There are several stages to insomnia. The first, ironically, is tiredness. You’re watching tv, you’re head starts to droop. You’re eyes feel like lead and it’s an effort to lift a hand to flick the remote. Hurrah you think. I am tired! I shall go to bed, I shall sleep and in the morning I shall be rested and beautiful. So you do. You drag your sorry, tired carcass up the stairs, you crawl in to bed and lay your head on the most comfortable of pillows and you slowly start to drift asleep.
Your foot itches slightly.
You shift it to try and dislodge it. This begins stage 2. Your brain slowly starts to come back to life, it knows your foot itches, it knows you have to move to scratch it and it knows damn well you don’t want to. So it starts to bug you.
*Psssst*, it whispers,* psssssstttt, your foot is super itchy, also, your arm is going dead in this position. Can you feel that? No? Oh. Well in that case let me totally focus every single ounce of your attention on to your arm. Feel how the elbow is ever so slightly heavier than the wrist, talking of the wrist can you feel how it’s bent 2 degrees more than we find entirely comfortable? You can can’t you. Now it’s all you can feel, your wrist, not in the right place, not in the groove. You know you want to move it. Just a tiny bit, just so it’s comfortable. That’s it, go on. Go on. Yay, you moved it and now you’re awake. As you’re awake you may as well go ahead and scratch that foot. You’re welcome.*
So now you’re awake. You’re lying there with your eyes firmly closed and you’ve reached stage 3, denial. You will not wake up. You will not open your eyes and you will go back to sleep. Denial doesn’t last long to be honest, you slide straight in to bargaining, denial doesn’t really get you anywhere but more awake. The deal is between you and your alarm. You take a look. If you fall asleep now you will get 6hrs and 32 minutes. That’s loads of time. As you squeeze your eyes shut and you think sleepy thought. Another peek. Ok, now I will get 6hrs and 17 minutes. Still over 6hrs, people can run the world on 6hrs sleep.
Meditation is the way to go now. You take deep breathes and try to empty your mind.
*did you turn the light off in the front room? That would be a terrible waste of electricity.*
I did, I know I did.
Deep breaths, you are starting to feel very sleepy.
*what about locking the door? I remember you picking up that key but I couldn’t tell you if you did that today or yesterday, I’m just a simple brain. You should check.*
You are falling asleep from your toes, your toes feel heavy, you can’t lift them, they are now sleeping.
*You bladder isn’t sleeping. *
Keep breathing, imagine you are trying to blow out a candle at the end of a bed and now your legs are feeling heavy with sleep.
*your bladder is heavy too, you need to get up now.*
No, I don’t, I can fall asleep like this. I don’t need to pee.
*You do and I’m going to make sure you know it. Feel that pressure? The one that feels like somebody is sat on your stomach? That’s me. I can keep that up all night. *
You give in and finally sit up, fuck its cold. Quickly lie back down and tell yourself it will all be fine, if you fall asleep now you’ll get 5 hrs 41minutes of sleep.
You feel like a small elephant has danced a merry jig across your bladder. Spring out of bed and head to bathroom.
Well, now you’re up.
As you’re up you may as well head downstairs and make a warm drink and see if that helps. Here you are in the acceptance stage.
As you’re downstairs why don’t you just go and watch tv, see if that wears you out.
Have you ever watched late night television? Apparently there are literally hundreds of absolutely stunning girls writhing around on beds right now just waiting for my call! I never knew! All they need is for me to pick up the phone, dial a number and they guarantee that they, personally, will be there to take my call and it would make their whole night if only I would just speak to them, These stunning girls are in no way out having a life and meeting up with real actual people in real actual clubs and maybe having real actual sex. Nope. These amazing specimens of human beauty are right there, right now, waiting for a group of insomniacs, over weight lonely basement dwellers, late night gamers and drunk people doing it for the laugh to call them right now! I feel for them I really do, those poor beautiful girls in very little clothing. They need you to call so they can afford a jumper to cover up. They must be freezing!
After as many episodes of The Nanny and Extreme Makeover Home Edition as you can stand you finally realise lying in bed staring at the ceiling is infinitely more pleasurable than Fran Dreschers voice or Ty Penningtons heartfelt gurning as all he wants to do is ‘give back’ and you head back to bed to attempt the final stage on the insomniacs armory.
By this point your brain has gotten feeble. It’s trying, it really is, but your body has gone in to lock down. Your legs have traded places with 2 large lumps of lead and your head has decided that it wold much rather lie across your shoulder than do anything useful like stay upright.
* Did you turn off the light?*
Shut up, you reply, I don’t care.
*Well*, it says, *tell me you at least locked the door.*
I still don’t care you say, let them wander in and steal my tv, maybe they will call those poor girls and all chip in for some nice sweat pants.
Your brain tries to play the trump card. The one it’s been saving all night.
*Oooo, have you paid that bill? You know, the one that’s been sat on the dresser for a few weeks, the one you haven’t paid yet and it’s playing right in the very back of your mind that you really need to do it now before you get charged?*
For a second you hesitate, your brain sits back in triumph with a smug expression, it’s
Then your leg slowly starts to give out on you as you wobble on the stairs and you realise you need to be lying down.
Shut up brain. I can pay it when I wake up, nobody is there now.
With a silent scream your brain finally gives up, everything goes blank and you are consumed with a need to be in your bed that’s so primal all modern advances in science become moot. All you see, hear and feel is bed and as you slowly climb back under the duvet and before the blackness take over you steal one more peek at the alarm clock. If I fall asleep now I’ll get 2hrs and 36minutes. I can run the world on that.