Sleep is an essential part of being alive. Humans need sleep, not just because it’s vital for our bodies, but because it allows our minds to relax.
Additionally, sleep brings dreams. People have been fascinated with sleep for the entirety of human history, and it’s no surprise that there are many beautiful songs about sleep.
“Mr. Sandman” by the Cordettes
Song Year: 1954
Referencing the popular children’s story about a man who puts people to sleep with a particular type of sand, “Mr. Sandman” is about a woman who wants to fall asleep and dream about a handsome man.
She hopes that, like magic, she’ll get a love of her own and won’t be lonely anymore.
“I Went to Sleep” by the Beach Boys
Song Year: 1969
This slow, peaceful song is about a man who took a nap in a park on a sunny day. The melody and voice are soothing and relaxing, adding to the feeling that going to sleep was pleasant and peaceful.
The song describes peaceful things that happened in the park while the man singing chose to go to sleep.
“Sleeping In” by the Postal Service
Song Year: 2003
A fast tempo paired with soft vocals and instrumentals gives this song a complicated feeling. “Sleeping In” talks about how the singer would rather sleep in and dream about the tragedies on the news never occurring.
The singer likes the dream world where life is better and safer, so he wants to sleep a little longer each morning.
“Sleep the Clock Around” by Belle and Sebastian
Song Year: 1998
“Sleep the Clock Around” is about a turbulent youth and a trip of self-discovery. The song talks about trying to find yourself and coming up against struggles along the way.
The song advises that once you’ve made your way through life, learned to stop planning for everything, and let go of your worries, you’ll finally be able to sleep and relax.
“The Music of the Night” by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Song Year: 1987
This song, from the Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera, talks about Christine, who isn’t sure if she’s awake or sleeping.
She has always heard an angel at night in her dreams, and hearing a man claiming to be an angel during the daytime who wants to share the beauty of the night with her leaves her uncertain as to what’s real.
“In Sleep” by Lissie
Song year: 2010
“In Sleep” is a sad song about a woman who lost the man she loved.
She gets to see him in her sleep each night, and it’s a double-edged sword. She doesn’t get any rest because she’s dreaming of him, but she gets to live in her memories of him there.
She doesn’t want to wake up but wants to keep sleeping instead.
“Your New Twin Sized Bed” by Death Cab for Cutie
Song Year: 2008
With his crooning, melancholic voice, Ben Gibbard sings about sleeping on a small bed in this song.
He tells the story of throwing out a larger bed because there will never be another person to share it with.
Sleeping on a twin-sized bed is a loss because it means giving up and accepting life as it is.
“Sleep to Dream” by Fiona Apple
Song Year: 1996
Fiona Apples’s deep raw vocals perfectly tell the story presented in this song. “Sleep to Dream” is about a break-up.
The woman in the song is a practical person, while the guy she was with always had his head in the clouds. Apple claims that she sleeps because she has to, not because she is interested in dreams. She plans on acting, not waiting or hoping.
“If You Talk in Your Sleep” by Elvis Presley
Song year: 1975
This song is about being with a woman in a relationship with another man.
“If You Talk in Your Sleep” is a plea for the woman to be careful to not mention his name in her sleep. Presley sings that they’re in love, but they have a secret to keep, and she must remain inconspicuous if they want to stay together.
“Sleeping on the Roof” by the Flaming Lips
Song Year: 1999
This is the only song on the list without lyrics. But the melody and additional sounds are enough to tell a story on their own.
While the Colorado Symphony plays a soothing yet complex melody, you can hear insects and frogs making their nightly music.
Listening to this song gives the feeling of sleeping outside and hearing the sounds of nature and the city.
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by the Tokens
Song Year: 1961
This famous doo-wop song tells the story of a village with a lion living nearby.
The song promises that the lion is sleeping, so the village will be safe. The singer further promises that the person he loves shouldn’t be afraid because everything will be okay.
“I Go to Sleep” by the Pretenders
Song Year: 1980
Several other singers, including Sia, have covered this song. The crooning song is about a woman who wishes that the person she loved was still with her.
