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Sleep

  • His sleep was a sensuous gluttony of oblivion.

  • Sleep is death without the responsibility.

  • Why, he wondered, did people who had been asleep always want to make out that they were extremely wide-awake?

  • ... Father's snoring grows to sound increasingly like a vacuum cleaner in heat.

  • There is no innocent sleep so innocent as sleep shared between a woman and a child, the little breath hurrying beside the longer, as a child's foot runs.

  • ... if night comes without thee / She is more cruel than day.

  • Buloz sleeps at the opera as comfortably as in his own bed. People tread on his coat-tails, they step on his hat, on his feet. He awakes long enough to exclaim, 'Good Lord!' then goes back to sleep again.

    • George Sand,
    • 1834, in Marie Jenney Howe, ed., The Intimate Journal of George Sand ()
  • How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.

  • Mr. Goodwin was filled with the profound bitterness found only in an insomniac contemplating a sleeping fellow human.

  • When Charlotte was around, he woke up as fast and clean as a freshly snapped twig. Now he crawled out of sleep, like a wounded fly climbing out of a sticky cup.

  • Napping is too luxurious, too sybaritic, too unproductive, and it's free; pleasures for which we don't pay make us anxious. Besides, it seems to be a natural inclination. ... Fighting off natural inclinations is a major Puritan virtue, and nothing that feels that good can be respectable.

  • Daytime sleep is a cursed slumber from which one wakes in despair.

  • These three o'clock awakenings when one starts up, imagining that one has a mortal sickness; and indeed this is true. Life is that sickness, and at that cold hour one can realize it.

  • When you get older, you really appreciate sleep. It's the best of both worlds: you get to be alive and unconscious.

  • ... as all clocks need winding, so all human brains and bodies need to be wound up by sleeping.

  • But hers was the pleasant fatigue that comes of work well done. When at night in bed she went over the events of the day, it was with a modest yet certain satisfaction at this misunderstanding disentangled, that problem solved, some other help given in time of need. Her good deeds smoothed her pillow.

  • I was kept awake half the night by a rather loud inexperienced nightingale, and finally took a sedative (the first time I've used one).

    • May Sarton,
    • 1947, in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Among the Usual Days ()
  • Sleeping in a bed — it is, apparently, of immense importance. Against those who sleep, from choice or necessity, elsewhere society feels righteously hostile. It is not done. It is disorderly, anarchical.

  • To sleep is an act of faith.

  • Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.

  • Birdeen fainted the way other people took a nap. She wouldn't take a rest of her own free will. Nature gave her a rest by letting her lie down unconscious for a few minutes.

  • ... I lay awake jumping like a newly-killed trout till 5 or six, when out of the dark I suddenly heard the comforting noises of the milk being set down on the door-step.

  • Sleep is replacing sex as that obscure object of desire that inhabits our daydreams — if we still have time for daydreams. ... my richest, deepest, most rewarding fantasies aren't erotic. They're about checking out for hours and hours of glorious uninterrupted sack time.

  • Last night I was bitten all over by mosquitoes while asleep on my charpoy and I'm tormented with itch this evening. Between that and the jackals who are howling like damned souls beyond the garden wall I see no prospect of sleep tonight; unfortunately all the drinking is done before dinner here, so that by bedtime one has sobered up.

  • A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow ...

  • ... he instantly despised his guests for being still asleep, in a rush of that superiority which afflicts all those who are astir earlier than other people.

  • That night no sleep his eyelids prest, / He thought; and thought's a foe to rest ...

    • Hannah More,
    • "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • Blessed be sleep! We are all young then; we are all happy. Then our dead are living.

  • ... she retired to bed, to sleep the sleep of those just persons whose digestions are as strong as their absence of imagination.

  • No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.

  • Rocked in the cradle of the deep, / I lay me down in peace to sleep.

  • Most people spend their lives going to bed when they're not sleepy and getting up when they are!

  • Then I pillowed myself in goodness and slept righteously.

  • ... there are twelve hours in the day, and above fifty in the night ...

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1671, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 2 ()
  • ... I cannot sleep — great joy is as restless as sorrow.

  • Insomnia is only mind over mattress.

    • Jane Ace,
    • in Goodman Ace, The Fine Art of Hypochondria ()
  • Sleeping alone seemed unnatural to me, and pitiful, something done in hospitals or when you're contagious.

  • ... there is not enough interest in life to spread over twenty-four hours when one can't sleep.

  • You lose such a lot of time just sleeping ... when you might just be living! ... It seems such a pity we can't live nights too.

  • The definition of adulthood is that you want to sleep.

    • Paula Poundstone,
    • in Howard J. Bennett, The Doctor's Book of Humorous Quotations ()
  • I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark.

  • Sleeping alone, except under doctor's orders, does much harm. Children will tell you how lonely it is sleeping alone. If possible you should always sleep with someone you love. You both recharge your mutual batteries free of charge.

  • To wake in the night: be wide awake in an instant, with all your faculties on edge: to wake, and be under compulsion to set in, night for night, at the same point, knowing from grim experience, that the demons awaiting you have each to be grappled with in turn, no single one of them left unthrown, before you can win through to the peace that is utter exhaustion.

