Looking for one word that would describe someone that works so hard that he doesn't sleep. Now, i thought of sleepless and restless but it doesn't fit the description. I was wondering if there was another word besides workaholic.Someone that will be willing to sacrifice sleep to reach their goals.

  • You mean one who refuses to sleep? Who is not able to sleep? Who has restriction from sleeping, enforced by somebody else? Workaholic seemed the closest match, but you ruled that away. Insomniac? Sleep-walker?
    – virolino
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 14:21
  • @Web: what would any sane person refuse to sleep, as a rule? I understand making some exceptional efforts in some cases - pressing delivery of a project, emergency situation... But I am not aware that words exist for those situations. Heroes maybe? But that is not related to sleeping...
    – virolino
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 14:34
  • @virolino: Someone that is willing to sleep less to achieve a goal. I thought of unrestful without being to sure of that meaning.
    – Lonesome
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 14:39
  • Welcome to ELL. Clarifications should be added to your question instead of being left in the comments. If one person is wondering what you mean, there are probably other people that didn’t bother to leave a comment.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:26
  • 1
    Someone who puts their work ahead of rest or sleep is called tireless. Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:24

4 Answers 4


This is not a single word, but there is the idiom "burning the candle at both ends" that means to work very long hours, including into the night and/or beginning early in the morning. Note that you can either "burn the candle..." or "burn your candle...." There's no difference between using the definite article or the possessive pronoun.

Implicit in this idiom is the idea that it's bad for your physical or mental health. Just like a candle will literally burn out faster if you do suspend it by the middle and light both ends, a person will also figuratively burn out if they burn their candle at both ends for too long. They will likely end up collapsing from mental or physical exhaustion.


That person is called a workaholic (both noun and adjective).

Someone to whom work is more important than sleep, eating etc.


It's not a single word, but often someone who is working so hard they don't have time to sleep is said "to be pulling an all-nighter."

"Have you seen Susan in the dorm tonight?"

"No, she has a project due in the morning and is pulling an all-nighter in the library."

Workaholic is usually reserved for someone who works too much, and doesn't necessarily imply a lack of sleep, merely that they're giving up something, be it sleep, social activities, or whatever else.

  • This describes the situation where someone is making up for not working at all, let alone working too hard. Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:15
  • I disagree. At my university we used the phrase to describe a situation in which someone was working through the night, regardless of the circumstances that led to it. Even at my current workplace on the other side of the country, every once in a while a team will have to work through the night (after a full workday) to get some mission-critical thing working an we describe the team as having had to pull an all-nighter. Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:23
  • The question implies that someone is working hard continually, not to meet one emergency. Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:27


Maybe he works hard because he can't sleep.

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