A doctor analyzes Kafka’s tortured relationship with sleep on ResearchGate.net.

RG: What caused Franz Kafka’s inability to sleep?

Perciaccante: It’s difficult to classify Kafka’s insomnia. To identify possible causes, we have to look at his lifestyle and mental disorders. Kafka deliberately did most of his intellectual work at night. In his diaries, Kafka himself tries to analyze the causes of his insomnia and speculates: “My insomnia only conceals a great fear of death. Perhaps I am afraid that the soul, which in sleep leaves me, will not be able to return.” This hyper-arousal, tendency to worry excessively about sleep, and anxiety suggest that Kafka could have suffered from a psychophysiological insomnia.