  • In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.

  • [Sleep is] ... that provisional tomb where the living exile sighs, weeps, fights and succumbs, and is born again, remembering nothing, with the day.

  • ... 'laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.'

    • Mrs. Patrick Campbell,
    • letter to George Bernard Shaw (1912), in Alan Dent, ed., Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell ()
  • Days were the units which mattered most, being divided from each other by the astounding phenomenon of losing and regaining consciousness. (How brave, how trustful people are, to dare to go to sleep!)

  • A nap is not to be confused with sleeping. We sleep to recharge our bodies. We nap to care for our souls. When we nap, we are resting our eyes while our imaginations soar. Getting ready for the next round. Sorting, sifting, separating the profound from the profane, the possible from the improbable. Rehearsing our acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, our surprise on receiving the MacArthur genius award. This requires a prone position. If we're lucky, we might drift off, but we won't drift far. Just far enough to ransom our creativity from chaos.

  • ... the more naps you take, the more awakenings you experience.

  • ... sleep in whenever you can. Go to bed early every night for as long as you need to. Sleep throughout the weekends. Take naps whenever possible. Relish sleep. Luxuriate in it. Grow in it. Expand in it. You need it.

  • Sleep was her fetish, panacea and art.

  • All who live to a good old age have a genius for sleep.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1881, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • There is always time for a nap.

  • Sleep is a thin white hand laid along me in the darkness.

  • I did not sleep. I never do when I am over-happy, over-unhappy or in bed with a strange man.

  • Sophia resorted to the simplest means of flight available in cases of great distress: she fell asleep.

  • The talk we had last night kept me from sleeping, but I do not complain; there are moments when sleep is a misfortune.

    • Juliette Drouet,
    • 1837, in Louis Gimbaud, ed., The Love Letters of Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo ()
  • Early risers are conceited in the morning, and stupid in the afternoon.

  • I had forgotten what sleep is like — a kingdom all its own.

  • If you would teach me the secret you yourself employ, Sire, for getting by on so little sleep, I would be most grateful, because in the end the seven hours that I waste sleeping seem far too many to me.

    • Virginia Galilei,
    • in Dava Sobel., trans., Letters to Father: Suor Maria Celeste to Galileo, 1623-1633 ()
  • Bed is too small to rest my tiredness. / I'll take a hill for pillow, soft with trees. / Now draw the clouds up tight beneath my chin. / God, blow the moon out, please.

    • Elizabeth Coatsworth,
    • "Bed Is Too Small," in Marjorie Barrows, ed., One Thousand Beautiful Things ()
  • Others may woo thee, Sleep; so will not I. / Dear is each minute of my conscious breath, / Hard fate, that, ere the time be come to die, / Myself, to live, must nightly mimic death.

    • Mary E. Coleridge,
    • "Sleep" (1890), in Theresa Whistler, ed., The Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge ()
  • Good news doesn't come at four in the morning. For those unlucky enough to lie wakeful, that silent predawn black is a lonesome place. Worries nibble at the mind. Old regrets come home to roost. As sleep eludes, just beyond grasp, every minute stretches. The clock ticks. Fears that would seem foolish by day take hold of the imagination, and grow.

  • If I had slept, I should not know so well / The poets ...

  • Thou 'llt stay, 'till kinder Death supplys thy place, / The surer Friend, tho' with the harsher face.

    • Anne Finch,
    • "An Invocation to Sleep," Miscellany Poems, Written by a Lady ()
  • Naps are nature's way of reminding you that life is nice — like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity.

  • Sleep always eluded the pursuer.

  • I catnap now and then ... but I think while I nap, so it's not a waste of time.

  • Sleep is the new sex.

  • He sleeps, as he puts it, like a spy on the run.

  • There's no doubt in my mind that sleep deprivation is the hidden number one cause of arguments and cybersex. I'm convinced that countless good relationships end and bad ones begin because of chronic fatigue. Never make a major decision until after you've taken a nap.

  • I don't trust these insomniacs. They sleep a lot more than they think they do.

  • ... sleep on your troubles ... there's good advice in the pillow.

  • Being certain I would die in my sleep, I used to knock on my parents' door at 4 a.m. and announce my heart had stopped beating. They always assured me I was both alive and unpopular.

    • Hayley Mills,
    • in Jane Wilkie, Confessions of an Ex-Fan Magazine Writer ()
  • When every inch of the world is known, sleep may be the only wilderness that we have left.

  • Sleep and waking states are like separate countries with a common border. We cross over twice daily, remembering one world and forgetting the other, inadvertently tracking invisible residues from one into the other.

  • ... our waking and sleeping lives require and inform each other, whether we like it or not.

  • One of the cruelties of insomnia is that the effort to escape ensures its failure because there's a part of our brains that keeps checking to see if we are accomplishing our aims, thereby keeping us awake.

  • Sleep carries us into and out of life, but in between, it seems to abandon us.

  • Much as we might want to domesticate our slumber, sleep is both wild and indigenous to this planet.

  • Sleep is the new sex.

  • Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.