Monthly Archives: December 2013

Error 404: Sleep not found

Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:
So do not let me wear tonight away:

William Wordsworth

I can’t sleep.   More accurately I can’t stay asleep, the nodding off bit comes easily.   I can nod off almost anywhere.  I’ve snoozed through parts of Aida at the Royal Albert Hall.   I’ve dribbled merrily through almost 30% of the Lion King stage show and I have many times woke with dismay just as the train leaves my station (with me still on it).  I wake at some time between 2:30 and 2:45 and then for a handful of hours I am the loneliest man on the planet.   I have normally managed to read every line of every supplement of the Sunday paper by around Tuesday so Wednesday to Saturday are the times when I lay there considering getting out of bed and doing something useful.

I did at one stage collect time.   I try to avoid looking at the (digital) clock by the bedside because it just encourages me to grumble to myself about how long I have been awake.   Sometimes it just can’t be avoided though so I started collecting interesting times being displayed when I glanced at the clock.   3:33 started it off but I’ve collected most of them now.   1:23, 2:46.   It took quite a while to complete my Fibbonacci sequence (up to 55, you can’t do 89 on a digital clock) and I did have to invent some rules to make it easier in the end.

A while ago I got this.


It just seemed that I had found the perfect number to be awake to in the internet age (the more observant of you may comment “why don’t you do some dusting whilst you are awake you lazy tyke”).

I thought I would investigate my insomnia and determine what is the cause.   I didn’t have to look very far.   It seems that all of my siblings are awake at the same time as well.   Those on Facebook comment about being awake at unearthly hours and those not on Facebook have partners that comment about being woken up at unearthly hours.

The good news about my research tells me that my family are normal.    It’s the rest of you who sleep for 8 hours every evening who are abnormal (another way of looking at this may be that the rest of the world has evolved and we are the 20th century version of Neanderthal man/woman).   Segmented sleep (not the catchiest of names but at least it has one) was once all the rage.  Everybody did it at one stage.   It seems that the “one sleep a night” fad came in roughly with the introduction of street lighting and a more general availability of domestic lighting, prior to that, people would sleep, wake up, go and have a chat with the neighbour and then go back to sleep again.    It strikes me that it would be a bit like a reverse siesta for the night time.

So I have stopped worrying about being awake.   I thank mother for those old but valuable genes that insist I am active during the night and I may even start to enjoy my waking hours rather than curse them.


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