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Sleepless in Hollywood: Celebrities with sleep disorders

Filed in
  • Movies
  • television
  • pop culture

Patrick Murray  |  Nov 16, 2012
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So, you have sleep problems. You’re not alone. About 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems. Even many celebrities have had to face the reality of dealing with a sleep illness.

When Rosie O’Donnell was on The View, she talked about her diagnosis of sleep apneaO’Donnell said that she had been turning and snoring like a buzz saw in bed, so she felt it was time she figured out the cause. O’Donnell said that she didn’t know that she had sleep apnea, but she had suspicions and a home sleep apnea test confirmed her suspicions.

Some other celebrities that have admitted to battling sleep apnea include Shaquille O’Neal, Regis Philbin, Roseanne Barr and Daniel Lawrence Whitney, better known as comedian Larry The Cable Guy.

Lady Gaga and Madonna are often compared to one another and both have admitted battling insomnia.

George Clooney has also freely admitted to dealing with insomnia. During an interview with the Hollywood Reporter the actor admitted that he wakes multiple times a night and loathes going to bed without the TV on. “Turning off the television causes me to think, and once I start that vision roaring, I have a very tough time getting to sleep. With the flickering screen, I'm able to numb out. Even then, without question, I wake every night five times.”

Jimmy Kimmel has been very open about his struggles with narcolepsy. He told Esquire magazine that he had no idea he had the sleep illness, but “I did know that every afternoon between about three and six, I would get very tired for no reason. I would doze off in meetings, watching TV, even driving. You know how when you're regular tired, your whole body is tired? With narcolepsy, just the inside of your head is tired. It's like somebody's gently sitting on your brain. You have almost no focus. All you're thinking about is not falling asleep.


  1. 1 Mary Ellen Bavaro 23 Jan
    To the medical  researchers & professionals above & reading this article: Please don't give up on trying to find better treatment options for OSA than the Cpap. Even tho I am on a very lightweight, non-obstructive mask (the smallest & best one I have ever used), my light-sleeper of a mother in the room next store insists that my snoring wakes her up regularly!? More research & definitely more public/patient education is needed! Thank you, Mary Ellen Bavaro, Ed.M., College Connections, Plymouth, MA.
  2. 2 Glen Xenos Williams 11 Jan
    sadly this isnt my original field
    thanks to my girlfriend  having RLS ive decided to study in this area
    by title i am a zoologist, but i have seen larger breeds of animals with these symptoms in which case is very treatable.
    shock therapy to the nervous system can counter act this particular disease for a good time period 
    temporary solution, still looking for a permanent solution
  3. 3 Rick Tufts 07 Aug
    I became a nutritionist specializing in sleep problems as a result of an 18 year battle with sleep problems which I finally won. My approach to sleep issues focuses on nutrition , exercise and allergies. In the case of sleep apnea I focus specifically on weight loss and an internal cleanse/detox. One client had asthma and sleep apnea. We were able to eliminate both conditions. Most people would be surprised at some of the issues that can cause sleep problems, some of which I have never seen referenced.