Without a doubt, sleep is a vital part of living. It’s the sweet escape from the day’s hustle and bustle and allows our minds to relax.
Sleep has been a source of inspiration for many artists throughout history. Songs serve as lullabies to soothe a restless mind or as an exploration of the subconscious that we enter when we close our eyes.
Today, we have compiled 31 of the best songs about sleep and falling asleep. They help bridge the gap between reality and dreams, creating a soundscape that resonates with our innermost feelings and thoughts. So what are we waiting for? Read on to know more.
1. “Asleep” By The Smiths
Up first is The Smiths‘ “Asleep,” a deeply emotional ballad released in 1986. It uses sleep as a metaphor for escape and peace.
The raw lyrics, penned by the band’s frontman Morrissey, evoke a sense of yearning for release from life’s struggles. The narrator pleads, “Sing me to sleep, I’m tired and I, I want to go to bed.” These lyrics suggest a deep level of exhaustion, not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.
The song also carries an undercurrent of despair and loneliness. To the point that the narrator expresses a desire to not “wake up on my own anymore.”
2. “How Do You Sleep?” By Sam Smith
Sometimes, sleep can be used as an emotional metaphor, as is the case with Sam Smith‘s “How Do You Sleep?” The title is a rhetorical question aimed at the person who caused the pain.
Released in 2019, the song does not refer to physical sleep or rest. Rather, it talks about the emotional turmoil that the narrator experiences after a relationship ends. In this case, “sleep” is used to question how the other person can find peace after breaking his heart.
Despite the upbeat rhythm, “How Do You Sleep” carries a heavy emotional weight. It reflects the inner turmoil that often accompanies the end of a relationship.
3. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” By Beastie Boys
The high-energy song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by Beastie Boys is about the band’s non-stop and tireless touring and other events. Here, the song uses the concept of sleep in a metaphorical way to convey the band’s relentless drive and determination.
In the context of the song, sleep is symbolic of rest, which the band is foregoing in pursuit of their goals. The Beastie Boys paint a picture of their touring lifestyle, characterized by constant travel, performances, and partying.
But while the song reflects how exhausting their life was, it also highlights their determination. They were determined to keep going and not rest until they went back to their home base of Brooklyn.
4. “I Guess I Should Go To Sleep” By Jack White
In “I Guess I Should Go to Sleep,” Jack White uses the concept of sleep to express emotional turmoil and restlessness. It’s not about literal sleep. Rather, it captures a state of mind where the narrator wrestles with his thoughts.
In the lyrics, we find him dealing with heartbreak and adjusting to his new status. The reference to sleep suggests a desire to escape the pain and loneliness that comes with the breakup. He longs for a respite from the inner turmoil.
In addition, “I Guess I Should Go to Sleep” alludes to a sense of restlessness and insomnia. This further stresses the emotional distress he’s experiencing. His inability to sleep represents the struggle to find peace despite the heartache.
5. “You Can Sleep While I Drive” By Melissa Etheridge
Sometimes, that perfectly timed out-of-town trip can do wonders to improve a relationship. In “You Can Sleep While I Drive,” Melissa Etheridge urges her lover to skip town and go on a road trip. Here, she uses the concept of sleep to convey trust and intimacy in the relationship.
The song is about a journey, both literal and metaphorical, that two people are embarking on together. The narrator offers to drive while her lover can sleep, knowing he is safe and can trust her.
By telling him, “You can sleep while I drive,” she lets him know that he can relax and leave it to her to navigate their journey.
6. “I Go To Sleep” By The Pretenders
In our next song, “I Go to Sleep” by The Pretenders, the narrator is missing someone who is away or possibly lost. The song uses the concept of sleep as a space for longing, remembrance, and reconnection.
In the lyrics, the act of going to sleep represents a retreat into dreams and memories. It’s a place where the distance between the narrator and their loved one disappears. When sleeping, he feels close to the person he misses.
The recurring line “I go to sleep, sleep, / And imagine that you’re there with me” emphasizes the narrator’s longing and desire to bridge the gap of separation through dreams.
7. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” By Aerosmith
The theme song for the 1998 movie Armageddon, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, highlights the intensity of love. Here, sleep signifies the moments of quiet intimacy that occur when a loved one is at rest.
The narrator does not want to miss even the smallest things, thus foregoing sleep. This indicates an intense affection, where even the simple acts of a loved one sleeping become something worth staying awake for.
In the context of sleep, the song communicates love and devotion, where every moment holds immense value and beauty. The narrator forfeiting sleep encapsulates the sentiment of not wanting to miss a thing.
8. “I’m Only Sleeping” By The Beatles
The English rock band The Beatles released “I’m Only Sleeping” in 1966. The single uses the concept of sleep to express contentment in solitude and the joy of dreaming. Here, sleep is not just about physical rest. Sleep becomes a refuge from the world.
