The Insomniac Chronicles

Hi, Hey, Hello!

That title makes this sound way more epic than this post actually is to be honest. A couple of weeks ago just before the bank holiday weekend I was asked what I was doing and my answer was honestly ‘I’m going to sleep all weekend’ (which I didn’t do, I went to Oxford Street, went to the gym, saw Cap 3, ate, wrote a bunch of blog posts, read some stuff and yeah I did a lot of sleeping, but I didn’t hibernate or anything) and everyone was like ‘is that it? you’re so young you should be doing things’

And yeah I can get that, but when you don’t sleep all that much during the week and then have to work for 8 hours a day on that lack of sleep those 2 (or in this case 3) days where you aren’t gonna be woken up by an alarm (although I am continually awoken by a hoover on most Sundays these days) is total bliss and that sleep that may or may not actually happen is the only thing that you can focus.

Or at least it is with me.

Because I am an insomniac.

Insomnia and I are kind of like Romeo and Juliet. Almost fated in the stars. Inexplicably drawn to one another. Some sort of passionate affair. Except we last a lot longer than 3 days before some dodgy advice from a Priest and a Nurse puts an end to the whole affair.

Guess where I thought up that whole last paragraph? If you guessed 2am when I was supposed to be sleeping because the time of my alarm going off was getting closer by the second then you would be correct.

The point is at some point one of us (Insomnia and I that is) decided that we just couldn’t seem to quit the other (maybe Jack and Ennis would have been a better analogy than Romeo and Juliet…). Don’t get me wrong, we have out fights. I can go weeks without having any issues at all with falling asleep. In fact sometimes I can fall asleep before my head even hits the pillow (although to be honest that usually only happens when I’m ya know, not sober). I can get a solid 7/8 hours and everything is just fine (let’s just ignore that even after all that I am still yawning by the time I get to my train station …just after 9).

But then my good old friend Insomnia decides that it is time that we settle out differences and become chummy again. It’s a routine that I am very used to at this point. We make up and then I start watching the crack between my window and my blind slowly turn one of the walls in my room from a dark grey to a blue that almost reflects the early morning tinge of the sky. I become very well acquainted with every detail of my ceiling in the dark of night, and can eventually acclimatise to make out every detail of the clothes hanging haphazardly in my wardrobe. I can actually mostly fully function on the stolen minutes that I do spend asleep on only 3 shots of coffee and I just sort of pass through life telling people that I’m tired but fine. Everybody is tired but fine.

I have sat exams on terrible nights sleep, I have sat through lectures in the same state. I have almost fallen asleep in libraries and study spaces that are equipped with sofas in the middle of the day. I don’t actually fall asleep though, because that would be too nice of my brain to allow, no I sit there wishing I could take a nap but not ever actually physically being able to take the damn nap. I’ve almost fallen asleep standing in queues. I’ve inhaled hot coffee just to get some sort of energy running through my veins. I’ve technically pulled an all nighter, but fuck if it doesn’t feel like I’ve pulled many of them in the past 7 years.

I’ve listened to many people try to give me advice on how to break up with Insomnia again. Don’t look at screens before you go to bed (which okay, I could be better at, but seriously sometimes I can’t just sit in the dark and my phone is right there). Trying reading a book or something to take your eyes away from screens (which I also cannot do, because seriously I will just keep reading and reading and then get pissed off should I fall asleep mid chapter just when it was getting really good). Exercise, which I have just started doing and to be honest it’s currently having minimal effect on my sleeping habits, we’re currently broken up I’m gonna sleep whether I exercise or not. I’ll report back on whether it actually helps when we inevitably end up the best of friends again, but I imagine it will have no extra effect other than the fact that my muscles will be sore. The advice goes on (also people need to stop telling me to just go to bed earlier, it’s not the time in which I get in bed that it making me tired, it’s the fact that I can’t fucking sleep. I see no point in just prolonging the time I spend lying in the dark when it’s not necessary). And I’ve tried almost all of it. It doesn’t work.

We just sort of naturally drift apart for a bit, I do a lot of sleeping that I don’t believe is ever gonna help me ‘catch up’ on all that I’ve lost, but sleeping is fun and nice and I like it. So when I can I do a lot of it. Then we end up back together and I get really good at telling the time by the way the light is hitting my room (to save looking at a screen which would mess up my ability to sleep, see I can do it…). It’s just the way it is. I also happen to have some of the ideas that I get most excited about when it gets really bad, so some good does come out of it. It’s hard to see it as good when I’m zombieing my way through the days, but it is.

Maybe one day one we’ll have the fall out of all fall outs and never be reunited.

I’m not counting sheep on that though…

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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