When I thought about writing this blog I knew that I wanted it to be a positive thing. Not just somewhere I could offload how awful it is to be a member of the Wide Awake Club (no not THAT one, children of the 80s). Instead of wallowing in droopy-eyed gloom, I thought it’d be worth coming up with my own little gratitude list. My way of saying “actually insomnia, I owe you one”. Here are just five of my own reasons to be grateful in times of sleeplessness.
1) Extra reading time
This has to be my number one reason. I love reading. I sometimes worry about dying before I’ve read all the books I want to read. And every year that goes by adds another bunch to the list. It’s kind of like having a mortgage; you know you’re chipping away at it, but as the interest gets piled on, you can’t quite imagine ever paying the bloody thing off. That’s me and all the books I want to read. So just as well that during at least one night each week, I get a couple of extra hours’ reading time.
2) It reminds me of my own resilience
Every time I’m lying awake at 4am contemplating the fast advancing blare of the alarm and worrying about whatever it is I have to accomplish that day, I say to myself “you’ve got through this a thousand times before and you’ll get through it again”. It’s said that repeatedly doing something well helps teach confidence. Well I fucking rock at getting through the day on little sleep (of which more in a later post).
3) An excuse to use the spare room
With apologies to my wonderfully supportive partner… I love having the bed to myself. Once I’ve tossed and turned in our bed for a while and caused a fair deal of disturbance, which he is always extremely graceful about, I generally gather my things* and head next door. Once installed I can shuffle till my heart’s content, have the light on to read without worry, go back and forth to the loo three times, you know, do the kind of things that insomniacs do…
*Just to cover all bases this usually includes pillow, book, diary, pen, headphones, phone, baby monitor and drink as a minimum.It takes two trips. If he wasn’t awake before, he’s usually stirring by the time I’m done.
4) Training for early parenthood
To all the insomniac parents out there – don’t you feel a little bit smug? I do. The whole sleepless night thing didn’t really bother me. I’m not saying I was never tired, but I was just more accustomed to that hangover without the booze feeling than other novices. Hell, I was going to be awake anyway, I may as well do something useful with the time, like feed a small human being and then spend two hours trying to get it back to sleep. I can’t claim any expertise in the other areas of parenting, but this is one test I passed with flying colours, thanks to years of involuntary training that saw my tolerance levels rocket.
As the mum of an ‘active’ toddler (this is the phrase used by the professionals, there are days when I find myself using other descriptions), peace and quiet is something that I don’t often get to enjoy. The gaps in his constant (but honestly delightful) chatter are more often than not filled with my own contributions of “Don’t do that. Leave that alone.Get down from there now. In.A.Minute!” Sitting down for more than 30 seconds at a time feels like a gift. So really I should be thankful for the opportunity to be able to lie on my own, savouring the silence.
I’m sure there are other reasons to treat insomnia as a friend. It’d be great to read your comments.
Thanks for reading.