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Friends co-star and film actress Jennifer Aniston is rumored to have repeated incidents of sleepwalking, technically known as somnambulism or “nighttime wandering.” She discussed how her sleep walking scared her then husband Brad Pitt:
“I sleepwalk. Set off our alarm once. I was outside…and I was out by the pool equipment in the back. Don’t know what I was doing. I heard this yelling because he’s terrified, he hears the alarm and I’m not there!”
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), one of the most well-studied sleep disorders, is characterised by multiple interruptions in breathing as you sleep, often causing you to wake up gasping. Retired basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal has been diagnosed with the condition. He was even featured in a sleep apnea video created by the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. To counter his sleep disorder, he uses a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help stabilise his breathing at night.
Comic and late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel rose to celebrity despite the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which causes sufferers to feel intensely sleepy during the day and fall asleep unexpectedly at irregular times. He once told The New York Times that the spontaneous “naps” caused by narcolepsy were “not the best way to make people feel good about their material.”
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Kimmel said:
“I have a pretty mild case with no other symptoms. Some narcoleptics experience cataplexy, which is limpness in the arms and legs. I don’t have that. I’d like to, though. It sounds great.”
The singer has taken to Twitter on multiple occasions, sending messages that she’s having trouble sleeping. After completing a world tour in 2011, she tweeted “Suddenly all the silence is being drowned by my thoughts! No sleep” and later started adding #GOtoSLEEPRobyn to some of her tweets.
She also recently added “Why can’t I ****ing sleep??? It’s been almost 3 whole weeks of none or 3 hrs MAX every single night!”Although she has been snapped looking anything but tired at the Met Gala in New York, it appears the lack of sleep is taking its toll.
And she adds: “I don’t even have a ‘fun’ excuse!”
Rosie O’Donnell was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2007, and she discussed her sleep problems on The View. “I didn’t know that I had it, but I suspected.”
O’Donnell added that she had been a little embarrassed about the issue because of the well-known connection between sleep apnea and excess weight. Her polysomnogram revealed she had 200+ micro-awakenings a night and once stopped breathing for 40 seconds. After diagnosis, she used a CPAP machine and said she felt better the very next night. O’Donnell also recently survived a heart attack, which is related with a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
Thomas Edison is rumoured to have worked and slept in alternating fits and starts, sleeping only four hours a night and often taking power naps during the day. This lifestyle of napping, working, and sleeping in short spurts multiple times a day is sometimes referred to as polyphasic sleep. Other notables who followed a similar pattern are Leonardo DaVinci, Nikola Tesla, and Napoleon.
And if we actually take a look at the history of sleep, we'll see that these types of sleep patters used to be a lot more popular. This is especially true if we look at the period before the Industrial Revolution.
Actress Nastassja Kinski has a love/hate relationship with what she has called a mild case of narcolepsy. “I have a real problem sleeping properly,” she told the British newspaper The Telegraph in an interview.
“Though sometimes it’s interesting to be really tired because, creatively, you think of things you wouldn’t otherwise. But it’s dangerous.”
Kinski acknowledged that her occasional passing-out episodes on set add to rumors that she could be a party girl, but she says she actually leads a very clean lifestyle.
There’s no denying the pop star is, at the very least, extremely passionate about what she does. But all that drive has her tossing and turning at night, she told the UK’s OK! Magazine in 2010. “My passion is so strong I can’t sleep — I haven’t slept for three days,” she said. “I lie in bed and try to pray and breathe. I have a very overactive mind. “
Whether or not she really meant she’d been awake for a solid 72 hours or simply didn’t sleep well three nights in a row, sleep deprivation has real consequences. Among the most frightening is a decrease in reaction time, which, if you’re driving, could prove deadly.
After adopting her son, Louis, the Oscar-winning actress drastically cut down on sleep. She told the UK’s Now Magazine she was surviving on just three hours a night, but that it wasn’t difficult. “I don’t want anyone else to have the pleasure of changing [his] diapers but me,” she said. “There is nothing hard about loving Louis.” That may be true, but Bullock’s extreme sleep deprivation could actually hurt little Louis. Severely skimping on sleep has been linked with a greater risk of making serious mistakes in doctors, police officers, truckers and others in positions that require long hours. To ensure you’re giving little ones the best care, you need to take care of yourself first.
In the interview for Rolling Stone, Madonna adressed her decades long insomnia problem:
“Actually, one of my assistants just found one of my journals from 1991. I'm complaining the same way about not being able to sleep in 1991 as I am right now. Like, some things never change… It started unconsciously, probably when my mother died. And sleep's never been an easy thing for me… If I can get six hours, I can get through the day. But because I want to have a career and also be an attentive mother, I tend to take a lot of breaks and deal with my kids, and then go back to work. In the recording studio, I never finish before 2 a.m., and then I have to get up at 7 a.m. for my kids. So there's a lot of sleep deprivation.”
“You start to go crazy if you don't sleep. But I definitely don’t understand people who sleep 12 hours a day. I see that as the supreme indulgence, people sleeping until noon. How dare they? I never did that when I was a teenager.”
Celebrities also suffer from sleep disorders, maybe even more than common people, due to their busy schedules and hectic lifestyle. Most celebs are reluctant to talk about it, but some of them are quite open about their sleeping troubles. The most frequent disorder among celebrities is the lack of sleep, followed by sleep apnea and various forms of parasomnia, like sleep walking. So, if there's one thing you should take away after reading about these celebrities with sleep disorders it's that no one is guaranteed proper rest!