Over the last seven years I may have mentioned sleep a couple of times. My difficulty in getting to sleep precedes parenthood, and appears to be a genetic thing, despite having a very different parenting style from my mother, Bernard is as bad at getting off to sleep as I was at his age, and am now.
Changes to my sleeping conditions don’t have a clear effect; I like dark, but can just as easily lie awake in the blackness. I prefer absence of noise [with the exception of Pete practicing bass in the next room, which I find restful]. Sharing the bed with Pete or being alone makes no difference (sharing it with Bernard disturbs my sleep but gets us both a longer lie in). I generally sleep better in my familiar bed than somewhere new, and on a mattress instead of a camping mat. Eating too much in the evening affects my sleep. Obviously I get kept awake by anxiety, like most people. If I fall asleep and then get woken up after an hour or two, I am very unlikely to get back to sleep (this was the real killer, with a baby). I like to have the window open. My best sleep is the last couple of hours before the alarm.
When I’m lying awake, it often helps to get up and go downstairs for a drink. I wonder if this is just a way of moving on from becoming anxious about not sleeping. I sometimes try to read but my eyes are just too tired. It has to be really bad before I give up completely and switch the computer on. Mostly I just lie there and try to think about nice things, which is what I always advise Bernard to do when he can’t sleep.
I notice that a large proportion of the people I follow on twitter are also insomniacs, and wonder if that’s just because we’re that kind of intense busy-headed people, or if insomnia loves company. Is it time for a nap?