“I think it’s 100 per cent John. Being tired was one of his themes; he wrote ‘I’m Only Sleeping.’ I think we were all pretty tired but he chose to write about it.” – Paul McCartney
Being a Beatle was, to be sure, exhausting. John Lennon in particular found the constant stream of attention to his every waking moment (and sometimes to his sleeping moments) tortuous. From “There’s a Place” to “Help” to “I’m Only Sleeping” to “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Lennon consistently looked for escapes from the pressures of being a Beatle, of being John Lennon. One might note that Lennon sought solace from having failed to beware of the old adage “Be careful what you wish for.” Being at “the toppermost of the poppermost” was, he found, a mixed blessing.
The song itself is one of that large number of tunes that he, Paul, and George composed during their retreat in Rishikesh, India, studying transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While some of the songs such as “Dear Prudence” and “Julia” were playful or serious expressions of Lennon’s kindness and love, “I’m So Tired” and “Yer Blues” were examples of Lennon crying in the wilderness – literally.