Not being able to get to sleep is arguably one of the most miserable things in the world. OK pedants, it’s not as bad as divorce, murder or having your house burn down (but bloody chances are that that would have been the night you actually fell asleep and left the 3-bar fire on.) Insomnia has stalked my every sleeping hour this week and I wish it would sod off and bother someone who really needs it. Like, ooh, I dunno… a narcoleptic that operates heavy machinery or a Tory back-bencher.
Insomnia is like the irritating house-guest, who pops round when you’re trying to get stuff done, lets themselves in, eats your hobnobs and crumbs all over your shag-pile – all the while whistling the same tune over and over. Because insomnia LOVES planting three lines (only three, no more) to a song in your brain. Something unfathomably awful like ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and insists on infuriating repetition until you feel like poking something long and sharp into your ear to make it stop. It convinces you that the odd rash on your inner calf will probably turn into something fatal. It makes you lay there for ages in the dark with exactly the right amount of bladder pressure so that you’re torn as to whether it’s worth getting up for a wee or not… until you get up simply to escape chuffing ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. So you wake up your flatmate/bedfellow as well because the toilet door squeaks. So then you get to lay there for ages thinking about how they are now awake too, hating you and planning to complain to everyone about how you disturb their sleep most nights with your incessant prowling round the house at 4am.
And I could have really done with some sleep this week in particular. Writing projects A, B(33) and C/F55 have me at keyboard from about ten ‘til seven thirty every day and so when sweet, sweet bedtime comes around and I’m as wide awake as someone that’s just had their foot run over by a passing tank, I tend to not be at my best the following morning. For a start, no sleep makes me angry. On Tuesday I shouted at a restaurant – yes, what of it? – for playing Barry White at five past nine in the morning as I walked past. Not least because I knew that that night ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ would finally be traded in for ‘You’re The First, The Last, My Everything. I was also infuriated by a woman’s idiotic hat and I cried when I couldn’t get the lid off a yogurt.
I tried napping in the day but people LOVE to drill in the day, don’t they? On top of which, the soundtrack to November in my home village of Morzine is Electric Tool Cacophany Vol II. EVERYONE is sawing the roof/wall/windows/whatever off their chalet ready for the onslaught of holiday makers and snow in about 6 weeks. Consequently birdsong and tinkling stream are drowned out by the tooth-shaving sound of drill-driver-on-hardboard.
I have tried everything: camomile tea, wine, lavender oil, exercise, no exercise, Radio 4, a bath, watching The Antiques Roadshow until I decided to give in and bring out the big guns. IE. give up coffee. At which point my body obviously went into shock at the mere thought and last night I slept like a baby.
After checking the electric fire was off first, of course.