Kim Cattrell Compares Her Sleep Disorder to ‘Being Pinned Down by a 3-Ton Gorilla’

Kim Cattrall is an actor who is best known for playing the independent and free-spirited Samantha Jones on Sex and the City. Cattrall was already a veteran actor by the time she was cast in the hit HBO show, but the series provided her with a career renaissance—and for many viewers, Cattrall was the best thing about the groundbreaking show. These days, Cattrall is firmly focused on other projects and has left the role of Samantha behind her, but she remains an inspiration for many women, especially in the transparent way that she discusses her struggles. 

Actress Kim Cattrall
Actress Kim Cattrall | Francois Durand/Getty Images

Kim Cattrall has been open about her struggle with insomnia

Cattrall might be the picture of health and vitality, but behind the scenes, the actor has struggled with an ongoing health condition that has caused her a lot of stress and frustration. In 2016, Cattrall sat down for an interview with BBC Radio, speaking out publicly about her years-long battle with chronic insomnia. Cattrall noted that her insomnia often felt like “being pinned down by a 3-ton gorilla,” pointing out that the press often misunderstood the illness that she was struggling with. In fact, Cattrall said “everyone assumed I had cancer.”

Cattrall’s insomnia has interfered with her professional life on several occasions. In 2015, Cattrall was forced to withdraw from a title role in a play at London’s Royal Court, according to BBC News, when her insomnia became too difficult to bear.

“I didn’t want to let down the audience, the theatre, playwright or the actors,” she revealed in her BBC Radio interview. The actor noted that she doesn’t let any negative buzz from the press affect her decision to prioritize her health and wellness, saying “I have my own voice on social media, where I can say: if you’re interested in what really happened, the whole story is more complex than being a disease of the week, than someone saying, ‘I have this battle.'”

What causes insomnia?

Cattrall is far from the only person who experiences severe insomnia. According to the Sleep Foundation, insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects as many as 35% of adults. People who have insomnia can have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping as long as they like into the morning. Additionally, insomnia can manifest differently from person to person and can present as a short-term issue or a chronic problem, one that lasts three months or more.

Causes of insomnia vary. Some common causes of insomnia include stress, poor sleeping habits, mental health disorders like anxiety, neurological problems, and other sleep disorders. Insomnia is also very common amongst pregnant women and teens. The Sleep Foundation recommends trying various things at home to alleviate insomnia, such as cutting back on caffeine, reducing screen time and electronic device use before bed, and creating a more calming environment in your sleep space. 

Other celebrities who struggle with insomnia

Several celebrities have gone on the record about their battle with insomnia, in addition to Kim Cattrall. Everyday Health reports that superstar singer Mariah Carey has spoken out about her occasional struggle with insomnia and sleep disorders, noting that she has problems falling asleep, especially during times of extreme stress. Jennifer Aniston, the actor well known for the series Friends, has described her insomnia as feeling like “a committee in my head.” 

Actor Christina Applegate has also been open about her problems with insomnia, with Everyday Health noting that she has had to grapple with the effects of the sleep disorder for over 20 years. She combats her insomnia by working with her doctor to determine her sleep triggers and how to properly manage them.

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