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Insomnia Episode

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin, an episode or installment of a TV show, movie series, etc. that deals with a major character having insomnia. The plot almost always revolves around the character and his or her friends trying to find a way to resolve the problem, although sometimes it also revolves around the insomniac character refusing to accept his or her friends' help as they go about something they consider to be of vital importance. If Played for Laughs, expect the insomniac character to race around doing all sorts of crazy things while the other characters get increasingly fed up.


See The Insomniac for a character who is usually suffering from sleeplessness.

Sleep Deprivation is a supertrope. Compare "Getting Ready for Bed" Plot and Sleep Aesop.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • Gintama: In one chapter/episode Kagura is unable to sleep and constantly pesters Gintoki to help her. Desperate to return to his slumber, he reluctantly gives her a few tips but is unsuccessful because she overdoes them all (runs several laps around town when advised to exercise and overeats when given food, making her extremely out of breath or bloated with a Balloon Belly instead of sleepy). By the end of the story, Kagura is finally able to sleep while listening to the radio... however Gintoki no longer can, thanks to a Surprise Creepy story from the radio scaring him.
  • Way of the House Husband: In Chapter 53, Tatsu has difficulty sleeping after watching a paranormal show and tries various methods to help him fall asleep. These methods include counting yakuza and making himself warm milk (which then escalates to him whipping up a whole meal, with the logic that eating a lot of food that helps you sleep = will make him sleepy).

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fan Fic 
  • "Nighty Shut Up!" from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has Calvin unable to sleep when the monsters underneath the bed won't stop partying. He solves it by using the Time Pauser to sleep as much as he wants.
  • Fate/Gamers Only: Comics 076 and 077 involve Rikku trying to sleep and responding to everyone's noisy bickering with snarky statements as she tries to get some rest. Once Caligula arrives, Rikku reaches her Rage Breaking Point and orders El-Melloi II and Tomoe to kill him on the spot.

  • In How to Sleep, an episode of Robert Benchley's "How to..." Faux-To Guide series, he's instructing the audience on how to get a good night's sleep. The Benchley in the video consistently fails. The end of the film cuts back to Benchley the instructor, falling asleep at his desk.

  • Little Critter: Goodnight, Little Critter has Little Sister not being able to sleep and waking up Little Critter about it. Hilarity Ensues as Little Critter tries to get her to go to sleep and succeeds...only to be unable to get to sleep himself!

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: In the third-to-last Season 31 episode, Ernie sleeps over at Big Bird's nest, but can't sleep, so he keeps Gordon up with his endless demands.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba!!: In "Sleep," Muno can't sleep, so his friends sing him a lullaby.
  • Series/Tweenies: "Go to Sleep, Fizz!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures in Wonderland episode "The Bunny Flop" combines this with a Sleep Deprivation plot. The night before the Queen and the White Rabbit are scheduled to appear on a live TV talk show, the White Rabbit is too full of Stage Fright to sleep. The next day he's exhausted and wants to take a nap before the show, but the Queen sends him searching through all of Wonderland for her missing shoe, so he has no time. He ends up dozing through the talk show.
  • 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.
    • "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.
  • LazyTown:
    • episode "Sleepless in Lazy Town" Pixel has been tired lately because he's deprived himself of sleep to play video games all night, until Sportacus tells him that a goods night's sleep every night is another thing needed to stay healthy and be active during the day. When Robbie Rotten gets word of this he deprives Sportacus of all sleep so he has no energy to play in the town's big baseball game.
    • In "Hero For A Day" Robbie is the one dealing with no sleep, which has made him extra cranky and in the mood to cause chaos for all his friends.
  • M*A*S*H
    • In "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde", Hawkeye winds up going 3 days without sleep (lots of casualties plus his own inability to sleep between surgical shifts). He was even ordered to go to bed and responded with "not now, I need a little sleep".
    • In "No Sweat", no-one can get to sleep during an intense heatwave. Charles spends the entire night organising his tax returns, only for someone to helpfully turn on a fan full-blast when he's finally got them sorted. Meanwhile Colonel Potter takes a powerful sleeping pill, so Hilarity Ensues whenever someone tries to wake him up to get something authorised.
  • 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.

