"Daysleeper" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the first single from their eleventh studio album Up on October 12, 1998. Sung from the point of view of a night shift worker corresponding with colleagues, "Daysleeper" focuses on the disorientation of time and circadian rhythm in such a lifestyle, leading to despair and loss of identity. Lead singer Michael Stipe developed the song's concept after noticing a sign reading "daysleeper" on a New York City apartment door.

Single by R.E.M.
from the album Up
ReleasedOctober 12, 1998
GenreAlternative rock
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us"


During R.E.M.'s performance for VH1 Storytellers, Stipe explained the background to the song:

I was in New York, putting together a book of haikus that I worked on with several dear friends of mine over the course of a year, and I was walking down the steps of this building. It was probably four o'clock in the afternoon, and I come to a door—it's apartment 3-D or something—and there's a sign on it that says "Daysleeper," and I walked a lot more carefully, quietly down the steps, thinking about that poor person who's trying to sleep, and me and my big old boots interrupting her sleep. So I wrote this song about a daysleeper that's working an 11–7 shift and how furious the balance is between the life that you live and the work that you have to do in order to support the life that you live.

The song "The Lifting" from R.E.M.'s 2001 album Reveal is a prequel to "Daysleeper" and features the same character.[1]

Music video

The video, shot at Broadway Studios in the Astoria district of New York City in September 1998,[2] was filmed in stop-frame photography to get what Stipe called a "really druggy, really great look."[2] It features Stipe as the office worker who goes to work at night. All three band members then wear pajamas and bed socks, while failing to get to sleep during the day. The video was directed by the Icelandic Snorri brothers. "I think it's about the sort of alien nature of a night shift," explained Mike Mills. "The weird lighting, the fluorescent lights that you find and the isolation of working the graveyard shift—how it screws up your sleep patterns and that sort of thing, and I think that's the main image we're trying to get across."[2]

Track listing

All songs written by Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe.


  1. "Daysleeper" (Single edit) – 3:31
  2. "Emphysema" – 4:21
  3. "Why Not Smile" (Oxford American version) – 2:59

7" & Cassette

  1. "Daysleeper" (Single edit) – 3:31
  2. "Emphysema" – 4:21

UK 3" CD

  1. "Daysleeper" (Single edit) – 3:31
  2. "Sad Professor" (Live in the studio, Toast, San Francisco, California) – 3:58


Chart (1998) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[3] 57
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[4] 17
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[5] 9
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 5
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[7] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 57
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[9] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 64
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[12] 18
Norway (VG-lista)[13] 12
Scotland (OCC)[14] 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 46
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 49
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 57
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[19] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[20] 33
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[21] 18
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[22] 30


  1. As stated by Michael Stipe on Later... with Jools Holland in 2001.
  2. Q, October 1998
  3. Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  4. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  5. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  6. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6987." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  7. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 44. October 31, 1998. p. 8. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  8. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  9. "Íslenski Listinn (20.11–27.11. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). November 20, 1998. p. 12. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  10. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Daysleeper". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  11. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  12. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  13. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper". VG-lista. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  14. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  15. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  16. " – R.E.M. – Daysleeper". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  17. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  18. "R.E.M. Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  19. "R.E.M. Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  20. "R.E.M. Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  21. "R.E.M. Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  22. "R.E.M. Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2013.