In the song, sleep is a metaphor used to communicate the narrator’s preference for independent thinking and disregard for societal norms. He does not care even if people think he’s lazy just because he’s not “runnin’ everywhere at such a speed” like they are.
In relation to sleep, the song is about embracing solitude and finding contentment in one’s own company. This is a song for people who value their own pace in life.
9. “Talking In Your Sleep” By The Romantics
The 1983 single “Talking in Your Sleep” by The Romantics uses sleep as a metaphor for the revelations of feelings and secrets. Sleep represents a state where one’s guards are down, allowing secrets to surface.
The song is about the narrator listening to his partner’s dreams while she’s asleep. The lines “I hear the secrets that you keep, / When you’re talking in your sleep” suggest that she is confessing her love, which cements her affection for him.
“Talking in Your Sleep” explores the idea of sleep talk, or somniloquy, as a vessel for honesty. It portrays sleep as a time when people can express their true feelings. The narrator then is a silent observer, learning more about his partner’s feelings through sleep talk.
10. “Don’t Wake Me” By Skillet
In 2009, the Christian rock band Skillet released “Don’t Wake Me” from their Awake album. The song uses the concept of sleep to show one’s longing for a lost love.
In the lyrics, sleep serves as an escape from the pain of reality. At the same time, the narrator finds it as a refuge where he can continue to live in the memories of his past relationship.
Moreover, the line “Don’t wake me ’cause I don’t wanna leave this dream” suggests that he prefers to remain in a dream state so that he can still be with his loved one. As such, dreaming becomes a coping mechanism.
11. “I Can’t Sleep” By Clay Walker
Losing a loved one is one of those experiences that will leave you unable to sleep. Clay Walker catches the sentiment perfectly in his 2003 single “I Can’t Sleep.”
The song uses sleep to convey a message of longing and the struggle to adjust to a new life after a breakup. The narrator’s inability to sleep symbolizes the emotional turmoil and restlessness that come with heartbreak.
“I Can’t Sleep” underscores the power of emotions and how they can affect even the most basic human functions, like sleeping. The sleepless nights reflect the narrator’s struggle to cope with loneliness.
12. “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” By The Smithereens
From their debut album, Especially for You, “Behind the Wall of Sleep” was penned by The Smithereens‘s lead singer, Pat DiNizio. The song was inspired by his crush on The Bristol’s bassist Kim Ernst.
In the lyrics, the narrator describes a mysterious and captivating woman who’s out of his reach. Her beauty renders him “halfway paralyzed.” But the only thing he can do at this point is “dream of her behind the wall of sleep.”
In this context, the wall of sleep could represent the barrier between them, which he longs to cross. At the same time, it can refer to a place where he’s free to be with her, something that’s not possible in reality.
13. “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All” By The 5th Dimension
Penned by the English songwriter Tony Macaulay, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” was performed by The 5th Dimension and released in 1972. At its core, the song chronicles the narrator lying awake, consumed by thoughts of an old flame he desires but can’t reach.
Losing sleep over someone you have feelings for is something that many can relate to. In the lyrics, the narrator deals with restlessness and frustration. The line “Last night, I didn’t get to sleep at all” depicts his struggle with insomnia and emotional distress.
In relation to sleep, the song highlights the struggle of dealing with unresolved feelings. It can disrupt one’s peace and routine, like sleeping.
14. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” By Nirvana
Also known as “In the Pines,” “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” was given a fresh spin by Nirvana in 1994. Here, this traditional folk song used sleep as a device to question fidelity and trust in a relationship.
“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” follows the story of a man who discovers his wife cheating on him. Sleep is used as a metaphorical term to find out where the woman has been and with whom. The repeated question — “Where did you sleep last night?” — underscores his suspicion and insecurity.
The song paints a dark picture of jealousy, mistrust, and potential violence in relationships. It uses sleep as the central point of contention and suspicion.
15. “If You Talk In Your Sleep” By Elvis Presley
Released in 1974, “If You Talk in Your Sleep” by Elvis Presley uses sleep-talking to represent deceit and infidelity in a romantic relationship.
As the lyrics reveal, the narrator is harboring an affair with a woman who’s already committed to another man. Thus, he pleads with her to be careful with her words with she’s with her partner, fearing that she might mention his name or reveal their affair.
In relation to sleep, the song explores the fear of secrets being unintentionally revealed during sleep talk. The song also taps into the anxiety that surrounds infidelity and the potential exposure of secrets.
16. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” By Bon Jovi
In a song with “sleep” in the title, Bon Jovi sings about living life to the fullest and not wasting a single moment. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” also explores themes of embracing life, seizing opportunities, and not letting life pass you by.
