Hypnotists, therapists, camomile tea, drugs, pillows doused in lavender oil – I've tried them all, but still sleep eludes me
It's 11.30pm, time to roll down the blinds of your mind and slip into the black sponge of sleep. Now it's 12.30am, and my mind is on alert, hyper-aware, posing questions to a vacant audience: pit-pat, tit-tat, the cogs are turning when they should be grinding down. 1.30am: nope, still awake. 2.30, 3.30, and so on, and so on… until the sweet chirps of the morning birds, which have now become a doom-laden fanfare, heralding a day stretching ahead for a body and mind deprived of sleep and restoration. To the uninitiated, welcome to insomnia.
I've had this condition for 12 years, and people find it baffling: "You just close your eyes and go to sleep, right?" If only. The rage, oh the rage! The partner whose snoring is a nightly middle-finger to your restless mind. The colleague who complains, "I'm so tire d, I only got six hours' sleep last night." Six hours! That's a holiday for an insomniac. The person who says proudly, "I could sleep on a rock – my head hits the pillow and I'm out." The endless articles about how sleep is so important, and being deprived of it will lead to early death.