Tuesday, January 03, 2006

AOFs festival of sleep

It appears today (or lets be honest, it seems to vary between January 2 –4) is a very special day. It is the Festival of Sleep. What the hell is it? Wikipedia makes no mention (is that a bit like the koan – if Wikipedia doesn’t know it, therefore it doesn’t exist?). It appears to be a Hallmark holiday, something there is a plethora of e-cards for but not much else. I suspect it is some dreadful cult-ish Christian thing, conning kiddies into prolonged moments of silence.

However, real or imaginary I seem to be having my own festival of sleep at the moment. I am a very delicate sleeper. Just like the Princess and the Pea I can feel a tiny lump that would make me feel like I am sleeping on boulders and like Goldilocks if its too hard/soft/light/dark/quiet/noisy whatever – I just can’t sleep. Sleeping with others takes weeks of adjustment and insomnia and a new relationship go hand in hand – just as well all those happy hormones kick in to ride it through.

Holidays are never presumed to be a sleep fest, even when there is no morning agenda to wake for. When camping, the sun shines through the tent at dawn after the predawn symphony of bird life that it, shining a spotlight in my eyes and heating the canvassed home up to that of a well functioning sauna. So I don’t sleep much. A motel has all sorts of sleep opposing joys – radio clocks going off at 5am (I have lost count the amount of times this happens, I think some cleaners must have a universally sick sense of humour), noisy sex in the next room, cars coming and going outside all night. No that’s usually the ingredients for insomnia soup.

So the best sleep I have is after a few days, or weeks at home alone. I have now had almost 2 weeks of living without wearing my watch. I eat, socialise and go to bed when I choose. As a result I have fallen into a delicious pattern of falling effortlessly to sleep sometime after midnight and waking after 9am. It is a joy. A joy that only other insomniacs can understand. And I have another whole week of my festival of sleep to look forward to, til I go back to work.

Interestingly giraffes sleep for only 2 hours a day and bats a staggering 20. Cats are the only mammals that do not consolidate their slumbering time and spread it out deliciously through the day and night, whenever they darn well choose.

Some things you don’t want to happen while you are sleeping:
A Science article on sleep paralysis. Very nasty.

“Night Terrors” – unfortunately something that I have experienced episodically, but not recently thankfully. At times would wake up mid scream, or post scream bolt upright in my bed with my mouth wide open having no idea what had happened. Or sometimes I just slept through it. Once, unbeknown to me I made such a blood curdling sound my upstairs neighbour sprung out of bed and checked the doors and windows of my apartment to see if I had been broken into.

What chance did I ever have of having a good night’s sleep when a lover with a sick sense of humour gave me this to put above me bed?

"Sleep”, Dali

Of course now just writing about this happy, insomnia free festival, I'm going to jinx it.


Blogger R H said...

Dali was totally mad.

That bit about the motel interested me.
Years ago I was driving down the coast from Sydney with a very fussy young lady. It got late and we decided to stop the night at Merimbula. She probably expected nice accomodation but I booked us into the cheapest looking place I could find. Well I admit it was pretty bad, a dilapidated old pub with dusty rooms upstairs. But anyway she didn't say much, and it wasn't until I was just getting off to sleep that I heard a rather bored voice coming out of the darkness.
"This is just your style, Bob." That's what she said.

Well I laughed, of course. What else could I do? She was so right.

12:43 pm  
Blogger Pavlov's Cat said...

The phrase 'til I go back to work' is the important one here, I reckon. My best mate, also a bad insomniac, has found that she associates a bad night with having to get up at a particular time in the morning. I have found this myself, and I'm an excellent sleeper as a rule -- I got used to work rhythms before I quit and took up working from home, but anything out of the ordinary made, and still makes, me hopeless. Having an early plane to catch ensures that I am awake most of the night.

I am sceptical about most 'alternative' medicine but have had good experiences with hypnotherapy; have you tried that? There's nothing mysterious about it -- it's very like meditation -- and if you're a good hypnotic subject then it does actually work.

1:13 pm  
Blogger muse said...

I posted a replacement poster for you on my blog (since I don't think we can upload images with comments...?). Restful sleep to you! :)

5:53 pm  

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