In the context of sleep, the song suggests that the narrator views sleep as a form of inactivity or a waste of precious time. He’s someone who lives life at a fast pace and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. He’s determined to live life while he’s still breathing and only rest when he’s dead.
Thus, he portrays sleep as something that can wait until the end of his life. For now, he’s going to live life like it’s the weekend, constantly seeking excitement and adventure.
17. “Enter Sandman” By Metallica
The heavy metal band Metallica released “Enter Sandman” in 1991 as the lead single of their self-titled fifth album. Penned by the band’s vocalist, James Hetfield, the song is about a child’s fear and nightmares.
The title refers to the mythical Sandman, a character from Western folklore who sprinkles sand in children’s eyes to bring them to sleep. Sandman brings about fearsome “Dreams of war, dreams of liars, / Dreams of dragon’s fire, / And of things that will bite.”
In essence, “Enter Sandman” paints an unsettling picture of sleep, transforming it from a peaceful state into a land filled with fear and terror. It underscores the power of dreams, where our deepest fears can come to life.
18. “Fear Of Sleep” By The Strokes
Up next is the 2005 single “Fear of Sleep” by The Strokes. This track uses sleep as a metaphor to explore themes of escapism and dissatisfaction with life. Here, the narrator avoids sleep to escape from his thoughts or past.
In the context of sleep, the song portrays it as a state where the narrator is left alone with his thoughts, which can sometimes be terrifying. He seems to fear his introspective state, choosing to stay awake and avoid his inner struggles.
The lines “How did anybody find out where I was?… / I was hiding from the world” suggest his desire for escape, further reinforcing the theme of escapism that sleep can bring.
19. “Sleep All Day” By Jason Mraz
From his album Waiting for My Rocket to Come, “Sleep All Day” by Jason Mraz is all about taking life easy. Here, sleep is used as a metaphor for escapism and avoidance of necessary action.
In relation to sleep, the narrator finds it an escape from everyday life’s pressures and expectations. He chooses to sleep all day, symbolizing his decision to retreat into his own world.
In addition, “Sleep All Day” can also imply a form of non-conformity. He chooses to live on his own terms rather than adhere to societal norms.
20. “Sleep Now In The Fire” By Rage Against The Machine
Our list won’t be complete without our next track from Rage Against the Machine. They released “Sleep Now in the Fire” in 1999 from their album The Battle of Los Angeles.
In this song, with “sleep” in the lyrics, sleep is used metaphorically. It critiques capitalism and the greed inherent in our economic system. Sleep symbolizes complacency, ignorance, and denial of the injustices brought about by the capitalist system.
The title suggests remaining indifferent to these issues or even participating in the system despite being aware of its destructive impact. The song is a wake-up call, urging listeners to take action against the issues.
21. “Sleep To Dream” By Fiona Apple
American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple proves she is a great songwriter in her single “Sleep to Dream.” Released in 1996, the song is about self-empowerment and the courage to move on from an unhealthy relationship.
The use of sleep in the song is metaphorical. It could be interpreted as a state of denial or ignorance of the situation. “Dream,” on the other hand, represents the narrator’s hopes and the strength she finds within herself.
The title indicates that she is choosing to wake up from her metaphorical sleep. She’s choosing to dream or to acknowledge her self-worth.
22. “In Sleep” By Lissie
A song that mentions “sleep” in both the literal and metaphorical ways is up next. Lissie‘s “In Sleep” explores the emotional turmoil that happens during sleep or moments of quiet solitude, particularly after a breakup.
“In Sleep” talks about lying awake at night, which can be interpreted as experiencing insomnia due to emotional distress. Metaphorically, sleep can represent a state of escape from the pain of her waking reality.
The line “I lay awake at night and pray not to see the light of day” suggests that the narrator prefers the refuge that sleep gives her. It is in sleep that she is free from feelings associated with her breakup.
23. “Don’t Wake Me Up” By Chris Brown
The 2012 single “Don’t Wake Me Up” appears in Chris Brown‘s Fortune album. It talks about how the narrator deeply misses a woman from his past.
In the lyrics, he expresses his longing to be with her. He’s still in love with her, but the only way he can be with her is in his dreams. Sleep is a place where they can still be together.
Thus, he implores his listeners not to wake him up, suggesting he prefers to be in a dream state. Sleep serves as an escape where something impossible, like being with his loved one, can still happen.
24. “Who Needs Sleep?” By Barenaked Ladies
Insomniacs can relate to Barenaked Ladies‘ “Who Needs Sleep?” The song perfectly captures insomnia, sung from the perspective of someone going through sleep deprivation. Thus, the line “Who needs sleep?” is a sarcastic question.
The lyrics describe the frustration of lying awake at night, unable to sleep, no matter how hard you try. The narrator laments the effects of lack of sleep, including fatigue, mood swings, and mental fogginess.
