being held captive by a man she had shot earlier in the series, although it is hinted that she was still having sleep problems before this.
- There is an episode of Two and a Half Men where Alan has trouble sleeping and visits a psychologist to hilarious effect and it's revealed that because Alan is resentful of Charlie for having such an easy life and how he almost never suffers, Alan can't sleep. By the end of the episode, Alan can sleep again because he got his wish of seeing Charlie suffer.
- The aptly titled Emergency! episode "Insomnia", where John just can't get to sleep during a run of night shifts, and becomes convinced he'll be able to sleep after they get a nighttime call. At the end of the episode, the station does get a nighttime call, but not for the rescue squad. Not to be discouraged, John grabs onto the rear handhold of the leaving fire engine and falls asleep on his feet.
- Friends had an episode titled The One Where They're Up All Night. It's the one where no one sleeps. They start looking at some comet, then Joey and Ross become trapped on the roof, Chandler can't sleep and keeps Monica up, Phoebe is disturbed by a beeping fire alarm and Rachel and Tag went to the office to see whether they had mailed some papers. What a night!
- On M*A*S*H this happened with Hawkeye a few times. He was even ordered to go to bed and responded with "not now, I need a little sleep".
- One episode of Bonanza had Ben Cartwright unable to sleep because of noise around the house including Hoss' snoring, Adam's guitar playing, and Little Joe chasing his girlfriend with a bell, eventually he decides to rent a room in a hotel for the night but finds himself in more predicaments from the guests interrupting him every time he gets to sleep, including an obnoxious drunk, a quarreling newlywed couple, and one man out to kill another for winning all his money in a poker game.
- The O.C.: Ryan in "The Sleeping Beauty".
- Monk once found himself unable to sleep after meeting a woman he couldn't stop thinking about, and not even romantically. After solving the crime of the week, he realizes the woman was the recipient of a cornea transplant and his late wife Trudy was the donor.
- One episode of Empty Nest had Harry unable to sleep due to a recurring nightmare. It takes Barbara's detective skills to figure out the reason for the nightmare.
- Mr. Bean has trouble sleeping one night after being kept awake by everything from motorcycles to cats. His final solution is to count sheep—by using a calculator to figure out how many are seen in a picture.
- Madison from Heavy Rain suffers from chronic insomnia, which we mainly see in a paranoid delirium episode early in her arc.
- The Siblings episode "Don't Sleep, Robby!".
- In Twig Arc 6, Tooth and Nail, Sylvester is so upset by the absence of Jamie that he stays up all night reading Jamie's journals instead of sleeping, as a result getting about five nights of sleep in two weeks time.
- Classic Disney Shorts:
- "How To Sleep", with Goofy unable to sleep, so an Anthropomorphic Personification of Science comes in to help.
- The Donald Duck cartoons "Early To Bed" and "Drip-Drippy Donald". In those cases it isn't that Donald has insomnia as such, it's that external factors (a Bear Trap Bed, a dripping faucet) won't let him sleep.
- The The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "Rock-A-Bye Pooh" had Piglet unable to go to sleep, due to a bad dream that he had where he lost his friends while they were going on a picnic. Pooh, Rabbit, and Tigger then work hard using different methods to try to get Piglet to go back to sleep, but to no success, until a storm blows up to which Piglet's dream does sort of come to reality. Fortunately for him, he's reunited with his friends in the end and he is able to sleep at night again.
- In the Arthur episode "Sleep No More", Buster is picked as one of the contestants to compete in an All-You-Can-Eat Pizza contest, but he finds that he cannot sleep because of pizza-related dreams that continuously plague him. There, he meets up with other contestants who also cannot sleep due to the excitement of the contest. Because of this, the contest is cancelled until everyone can get a good night's sleep.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender, "Nightmares and Daydreams": Aang is troubled by increasingly worse nightmares and ends up staying awake... only he stays up so long he starts hallucinating. The season 2 episode "The Chase" is a lesser example, as the focus of the episode is on the chase that keeps the entire Gaang awake and on the run, but insomnia does take its toll.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show, "Insomniac Ren". Everything from chirping birds to Stimpy's dreams keeps Ren awake.
- Dexter's Laboratory: "Quiet Riot" has Dee Dee trying to help Dexter fall asleep (and, of course, making things worse.) The episode ends with Dexter finally falling asleep... under Dee Dee's bed, keeping HER up all night with his snoring.
- An episode of Home Movies has Coach McGurk suffering from insomnia, and eventually signing up for a program that studies insomnia. Notably doing it long enough will allow him to get a DVD player, so near the end of the episode when he's gotten over it, he's still trying to stay awake.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Inspongiac", has Mr. Krabs ordering SpongeBob to get a good night's sleep for work, but finds himself unable to fall asleep. He asks Patrick for help, who of course makes things worse.
- One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog takes this Up to Eleven by giving the Sandman himself (as in the ruler of all sleep and dreams) insomnia; he's the Lord of Sleep, and isn't able to sleep himself for some reason. (As one of his sheep-like minions says, "Yes, ironic.") After staling Muriel's sleeping sand so that he can sleep, it turns out that the reason he couldn't was because his teddy bear was missing. (No wonder.)
- In one episode of The Smurfs, Gargamel is having terrible insomnia. Eventually, he looks up a sleeping spell in his spellbook, and casts it on himself using a mirror. That works, but it makes him sleepwalk... right into the Smurf Village. Suffice to say, Hilarity Ensues from there.
- In an episode of Cow and Chicken, Chicken accidentally eats a bowl of his dad's coffee-flavored cereal, and ends up going crazy on a three-day caffeine buzz.
- Looney Tunes
- The 1937 short Porky's Badtime Story (later remade as Tick Tock Tuckered) has Porky Pig and Gabby Goat (the latter replaced by Daffy Duck in the remake) trying to get up early so they won't get fired for being late for work. After a hard night of awakenings, they manage to show up for work, only to find that it's closed on Sundays.
- The 1940 short Good Night, Elmer has Elmer Fudd being kept awake by a candlestick flame that won't go out.
- The Woody Woodpecker short The Coo-Coo Bird has Woody trying to get up early for
- Later, the short Sleep Happy has Wally Walrus being kept up by Woody's snoring.
- The House of Mouse short "Hickory Dickory Mickey" has Mickey being kept awake by Goofy's alarm clock.