“Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.”
Shakespeare – Sonnet 27
Insomnia is not a four-letter word – it’s two.
It’s 3.50am and I’m writing a blog entry. I’m also pissed off.
I was watching a movie a few hours ago and started to nod off in the middle of it. No problems, I thought, I’ll just do my teeth and get into bed.
Bazinga! as Sheldon would say – wide-awake.
Why is it that for me, a decent night’s sleep is so hard to come by?
I looked it up, and there are studies, apparently, that indicate the older you get the less sleep you need. Which idiot decided that? Couldn’t he have fudged the figures a little and given us a break?
I’m sorry, I don’t want to be a part of that demographic thanks very much. I like my bed too much, especially more so now that I’m retired.
For nearly all of my working life I was a shift worker, part of that strange breed who earns money in the dark hours and is tucked up in bed during the day whilst everyone else is out and about.
I missed many Christmases, I missed even more birthdays and I missed an awful lot of my daughter growing up.
And now, it seems, to add insult to injury, and after all those sacrifices, I’m to miss out on my sleep too.
Thirty-seven years of this lifestyle must have had a major impact on my internal sleep mechanisms, because no matter what I do now I just lie there, fast awake.
I go to bed when I’m actually tired, and not when the clock says I should; yet I can’t fall asleep.
I tried not thinking, but then the thought of not thinking kept me thinking, which kept me awake.
I tried counting sheep, but it was dark outside and I couldn’t see them.
I even tried a technique I read about, where, to clear your mind, you imagine you’re standing in front of a big blackboard, and each time a thought enters your head you write it down on the board then rub it out. That didn’t work either, because the screeching of the imaginary chalk on the imaginary blackboard just annoyed the imaginary crap out of me.
Perhaps this particular time I have insomnia because I’m way out in the sticks at a drop zone in the Victorian countryside and it’s too quiet. Or perhaps there’s too much fresh, clean air assaulting my respiratory system and I just can’t deal with it.
Or maybe I’m just getting old.
Whatever it is it had better stop soon, I’m getting tired of it…