Jennifer Aniston Gets Real About Struggling With Insomnia Since The Days She Was Working On Friends

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green on Friends.
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Back in Season 4 of Friends, there was an amusing plotline where Rachel’s sleep kept getting interrupted — first by Joey and Chandler’s chick (who turned out to be a rooster), and then by a guy in the neighboring building who sang “Morning’s here!” every day (even on Saturdays). Rachel’s snapping at Monica when she remarked that Rachel really wasn’t a morning person was pretty hilarious, but Jennifer Aniston’s real-life sleep struggles were no laughing matter. The actress has apparently struggled with insomnia for decades, and she opened up about how lack of sleep affected her day-to-day life.

Jennifer Aniston is well-known for her role as Rachel Green on Friends, but even back then the actress said she was starting to deal with the effects of sleep deprivation. Insomnia, sleepwalking and sleep anxiety plagued her, even though, she told People, it was easier when she was younger to overlook the effects her sleeplessness had:

I think it started somewhere in my 30s or even earlier, but you just don't start to notice the effects of a lack of sleep when we're younger because we're so invincible. It began as something that I would just accept and then all of a sudden you realize the effects of your lack of sleep and how it affects your day and your work and your mind function and your physique.

Jennifer Aniston was 25 when Friends premiered in 1994, so while her character became depressed over the big 3-0 milestone in Season 7, the actress actually celebrated the beginning of her 30s a couple of years earlier and was likely experiencing issues from sleep deprivation even back then. Apparently she didn’t realize at first just how much her mental function was being affected (she also didn’t mention whether or not she — like her co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow — has since forgotten filming much of the iconic sitcom). 

When she was in her 30s, she said, she didn’t prioritize getting a good night’s sleep, but as her struggles continued and got more prevalent with age, she realized her insomnia and other issues didn’t just affect her mental health, but her physical health as well. She explained:

It became something that I really was struggling with. It used to be the last thing on the list, but you can't really abide by the three pillars of health — which are diet, exercise and sleep — if you can't really exercise and you can't really eat right if you haven't slept well because your body clock is so completely thrown off.

Sleep is right there as one of three vital elements to being healthy, along with diet and exercise, Jennifer Aniston pointed out. She even argued that the other two pillars weren’t even possible to uphold without sleep. The Morning Show actress finally sought medical help and through that, her nights have been more restful, she said — especially when it comes to her sleepwalking. 

She encouraged anyone else experiencing the same issues to not put off getting help from a doctor and said she’s also found that implementing a nighttime ritual has helped, as she now takes time to wind down, puts her phone in a different room, and practices yoga or stretching. She did not disclose any helpful tips, however, about what to do if you have a neighbor with a rooster, or someone across the alley breaking into song at the crack of dawn.

Jennifer Aniston just finished filming Murder Mystery 2 with Adam Sandler, and hopefully we’ll soon be getting some news about The Morning Show Season 3. In the meantime, you can always rewatch old episodes of Friends with an HBO Max subscription, and be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon!

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.