You’re not the only ones tossing and turning at night. If you have trouble sleeping then you have something in common with these celebrities who have sleeping disorders.
Jennifer Aniston is one of America’s favorite “Friends” but did you know the Hollywood star suffers from sleepwalking? Known as somnambulism or “nighttime wandering,” one third of Americans have gone for a walk in their sleep at least once in a lifetime. Aniston spoke about the time she wandered out of the house back when she was married to Brad Pitt. “I sleepwalk. I set off our alarm once. I was outside. The alarm scared the **** out of me and I woke up, and I was out by the pool equipment in the back. I don’t know what I was doing. I heard this yelling because he’s terrified, he hears the alarm and I’m not there!”
For more than 15 years, Shaquille O’Neal has towered over his opponents and dominated the basketball hoop. But it’s hard to suit up and run up and down the court every game without getting a good night’s sleep. The seven foot one NBA superstar has been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Characterized by multiple interruptions in breathing as you sleep often causing you to wake up gasping, sleep apnea can lead to a host of medical problems, O’Neal has been fitted with a continuous positive airway pressure machine to help stabilize his breathing at night.
Jimmy Kimmel holds court on late night television five days a week for those that are up late or have trouble sleeping, little did Kimmel know that he actually suffered from narcolepsy. The funny man would nod off while taking a break from his hosting duties on the game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money.” After being diagnosed with the sleeping disorder, the late night talk show wrote about it on his website. “Truth be told, I’d rather have narcolepsy than not have it. When I get on a flight to Vegas, I’ll fall asleep before the plane takes off and wake up after it’s landed. I’m always very close to sleep.”
Ever try to lay down to go to sleep and your body just won’t cooperate? That’s exactly what Keith Olbermann has to deal with. The former MSNBC host suffers from restless leg syndrome, a condition that causes people to feel such discomfort in their legs that they have an urge to move or stretch even when it’s time for bed. Diagnosed with the disorder, Olbermann resorts to taking medication to quiet his body in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Every night from Monday to Thursday, Jon Stewart entertains his audiences with funny monologues, sketches and celebrity interviews but there’s nothing funny about his restless leg syndrome. It wasn’t until he started seeing commercials by pharmaceutical companies for medication to settle his hyperactive limbs that he realized he had the disorder, what he called “the Jimmy Legs.” Even though the medication helped, he was leery about the side effects and in true fashion, he turned it into a bit on his show.
Heath Ledger was the type of actor to fully immerse himself in his craft. His last two roles were very dark and brooding characters and Ledger, who suffered from insomnia, had even more of an issue sleeping at night. During the filming of “The Dark Knight,” the Australian born star regularly medicated himself to sleep. In January of 2008, the “Brokeback Mountain” star was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. The official cause of death was a drug overdose from an abuse of prescription medication including pills to treat insomnia, anxiety and pain.
Rapper Eminem knows what it’s like to toss and turn and stay awake at night so now when he travels on the road, he’s well prepared. The Detroit artist makes sure to pack tin foil, which he uses to cover up any sunlight that may peak through the windows while he’s trying to sleep. A longtime sufferer from insomnia, the “Monster” rapper tried to medicate himself and it turned into a pill addiction. “I would take a couple of pills and I would be up an hour later and I’d want more,” he said in an interview with “The Rehab Journal.” “Then I’d take more and that would be enough to maybe get me back to sleep for two more hours.”
Comedian Rosie O’Donnell is used to sharing personal details and back in 2007, she revealed that she suffered from sleep apnea. Embarrassed about the issue because of the connection between the sleep disorder and being overweight, O’Donnell always suspected she suffered from it. After undergoing a sleep study, the “A League Of Their Own” star found out she had more than 200 micro-awakenings (waking events that you might not even notice or remember) and stopped breathing for almost 40 seconds in one instance.
Justin Chambers plays a doctor on television and in 2008 the “Grey’s Anatomy” star made the decision to get medical treatment for himself. He checked into psychiatric ward of UCLA’s Medical Center to seek help for his long-term sleep disorder. After suffering night after night without getting more than an hour’s sleep for two months straight, the father of five decided it was time to get help. “It’s an issue that I’ve had for a while,” Chambers told “People” magazine. “It’s a biological sleep disorder. Your mind keeps racing, and your body is tired. It wants to go to sleep, but it can’t.”
Michael Jackson was a pop icon but like many, he suffered from insomnia and couldn’t get a good night’s rest. However, instead of relying on standard medication to alleviate him from the sleep disorder, the pop icon resorted to a much more drastic solution and it cost him his life. Jackson was administered a mixture of powerful sedatives including propofol, an anesthetic used to keep people unconscious during surgery. On June 25, 2009 Jackson didn’t wake from his medically induced slumber and the world mourned one of its biggest stars.
Actress Nastassja Kinski has a love/hate relationship with her bed. Suffering from a mild case of narcolepsy, the German actress has gained a reputation as a party girl because she falls asleep easily and some mistake the disorder as a result of too much of a good time. “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.”
Actress Cheryl Hines has been in the entertainment world for over 20 years. She’s also suffered from insomnia for just as long. Perhaps best known as the wife of Larry David in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Hines suffers from a unique type of the sleep disorder. “At first I wasn’t even aware that I was experiencing insomnia because my issue just wasn’t being unable to fall asleep when I went to bed at night,” she said in a press release. “I was also dealing with waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to get back to sleep.” Her doctor recommended no exercising close to bedtime as well as taking the sleep medication Ambien CR.
Rocker James Mercer suffers from insomnia and sometimes it kicks in at the most inopportune times. But the sleep disorder did come in handy when Mercer was working on an album. In 2007, right before the release of “Wincing The Night Away,” the Shins frontman spoke with MTV News about his bout with insomnia. “It’s something I wrestle with once in a while if I’ve got a stressful situation or something to deal with,” Mercer said, adding that the “nocturnal vibe” of the album was inspired by not being able to sleep and wandering through is neighborhood at night.