In sleep, she can pretend that he’s close to her. It hurts to realize that he’s not there when she wakes up. She prefers sleeping because it’s the only time she can spend with him.
She doesn’t think anything will ever change because he was the love of her life.
“When You Sleep” by Cake
Song Year: 1998
This song asks about what happens when you sleep. It questions if you dream about the things that happened throughout the day and if how you sleep reflects who you are as a person.
“When You Sleep” talks about several common things, like gardening and going to bars, and wonders if the way your hands move when you sleep shows what you’re doing in your dreams.
“Daysleeper” by R.E.M.
Song Year: 1998
Daysleeper is about having a diurnal sleep pattern due to work. The singer complains that fluorescent lights aren’t the same as sunlight, and the pressures of the stock market aren’t worth having such an odd sleep pattern.
The song talks about how difficult being a night-shifter is and the negative impacts it can place on the body.
“Go to Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)” by Radiohead
Song Year: 2003
This song talks about the monster that many people become when they don’t get enough sleep. Radiohead says that people go crazy if they cannot get enough sleep.
“Go to Sleep” wishes good dreams to all and says that the singer will go to sleep because they need it.
“Ode to Sleep” by Twenty One Pilots
Song Year: 2011
“Ode to Sleep” talks about being unhappy with oneself and having difficulty sleeping because of it.
This song tells the story of a man’s day. While he wakes up refreshed and feels good in the morning, his pleasant mood can never last.
He has guilt and doubts, and when it’s night and he’s left alone with his thoughts, he has difficulty trying to sleep without feeling pain. Despite trying to forgive himself, the singer cannot manage it.
“You Can Sleep While I Drive” by Melissa Etheridge
Song Year: 1989
“You Can Sleep While I Drive” is a song about leaving the past behind. Etheridge begs another person to let her travel with them so that she can get out of the town.
She points out that the other person looks like they want to leave too. She promises to let the other person relax and sleep, just as long as she can leave.
“When You Sleep” by My Bloody Valentine
Song Year: 1991
“When You Sleep” is about an unsteady relationship. The singer doesn’t trust that the person he’s with is being honest all the time, and because of that, he doesn’t sleep long.
However, he notes that the person he’s with doesn’t sleep much either.
The song complains of inconsistency and an inability to find contentment with the situation.
“I Guess I Should Go to Sleep” by Jack White
Song Year: 2012
This indie song with Bluegrass undertones talks about being weary from working hard and not getting anywhere. “I Guess I Should Go to Sleep” talks about taking off one’s shoes and getting some sleep to feel better.
The song says relaxing, even watching T.V., is better than working, but sleep is the best way to destress.
White also sings about feeling disheartened and like he can’t do anything right, but he thinks sleep will help make things feel better.
“Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine
Song Year: 1999
The message of this Nu Metal song is that if you’ve made your bed, you’ve got to lie in it. “Sleep Now in the Fire” talks about greed and disasters and points the finger at those in charge.
This song talks about natural and manmade tragedies and hints that younger generations will understand the problems that past generations caused.
“Enter Sandman” by Metallica
Song Year: 1984
“Enter Sandman” weaves together several customs and stories about sleeping. The song begins by reminding a child to say their prayers before bed and promising the sandman will send them to sleep.
However, the song talks about nightmares instead of pleasant dreams and references Peter Pan taking children to a dream world.
The song contains a partial prayer in the middle but then talks about monsters underneath the bed that the child isn’t safe from.
“Sleep” by My Chemical Romance
Song Year: 2006
“Sleep” is about avoiding problems by going to sleep. However, the song starts by talking about what sleep paralysis feels like.
The song talks about not being worthy of forgiveness and leaving a loved one behind. It suggests that he and the person he loves should sleep instead of focusing on the bad they cannot change.
“I’m Only Sleeping” by the Beatles
Song Year: 1966
This song is a request for a bit more sleep in the morning. After a pleasant dream, the singer wants to return to it.
“I’m Only Sleeping” says that others seem to have a problem with people sleeping too much but says that those people are wrong. Sleeping isn’t laziness; it’s something that makes sense.
The Beatles say that overworking oneself is crazy and unnecessary and that relaxing is a way to make the day better.
