June 24, 2013

Perchance to Dream

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?


10 thoughts on “Perchance to Dream

  1. I went through a period recently when I would wake up every night at 3am. Maybe 2.55. Maybe 3.05. But you get the picture.

    For a while, I thought there might be a neighbour getting up and going to work (our immediate neighbour works nights), but that was dismissed after a few enquiries.

    I have stuff that bothers me and keeps my mind active. The usual stuff – money, work, etc. So the actual problems with sleep don’t surprise me. It’s the 3am-ness of it that puzzles me.

    Any other sleepless Uborkans suffer from insomnia that keeps accurate time?

  2. I have done in the past – although some of that I can also attribute to a deeply screwed-up body clock.

    In Norfolk I would find I’d wake at 4am for no good reason. Well, it turned out that the reason (more often than not) was the neighbour three doors down opening his garage door, which also tells you how shallowly I slept/sleep anyway.

    Bodyclock wise, my core sleep hours are from 7am to 9am. (Or, were – it seems to have changed now, or I’m just never still asleep at that time) If I could sleep those two hours, I was fine, even after a night of no sleep. Wake me up in those hours, and I’d be vile for the rest of the day.

    At the moment I’m still sleeping badly, but seem to usually be awake (or at least vaguely conscious) before 7 every day, so I don’t know what’s going on there.

  3. On a different subject, and with regard to insomnia in general, the occurrence I find very weird (and no-one else I know has any similar experience) is that on occasion I will be asleep, and merely dreaming that I’ve not slept. Yeah, weird.

    The problem is that it’s more like ‘shut in’ syndrome (can’t remember the proper term) in that my brain’s racing, and there’s nothing I can do. It’s sleep, but it’s not restful, it’s not healthy, and the effects on me are indistinguishable from ‘true’ insomnia.

    Now I’m single I honestly have no idea after a night of ‘no sleep’ whether it’s been true insomnia, or ‘merely’ dreaming I have insomnia. Either way, it sucks the balls of dead dogs.

  4. No, I do that. I often dream that I’m not asleep, or I think I do. Or I’m waking/drifting in and out of sleep and can’t tell the difference. I think that’s the insomnia that bothers me less, because I’m less aware of it.

  5. Also, same for me with the core sleep hours. I might come and live with you.

  6. 22 hours a day, only waking to eat, shit, and kill things? Sounds fair.

  7. I’m curious. You dream of being awake. Does anyone dream of being asleep?

  8. Yes, very occasionally, sort of. I have a kind of lucid dream, so I am aware of being asleep and dreaming, but again not aware enough to affect anything. If bad things are happening in my dream, I’m less scared/upset because I know it’s a dream.

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