Sleep. An elusive pursuit for many. Myself included. I’ve learnt so much about the subject over the years, I could write a book on it. But I’m too tired for that.
I’ve never been a good sleeper. It’s only in recent years the idea ‘waking up feeling refreshed’ has entered my psyche. I really hadn’t considered it was how we were meant to feel. I don’t think I’ve EVER felt refreshed after a night’s sleep. Of course, I’m aware some people are able to wake up, immediately get up and say ‘Good Morning’ with a smile. What the hell is that? I didn’t know it was because they’d slept well. I just thought there was something wrong with them.
Why don’t I sleep well? It’s not always been for the same reason, and not always for the most common reasons. Insomniacs are often kept awake due to anxiety. Intrusive thoughts, holding them hostage, usually irrational. Though we’ve all been kept awake by very rational worries; personal, global, the fear that ‘4 Non Blondes’ may never get back together. I don’t lie awake all night worrying about stuff. I’ve got all day to do that.
My insomnia usually stems from a somewhat unusual cause;
I FORGET TO GO TO SLEEP!
Let’s just pause whilst you absorb that fact.
‘But, Lockwood, how can you forget to go to sleep? It’s one of life’s most natural processes. We spend a third of our lives asleep. It’s the time to heal and restore. It’s primordial, innate, built into every living creature’s DNA. Forgetting to sleep is like forgetting to pop your knickers on before you leave the house. It’s instinctive.’
(Well sometimes we’ve been known to put our knickers on inside-out, so this ‘instinctive’ stuff isn’t easy for some of us).
For clarification; I go to bed at a reasonable hour, I’m not a night owl, and I’m definitely not a lark! I actually get off to sleep ok. Initially. Get one good dose of shut-eye in. Until my brain says;
‘Hey, I think that’s enough sleep for now. Let’s wake up and sing George Michael songs.’
Now, I have had a George Michael song stuck in my head for eons. Since before he wrote it, feels like. It’s not even one of my favourites. I’ve tried all the tricks in the book to get rid of it, to no avail. I know all the words off by heart, which now go like this;
‘If you’re looking for fast love..…..No, George, I’m not. We all miss you very much, but can you please just fuck off now.……If that’s love in your eyes.……’
Sorry, I know it doesn’t rhyme.
So, there’s that.
Then, as I said, although I could lie awake worrying about a million and one things, real, imaginary, medical, I actually don’t on the whole. I think things through. I problem solve. I plan. I…….
FORGET TO GO BACK TO SLEEP!
It’s the most ridiculous thing. My head chunters away, and at some point, a brain cell knocks on one of the doors up there and quietly whispers; ‘You know you’re supposed to be asleep, right?’
Yes! Sleep! Let’s do that!
How do I do that?
Next thing I know, I’m deliberating if the First World War could’ve been avoided. Or what I’d look like with eyebrows.
Some of you may suggest meditation. Unfortunately, that involves focusing on breathing. It freaks me out. The biological action of air going into my lungs? I don’t want to think about that stuff thankyouverymuch. The feeling of breathing? I don’t wish to dwell on such matters thankyouverymuch. You may at this point, be marvelling at how I’m alive. Me too, Sweetie. Me too.
If I start to get really frustrated, I know the best thing to do is get up. I have learnt to NEVER look at the time. Like I said, over the years, there’s not a tip, trick or programme I’ve missed regarding insomnia. Though I’ve yet to see any professional touch on the idiotic subject of ‘forgetting to go to sleep’.
So, I get up and have a wander. I suffer with Restless Leg Syndrome. The ONLY time I can be seen to literally jump out of bed. But harbouring madness rather than the joys of Spring. THAT is usually resolvable. A walkabout, some stretchy contortionism, or drugs. I’m very lucky in that respect, but it’s torture whilst you’re lying there hoping it will resolve itself. Even though getting up is what I end up doing, it’s very VERY reluctantly. I love my bed. I don’t love being vertical. It’s never felt quite right somehow.
The idea of getting up is to kind of ‘reset’ myself. Also, what would I do with all that cheese in my fridge if I didn’t get up in the middle of the night to eat it? CHEESE? AT BEDTIME? That’ll give you nightmares, Lockwood! Yes, but you’re forgetting, YOU HAVE TO BE ASLEEP TO HAVE NIGHTMARES! I find the cheese comforting. And my capacity for a nightmare is not based on my diet. It’s based on my diabolical subconscious.
If I get back to bed and continue to forget to sleep, I harness being awake and partake in some online Bingo. With only the night-shifters and other insomniacs to play against, the odds are better, although the payouts are lower. And it stops me wondering if any of the junk in space is going to land on my house, which then leads me to thinking up ways to prevent that ever happening. Then that’s another hour gone.
I do believe I have the ‘Good Night’s Sleep’ chunk of my DNA missing. It’s not the only gap in my genome, so I clearly skipped a day in the lab. Perhaps I over-slept! There’s a big hole where ‘Ambition’ is meant to be and a bridge right over ‘Maternal Instinct’, bypassing it altogether. I have a few links in ‘Sociability’, but the letters are back to front and upside down, rendering it virtually useless. And I’ve always suspected I was genetically modified to ‘Not Know When To Stop Eating Cheese’.
Anyhow, forgetting to sleep is REALLY tiring.
But, I don’t want to bore you with the details Baby,
I don’t even want to waste your time…….