Matthew Perry Once Opened up on His Fear of Falling Asleep: ‘Something Creeps in’

Friends star Matthew Perry occasionally spoke about his bad relationship with sleep years before his death. At the time, the actor had a foreboding feeling of a good night’s rest that used to keep him awake.

Matthew Perry didn’t know how to get rid of his insomnia

Matthew Perry at the CBS, CW And Showtime 2015 Summer TCA Party at Pacific Design Center.
Matthew Perry | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Perry had been very open about many of the internal battles he experienced over the years. He’s been candid about his challenges with addiction, for instance, which he felt started with alcoholism at the age of 14. He also developed an addiction to painkillers and opiates as well, leading to many medical and sometimes even mental issues. He didn’t remember filming three seasons of Friends due to his condition.


But Perry also once had issues with insomnia.

“I’ve bought really comfortable bedding, I light candles to create a relaxing atmosphere and put on calming music to play while brushing my teeth,” Perry said according to Irish Examiner. “But none of these rituals work. It’s hard to turn my head off and when I try to go to sleep, something creeps in, a little fear, I think.”

In an interview with Variety, Perry pinpointed Friends as a potential source for his insomnia. Although some fans clamored for a possible reunion episode of the series, it was an idea that kept Perry up at night.

“I have this recurring nightmare – I’m not kidding about this. When I’m asleep, I have this nightmare that we do Friends again and nobody cares,” Perry said. “We do a whole series, we come back, and nobody cares about it. So if anybody asks me, I’m gonna say no. The thing is: We ended on such a high. We can’t beat it. Why would we go and do it again?”

Matthew Perry couldn’t help fall asleep while shooting a ‘Friends’ scene

Perry’s battle with addiction even interfered with his work in the popular 90s sitcom. He delved deeper into his troubles in his book Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. There, he gave a brief glimpse into how his addiction nearly interfered with his work, and what rescued him.

“The addiction ravaged me — one time, in a scene in the coffeehouse when I’m dressed in a suit, I fell asleep right there on the couch,” Perry once wrote according to Insider. “Disaster was averted only when Matt LeBlanc nudged me awake right before my line; no one noticed, but I knew how close I’d come.”

His co-star Jennifer Aniston was another Friends castmate who offered Perry a shoulder to lean on during his time of need.

“She was the one who reached out the most,” he said. “I’m really grateful to her for that.”

All in all, Perry credited the Friends show itself for helping him through this trying period in his life.

“They were understanding, and they were patient. It could be said that [doing the show] saved me,” Perry once said in an interview with Today.

Matthew Perry once shared how ‘Friends’ changed him

Friends didn’t just help Perry through his addiction troubles. Rather, Perry thought the series helped change him as a whole. According to the Irish Examiner, Perry wasn’t always the most pleasant to be around on television sets. But Friends gave him the attitude adjustment he felt that he needed.

“In the past I would kind of almost get upset if somebody else was getting a laugh – you know, and as a result I was on some of the worst television shows in history,” Perry said. “So I remember this time growing up a little bit and just being so happy that everybody was bringing something new to the table.”

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