69. Rest Assurred

You always want what you can’t have, so they say.

Why does sleep elude me when I crave it so? It’s such a natural, simple thing. I can fall off to sleep effortlessly, but after four or five hours, I am wide awake again. I’m well past the point of saying to myself that “if I fell asleep now I could get another two hours.” Physical rest is the best I can expect. Mental rest will have to wait.

I hear people talk of how their mood is affected when they don’t get their full eight hours, or new parents unprepared for how much their nights would be disrupted. I want to scream “That is my life!” but I don’t have the energy, and it would do no good to do the whole “I bet I’m more tired than you are.”

I’m perpetually in a fog. On auto-pilot. A zombie. Groggy. Jet-lagged. I’ve tried mindfulness, lavender, herbal tea, cutting back on stress and caffeine, a ‘clean sleep’ routine, new mattress, cold bedroom, going to bed later, blackout curtains, a set bedtime, exercise, no electronics in the bedroom, vitamins, counting backwards in sevens, and sticking my feet outside of the covers.

Maybe my being overweight has something to do with my poor quality sleep? Maybe my being overweight is because I don’t sleep properly?

It took me months to realise I was anaemic as one of the symptoms is exhaustion, and my default is general fatigue, so…

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There’s a notebook by the bed with a pencil that writes smoothly, so as not to disturb him. I lay there, watching him breathe, trying to think of how I would spend lottery money or plan our next holiday. Sometimes I ruminate on throwaway comments said by someone I barely know anymore, who probably can’t even remember saying them, and only said them because they were hangry.

I sometimes think of people I have known, who did not take as prominent a place in my life as they could have done.

Tiny, motion-sensitive dim lights lead the way to the bathroom.

Occasionally, I do get up, watch a bit of telly or write down some ramblings. There are lots of people I don’t normally interact with on Twitter at 3am GMT.

On days at home from work, I live in holey cashmere jumpers and baggy pyjama bottoms with soft-soled slippers, so there’s no need to change if I decide to nap. Just forty minutes before 2pm can change my whole evening. My battery is recharged and I can stay awake until a proper adult bedtime.

My family says I’m on ‘old people’s time’ because my sleep pattern forces my whole day to shift to an earlier time. I’m ready for bed when most people are going out for dinner at 8pm. That’s like midnight for me.  I’m the first at any restaurant for lunch when the clock has barely struck noon. At work before most people’s alarms have gone off. Ready to leave work at 3.30 pm. Thank goodness I can choose my own hours. Theatre matinees, morning cinema trips, lunch, not dinner dates.

I never skimp on rest to do other things, I always try to aim for a full-night’s allowance of sleep. It’s just my sleep pattern would ideally be 8pm-4am then possibly another forty minutes around 11.30am. That’s breakfast tv presenter or baker territory. Maybe I’m just in the wrong job.

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