  • Paddy McAloon's album I Trawl The Megahertz was written while he was temporarily blinded by surgery and unable to do anything at night but sit and listen to late-night radio call-in shows. The title track is a 22-minute monologue by a woman suffering from insomnia trying to make sense of her life.
  • "Paranoimia" by the Art of Noise features Max Headroom monologuing about trying to get to sleep.

    Video Games 
  • Madison from Heavy Rain suffers from chronic insomnia, which we mainly see in a paranoid delirium episode early in her arc.

    Web Comics 
  • One arc in Because I'm Depressed has Diego completely unable to sleep for over a week. He's only cured of his insomnia after Eve gives him a dose of elephant tranquilizer.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Zimmy doesn't sleep. When infected with the spiders around Zimmy's mind, Jack Hyland also becomes sleepless for a short while, and gets more and more mentally unstable until Zimmy finally removes them.

    Web Animation 
  • The Siblings episode "Don't Sleep, Robby!".

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
  • 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 quail hunting but various things within or outside his house keep him awake.
    • 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.
  • In the Fairly Oddparents episode "Beddy Bye" Timmy becomes angered after falling asleep repeatedly and missing a few big events, so he wishes that the whole town never had to sleep. Things turn out nice at first with everybody staying up to party all night but soon the effects of long-term sleep deprivation kick in for the whole town, which also nearly puts the Sandman out of business because his daytime job is a mattress salesman, and nobody has a use for a mattress when they don't sleep. Also he gets his power from people sleeping so, because no one's sleeping, he's slowly shrinking out of existence.
  • Beat Bugs
    • In "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," Buzz, after hearing a Ghost Story about a Bug Zapper, can't go to sleep.
    • In "I'm So Tired," Jay can't get to sleep because of the loud noise coming from a neighbor bug who's trying to add-on to his house at night due to his family multiplying as insects often will do. The neighbor constructs at night because there's the sweeping, working, washing, etc. to keep up with during the day. Jay's loud activities to keep himself distracted create a chain reaction keeping the other Beat Bugs awake. They decide to try to solve the problem by working themselves during the day to construct the add-on, but Buzz keeps falling asleep on the spot while they're trying to work, Crick is driving a crane tired, and Kumi can barely stay awake either.
  • Bali has "I'm Not Scared" and it's no surprise that Bali can't get to sleep when he has to listen to the sound of a noisy truck outside, his little sister crying loudly (because of the truck), his neighbor playing the saxophone and a horse neighing on television elsewhere in the house among other things.
  • The Dragons: Riders of Berk episode "The Longest Day" features the characters going on without sleep because of the annual midnight sun, a time where the sun does not set for 2 whole weeks. Each of the characters are shown to suffer a variety of symptoms brought on by this.
  • In the ChalkZone episode "Asleep at the Chalk", Rudy sneaks into the night-time part of Chalk Zone to avoid having to go to bed at night. Eventually the effects of sleep deprivation kick in leading Rudy to make some careless choices that start causing harm for the residents of Chalk Zone, so Snap has to work to get him safely back home.
  • Little Princess has the episode "I Don't Want to Go to Bed", in which the Princess cannot sleep, due to first not feeling tired, then being thirsty, then needing to pee, then believing there's a monster in her room, then being lonely, then being kept awake by the maid's snoring.
  • The Manly Bee has "Bad Dream Machine", all thanks to the villain using the titular machine to wake everybody up in the middle of the night.


Video Example(s):


"The Longest Day"

The Midnight Sun is an annual two-week long astronomical event where the sun does not set. The perpetual day time is driving the vikings bonkers to varying degrees from a lack of sleep.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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Main / InsomniaEpisode