Even if you don't suffer from insomnia, apparently enough people do that it has become a common theme in Hollywood. Though some are more accurate portrayals of insomnia and others are more extreme, the film medium has nonetheless served as a way to show effects of insomnia on the human body and mind, even if it is in a fictional manner.


This film starred Al Pacino as Los Angeles homocide detective Will Dormer. He is sent to Alaska to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. The unusual thing about the small Alaska town he travels to is that it is perpetually daytime--that particular time of year, the sun never sets. This is an environmental factor that completely throws off Will's body and sleep schedule. It doesn't help that he accidentally shoots his partner, confusing him for the fleeing murderer. The guilt sets in, and combined with the constant daytime, these two factors completely deprive him of sleep.


Christian Bale plays Trevor Rezknik, a machine worker who hasn't slept in a year. He also doesn't eat and weighs 120 pounds. There is no explanation for his restlessness at the beginning of the movie, but as the plot unravels, Trevor has a dark secret that has been haunting him and filling him with guilt, which in turn has deprived him of sleep and essentially turned him into a paranoid, skeletal, delirious zombie. He's on the brink of insanity. It is an extreme take on insomnia, but the film explores the delusional and paranoid aspects rather well. It blurs the fine line between dreams and reality.


The film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel stars Edward Norton as a bored, restless office employee named Jack who, at one point in the film, says, "With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy." He spends his time drifting from support group meeting to support group meeting even though he isn't an alcoholic or he doesn't suffer from cancer of any sort. With his insomnia, Jack is never really seemingly awake or asleep. He concocts a character named Tyler Durden in his mind, and this may be attributed to his insomnia. He's delusional and rather schizophrenic, imagining that there is this whole separate being that he is talking to and he creates Fight Club to bide his time and to try to fight his chronic insomnia.