I have become quite an expert over the years surviving on little sleep. From nights mis-spent in my youth staggering home in the early hours, having a cat nap then layering on the touche eclat to drag myself into work bright and early a few hours later. Then having kids, the sleep deprivation really kicks in, especially with newborn twins on hourly feeds through the night! I have personally witnessed my hubby wind the dog at 3am in a confused fatigued state!
But now my social life is a bit more civilised and the children generally stay asleep at night, why is it that I have suddenly started to develop insomina?
Having children has turned me into a light sleeper as I always have one ear tuned on the kids, so it doesn’t take much to disturb my slumber these days but its the getting back to sleep I really struggle with.
Firstly, I make the mistake of looking at the time then calculating how little sleep I have until my alarm goes off. Then for some sick punishment my mind goes into overdrive and I can’t possibly nod back off until I have obsessed over varied random memories.
Did I make the right decisions in life? Was I too unhealthy in my younger years? Should I have taken that promotion at the job I did 10 years ago? Why did I go out with the wrong guy for so many years? Why why why do I have to worry about these things at 2am?
Then I start making mental lists, must play more board games with the kids, must be a more cheerful Mum and Stepford type wife, am going to buy a slow cooker and make my own nutritious soups…. sleep sleep sleep…. but my brain has not finished yet, even though with a quick glance at the clock I now have exactly 3 hours and 37 minutes till my alarm, I must worry about the effects of global warming and promise to make more effort to take my fruit juice cartons to the recycling bin at Sainsburys.
I must get back to sleep but I’m a bit wired from my brainstorm session and my arms feel like they’ve grown in length, I can’t seem to bend them behind my head and if I lay my head on the pillow my heartbeat is really loud in my ear. Right, get a grip, meditate, assume yoga pose, deep breaths, imagine you’re laying on a beach hearing the sounds of waves…. oh great now I need a wee!
Back to bed, have found a comfortable position, hubby has ceased snoring, have 2 hours and 51 minutes till alarm. Need a sleep remedy, a friend once told me to elevate one arm until you can’t hold it up anymore and it should make me feel so exhausted I shall fall asleep, I try this… ouch now I have pins and needles.. Right, I will close my eyes and not allow myself to open them for any reason until sleep is inevitable, or maybe I’ll just open one eye slightly just for a second so I can check that I now have 2 hours and 16 minutes till my alarm!
Am I alone in this? I know I’m not, lots of people suffer from insomnia, but when you are in that zone it can feel incredibly lonely, the street outside is dark and quiet, everyone is asleep other than me.
Then hubby’s alarm goes off, 2 hours before mine because he is on an early shift, he gets up groaning with the realisation that his shuteye is over, I snuggle down under the quilt now feeling smug that mine isn’t and fall immediately to sleep.