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Famous Insomniacs

If you suffer from insomnia, don't worry, you are in good company. Some significant figures in history have suffered from insomnia, from great leaders to renowned artists. There are plenty of famous insomniacs from the world of show business too. The following is a list of some well known insomniacs, many of whom were successful despite, or perhaps partly because, of their insomnia.

Marilyn Monroe

The troubled film star was a regular insomniac and frequently took sleeping pills in order to get to sleep. Over the years, her insomnia grew steadily worse until her death, supposedly from an overdose of sleeping tablets.

Vincent Van Gogh

Vang Gogh preferred to treat his insomnia himself. The artist's remedy involved a strong dose of camphor applied to his mattress and pillow, which whilst possible helping him sleep was also steadily poisoning him.


Napolean Bonaparte built an empire on a few hours of sleep at a time. The 'Little Emperor' suffered so frequently from insomnia, rarely sleeping more than 4 hours a night, that he simply learned to live with the condition.

Judy Garland

Addicted to diet pills (amphetamines) from a young age, Judy Garland would sometimes be awake for days on end. To counter the effects of the speed, she would take sleeping pills, a dangerous combination that no doubt contributed to her eventual death.

Margaret Thatcher

The redoubtable British Prime minister was famous for only needing 4 or less hours of sleep a night. Some speculate that her motto 'sleep is for wimps', was in fact a cover for insomnia, a condition might be seen as a weakness in a leader.

Groucho Marx

Marx's insomnia started following the stock market crash of 1929 in which he lost a small fortune. To ease the symptoms of insomnia, Groucho would call strangers up in the dead of night and insult them. This site does not recommend this activity as a cure for insomnia. Remember, in Groucho's day, there was no caller ID!

More Famous Insomniacs:

Benjamin Franklin
Carey Grant
Catherine The Great
Charles Dickens
Thomas Edison
Marcel Proust
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