Right now I’m being subjected to a very (VERY) early morning screening of an ‘In the Night Garden’ DVD. It’s a fantastic program because it’s the only thing in the world that snatches my daughters attention away from me for a random few seconds at a time.If I suffered from micro napping this would be perfect. I could sleep every third or fourth second and pretend to be interested in Macca Pacca washing his sodding stones in between. We’d all be happy.
Unfortunately I don’t suffer from an exotic sleeping disorder. Just a mild form of modern nihilism, and just generally being a parent. There’s also the cat, but that’s a whole separate tome of misery on its own, on which I’ll elaborate another time.
I have not slept much in the last couple of years. I have a 19 month old daughter.
I’m beginning to think these two facts may be connected somehow…
When you really need sleep, there’s rarely just one thing that prevents you from doing so. Things conspire and unite against you, to ensure your sleepless night is written in stone before u even climb the stairs.
Mostly my daughter, often the cat, sometimes my own frantic inner dialogue.
Research apparently shows that lack of sleep can have a profound psychological effect and has even been linked to mental illness. Logical reasoning, mental arithmetic, decision making and memory all suffer demonstrably from lack of sleep.
So exactly how is one meant to function without sleep? There’s plenty of advice (and products) geared towards helping you get more sleep, but what about when that’s all a pile of crap because you live your life in the real world and not in a bloody magazine rack? What’s really lacking is some good solid advice about how not to lose your job when you can’t speak without dribbling, how to walk to work with your eyes closed and above all, how not to go mental and kill everyone.
I try to snatch any quiet moment I can for myself. These moments are few and far between when even a trip to the toilet usually involves being accompanied by a small child.
The few minutes I have on the train each day are almost entirely consumed with making sure I don’t drift off into a surreal dream world because if I do, I will almost certainly miss my stop, and introduce an extra layer of strife and anxiety into my already frayed existence.
The things that bring me peace are playing a musical instrument, reading, and writing, and it’s precisely these things that I’m struggling the most to fit in. I know if I could work these back into my life, I could swing the balance back into some kind of stability. Even more than sleep, I crave the time and space it takes to be able to this.
In the end it seems that sleep isn’t the be-all and end-all of everything. What it comes down to is the quality of the time you have to yourself. If you find yourself on your own, and still just thinking how shit everything is, well, you have only your own company to blame.