“I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
Song Year: 1998
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is a song about sleeping beside the person you love. Aerosmith talks about how small things like warmth, smiles, and heartbeats make watching someone you love worthwhile.
This song claims that going to sleep might make you miss out on enjoying some of your partner’s presence, and because of that, the singer doesn’t want to go to sleep.
“Sleeping on the Blacktop” by Colter Wall
Song Year: 2015
“Sleeping on the Blacktop” is a song about homelessness, and the song is slow and soothing and talks about sleeping in the elements.
The song doesn’t suggest that sleeping outside is a bad thing. Instead, it says that nature and liquor make it enjoyable.
“Asleep” by the Smiths
Song Year: 1986
“Asleep” begs for the ability to escape from the world. The song starts by asking for help falling asleep and then requesting to never be woken up again.
The Smiths sing that they’re tired of being alone and don’t want to wake up anymore.
“Don’t Wake Me” by Skillet
Song Year: 2009
“Don’t Wake Me” is about a man who went to sleep dreaming about someone he loves. His dreams feel real; they’re the only thing he has left of the person, so he doesn’t want to wake up.
He begs to be left to sleep because he knows he’ll never get a chance to earn his lost love again. He doesn’t want to dream about how it ended, just about how happy he was for a time.
“In Dreams” by Roy Orbison
Song Year: 1963
“In Dreams” is a song about a man who had a woman break up with him. Every night, he hopes that when he sleeps, he’ll have good dreams, and he does because they’re about her.
However, when the morning comes, he’s alone and sad because he knows he’ll only ever have what he wants when asleep.
“Sleepin’ Alone” by Everlast
Song Year: 2004
“Sleepin’ Alone” is about a man who wants to get back together with the girl who left him. He had planned to marry her, but he didn’t treat her very well, and she left with a very expensive ring.
He doesn’t care about the lost money, but he hates sleeping alone and misses their companionship.
“Nine” by Sleeping At Last
Song Year: 2019
“Nine” is about living life as if you’re asleep. The song talks about losing time due to never connecting with the world and sleepwalking everywhere instead of living.
As depressing as it sounds, the song ends on a hopeful note, saying that being brave and learning to accept all of your emotions can heal your heart from any injury.
“Fear of Sleep” by the Strokes
Song Year: 2006
“Fear of Sleep” is about being afraid of not accomplishing enough. This song talks about not being finished and wishing sleep could wait longer.
However, it never works, and the singer keeps needing to sleep. The song says that going to sleep isn’t fun, and he needs to do a lot.
“Who Needs Sleep” by Barenaked Ladies
Song Year: 1998
“Who Needs Sleep” is about a guy who is trying to convince himself that he doesn’t need sleep because he has insomnia and can’t manage to fall asleep.
The person who used to sleep in bed with him died, and he can’t sleep alone. He tries to sleep, but as much as he wants to, he can’t. He compares himself to others and tries to rationalize his pain away.
He decides the little sleep he manages to get will have to be enough.
“I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open” by Dolly Parton
Song Year: 1999
“I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open” is about a woman who learns that her man is cheating on her.
He sneaks out of their bed at night to meet other women, and now that she knows, she promises she’s going to sleep lightly so he won’t be able to do it again.
She feels determined that she won’t make cheating on her easy anymore.
“How Do You Sleep” by Sam Smith
Song Year: 2019
“How Do You Sleep” is a song about a man who learns that his woman is cheating on him. He wants to leave her, but he has trouble letting everything go.
He wants to know if she’s guilty, and he asks how she can sleep so easily when she’s been keeping the truth from him.
“Dream a Little Dream Of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Song Year: 1950
“Dream a Little Dream Of Me” is a song about saying goodnight after a date before going to sleep.
Fitzgerald and Armstrong sing about thinking about each other before bed after parting ways, and Fitzgerald says she hopes that when he sleeps, he’ll be dreaming about her.
Top Songs About Fallinng Asleep, Final Thoughts
Sometimes, sleep is restful, a place where you can escape, or a way to let go of burdens. Due to these facts, there are many songs about sleep.
This list doesn’t have all songs about sleep, but it does have some of the best ones.