In addition, he laments all the activities he misses out on due to exhaustion from lack of adequate sleep. The chorus posing the question suggests that he feels so restless that sleep seems pointless.
25. “I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open” By Dolly Parton
In 1999, country music singer-songwriter Dolly Parton released “I’m Gonna Sleep with One Eye Open” from her album The Grass is Blue. The song uses sleep as a metaphor for trust in a relationship.
Thematically, the lyrics reveal that the narrator discovers her partner’s infidelity. As a result, she will “sleep with one eye open.” This phrase means staying wary or vigilant. She bemoans discovering that while she is “sleeping all my life away,” her partner is being unfaithful.
Here, the act of sleeping symbolizes her innocence about what goes on in her relationship. Her decision to sleep with one eye open signifies a shift from naivety to vigilance, indicating that she won’t be caught off guard again.
26. “Sleepin’ Alone” By Everlast
In Everlast‘s “Sleepin’ Alone,” the narrator finds himself regretting losing his lover and wishing they could get back together. In this song, sleep is used to express feelings of loneliness and longing following their breakup.
In the context of sleep, the act of sleeping alone signifies the absence of an intimate partner and the emotional void left by her departure. The narrator feels a deep sense of loss and yearning for reconnection despite knowing he’ll never get her back again.
In essence, “Sleepin’ Alone” explores the theme of loneliness and the struggle of coming to terms with a painful breakup. It uses the act of sleeping alone as a symbol for this personal journey.
27. “Sleeping In” By The Postal Service
Some people find refuge from the harsh realities of the world in sleeping. This is the idea behind The Postal Service‘s “Sleeping In,” released in 2003.
In the lyrics, the narrator is in a dream-like state where he indulges in a world that seems better than reality. He finds sleep as a form of escapism, choosing to remain in a state of unconsciousness to avoid confronting real-life problems and issues.
He also yearns for comfort and relief — no matter how temporary — in dreams, away from the hardships faced in waking life. The phrase “sleeping in” denotes a sense of refusal to adhere to societal expectations, choosing instead to remain in a comfortable state.
28. “I Should Probably Go To Bed” By Dan + Shay
In writing “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” country-pop duo Dan + Shay wanted to write about a situation where someone fights with temptation and ends up defenseless.
In the case of the song, the temptation comes in the form of a person the narrator can’t keep himself away from. They have broken up and live separate lives, but upon learning she is back in town, he still contemplates reconnecting with her.
Going to bed early represents his decision to step away from a situation that can lead to regrettable actions, specifically, rekindling a past relationship.
29. “Can’t Sleep Love” By Pentatonix
From Pentatonix‘s eponymous fourth studio album comes the 2015 single “Can’t Sleep Love.” It refers to a deep, fulfilling love that keeps one up all night.
In the lyrics, the narrator expresses his disappointment with superficial attractions. He yearns for a meaningful love that is so profound and captivating that it keeps him awake. This “can’t sleep love” represents an intense and consuming love that occupies his mind incessantly.
In the context of sleep, the song portrays it as a state that can only be reached when the narrator finds the love he looks for. The phrase “can’t sleep love” becomes a powerful metaphor for the quest for a meaningful romantic connection that satisfies completely.
30. “Sleep Without You” By Brett Young
The 2017 single “Sleep Without You” by Brett Young carries a relatable narrative. It uses sleep as a metaphor for longing and the emotional dependence one might have on their partner.
The title itself suggests the narrator’s struggle to find rest when his lover is not around. In the song, his woman is somewhere having a fun time with her girlfriends while he is left at home waiting for her to come back.
The song highlights how he is unable to sleep without his partner by his side, indicating the depth of his attachment and the extent of the void he feels in her absence. He spends the night waiting for her to come home, showing his inability to find peace or comfort without her.
31. “I Don’t Like To Sleep Alone” By Paul Anka
Finally, we’re at the end of our list with Paul Anka‘s “I Don’t Like to Sleep Alone.” The track was released in 1975 from the album Times of Your Life.
Thematically, the song uses the concept of sleep to express a deep sense of loneliness and a longing for companionship. In the context of sleep, the song delves into the emotional discomfort and solitude the narrator feels when he has to sleep alone.
The lyrics convey his desire for a woman to be with him, not wanting to end the day alone but rather in her company. The act of sleeping alone is seen as an undesirable state, reflecting the human need for connection and closeness.
Summing Up Our List Of Sleep Songs
As we’ve seen from the list above, sleep in music is a universal and relatable theme. The metaphorical use of sleep allowed the artists to explore complex feelings and situations in an understandable way.
Whether it’s the restlessness of yearning for love or the discomfort of sleeping without a loved one, these songs showed us the multifaceted nature of human experiences.
We hope you have enjoyed the collection of songs we prepared today. If you want to see other sleep songs on our list, let us know, and we’ll add them for you.