Insomnia

It’s the time of year again when small children find it very difficult to get to sleep… something about some jolly guy in red descending down their chimney in the middle of the night. Come to think of it, that’s something I might start to lose sleep over… especially since I’m guessing he’s likely to wreck our gas fire.

Actually, I need little excuse to lose sleep… anything that gets lodged in my mind seems to resurface in the middle of the night and refuses to go away until about 20 minutes before I need to get up, at which point my brain switches off and I fall deeply asleep. It’s not too bad when I am at home – there is always the option of getting up, making a cup of tea and spending some time working, knitting or thinking about my permaculture diploma.

In fact, I rarely get up these days, preferring to remain warm and in bed, listening to a talking book on my mp3 player via headphones so as not to disturb Mr Snail-of-happiness (who rarely has trouble sleeping). Currently I’m listening to Chocolat by Joanne Harris. In fact, it’s not my ideal book to doze off to because I’m never heard or read it before (it’s different to the film). The best books to fall asleep to are old favourites, particularly children’s books, which make me think of my parents reading to me in bed as a child… Roald Dahl is particularly good and I’m waiting for someone to make a recording of The Overland Launch by C. Walter Hodges, a book I clearly remember my mother reading to me and my sister when we were young. Mr S-o-h has kindly made me a recording of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull which I listen to when he is away, so that I get to hear his voice, although part of the story makes me cry, which isn’t necessarily a good thing!

Insomnia socks!

Insomnia socks!

My real insomnia problem arises when I’m away from home. I go on courses quite often and end up sharing a room with people that I don’t know… sometimes even in a dormitory. Earlier this year I had to try to sleep in a very squeaky bunk bed in a room with six other people. Tossing and turning was simply not an option, so I ended up in the dining area at about 5am each day. I certainly go a lot of knitting done (see left). More recently I had to share a hotel room with someone I did not know at all and where there was no safe communal space to retreat to, so no chance of getting up and being creative… well I suppose I could have sat in the bathroom, but I think my room-mate would probably have been rather worried by that! So I had one almost completely sleep-free night when I achieved nothing.

The current hexipuff collection

The current hexipuff collection

And really this is my issue: I can see the point of sleep. It allows me to function properly the next day. If I have to have insomnia I’d really like to be able to treat it as an opportunity – making something, reading something, producing a permaculture design. And so, before I book any more courses I’m going to make sure that the place I’m staying has either single rooms or somewhere I can sit and knit worms, socks, snails or hexipuffs without scaring my fellow learners!

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4 Comments

  1. Talking books are the best, we should never stop being read to. Perhaps there could be a section in all libraries called ‘books to fall asleep to’.

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  2. I am also a late night worrier and that feeling of the night slipping away while you fruitlessly try to go to sleep is horrible.
    Now when I have trouble sleeping I play Scrabble on my ipod. I find that it distracts me from the thing that is on my mind and makes me go to sleep faster.

    If you have a kindle you can set it to read many of the books to you. It is a computer voice, so not too stimulating, perhaps this would help you go to sleep. I’m with you though, a single room would be my preference too.

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