From the moment we are born, sleep comes high on the agenda of our life. As babies we are rocked and soothed into a sublime state of peacefulness with chubby tummies full of milky goodness.
As parents, we negotiate with tired, grumpy toddlers, recalcitrant children and moody teenagers, to get them into bed for a ‘good night’s sleep’, which we know will not only restore their good mood, it will, by association, restore our sanity into the bargain.
How ironic therefore, that once our offspring have flown the nest, and we could enjoy our own good night’s sleep, undisturbed by colicky babies, children with nightmares, and noisy teenagers, the insomnia fairy comes calling and like an unwelcome guest at a party, simply will not leave!
If you have trouble sleeping, no doubt you’ve had the same sage advice as me, to follow something called sleep hygiene. A nice warm bath, a milky drink, turn off your technology and get into the routine of winding down before you get into bed. Follow the rules and you’ll sleep like a baby.
Except you probably won’t.
Are you like me, is this what happens next? Your thoughts suddenly go into overdrive, then you get a quaintly called, ear worm that plays you a random song. Yes, I’ve endured many a Godly hymn on a loop at a fairly ungodly hour!
Then it’s tossing and turning, plumping up the pillows, going to the loo, throwing covers off, doing some deep breathing, counting sheep or stars, and more than likely going to the loo again, just to be on the safe side.
Nothing works, how frustrating it all is.
The experts tell us to distract our minds. Get up, and go into another room. I wonder what you are supposed to do in ‘the other room’.
Remember the ‘ no technology, no screens’ mantra, which rules out watching Emmerdale on catch up, and attempting The Times crossword is probably best avoided too.
I head for the kitchen. Tea and toast is my preferred middle of the night distraction. I laugh in the face of the minuscular shot of caffeine from Yorkshires finest brew, the way I’m feeling it can’t make me feel any worse!
The dog raises his head as the waft of my toast and peanut butter finds his nose, but he’s enjoying a lovely rabbity dream, and carries on snoozing. Let sleeping dogs lie, and all that.
They say the longest hours are just before dawn, but for me, and some of you, I know the longest hours are ALL the hours you are not sleeping!
Around this point, I often wonder what is the most civilised time to emerge from the bedroom to start the day, and what will I do once I get up. It’s too early to start hovering, and I’ve already had my breakfast, hours ago when the moon was still shining.
But on saying a cheery ‘Good Morning’ to your nearest and dearest, and commenting on your disturbed night, isn’t it so annoying when some bright spark says to you. ‘You just think you didn’t sleep, you probably weren’t awake for very long at all’
You mutter in a fairly forceful tone, ‘actually, I was awake all night’, but they never believe you.
Does the insomnia fairy rent a room in your house too?