Sleepless in Settee


I really can’t handle not getting enough sleep. Most people get a bit tetchy, maybe have a headache, but pretty much shake it off until they can grab a nap.

Not me, If I don’t get my full 8 hours I am a shivering, sobbing, jerking wreck until I crawl, twitching, back into bed. I not too pretty either, unless ‘junkie panda’ is a look you aspire to.

It’s not often an issue. Sleeping is something I have always been good at. Sure, it’s not exactly a super-power, but it has come in handy during both my teenage and mother-of-young-children years.

I’ve never quite understood when people have said ‘I couldn’t get back to sleep’. Why couldn’t you? Were you operating heavy machinery? Were you in the middle of a meeting? Had you accidentally sprinkled broken glass all over the bedsheets? Even then, I would have probably gone back to sleep in a couple, if not all of those scenarios.

I can always go back to sleep, that’s my thing (again, not much of a thing, but still). I can even be a bit smug about it sometimes, maybe even saying to these ‘can’t get back to sleep’ types, that if they were tired enough they would sleep. Thus implying that they don’t even know what tired is if they can’t drop off during a film/journey/funeral.

*Side note* I take this patronising you haven’t suffered like I have tone quite a lot. See also: ‘Sure you’re a vegetarian now, but if you were hungry enough…’, ‘Sure, you don’t drink now, but if you had kids…’ and ‘Sure you’re laid out on the sofa with crippling back pain now, but if the remote was just out of reach and Hollyoaks came on…”

I’m not promising that I will actually get to my point, but I will at least try and head in that general direction by telling you that I am writing this at 4am in the morning. I can’t get back to sleep, but I refuse to become one of those people who give up in the face of insomnia and use the time to get something done (we all know writing this doesn’t count as doing something). Some people, who can’t sleep, get up and clean the oven or alphabetise their letters. That’s insane, the only thing worse than insomnia is housework. That’s basically like thinking I’ve been done for speeding, might as well do a bit of murdering as well or I’ve got a paper-cut so I might as well go the whole hog and wire my nipples to a car battery.

There is a small boy lying next to me soundly snoring in a nah-nah nah nah-nah way. He’s not what’s keeping me awake though. It’s rarely actual physical things that keep me awake (except for the times my belly has been so huge I could barely move, and also when I was pregnant). Nor is it big philosophical issues or emotional upset. It’s always some trivial nothingness that keeps me from my slumber. I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about whether I’ve got all the kids uniform ready for school. I have tried distracting myself by contemplating the existence of benign God in a inhuman and cruel world, but my mind always returns to whether I should go to Tesco or Morrisons this week.

So much for ‘Don’t keep drinking until you pass out’. Thanks expert medical advice. Not so clever now eh?


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