The View From The Kitchen Table – September 2021

By Geraldine Hughes

Insomnia :A sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Can all the insomniacs here raise their hands? if they’re not too tired to do so! I’m convinced that once you have children you never sleep again. You never fall into that deep dreamless dead-to-the-world, refreshing healing sleep again! I know I haven’t, even now years later the slightest noise makes my eyes pop open and I’m alert in a way that makes me wonder if I was just lying there with my eyes closed pretending to sleep.

There is a list of things insomniacs shouldn’t do in the evenings in order to have the best chance of nodding off, which include no coffee after 3pm, no exercise like a dance class that leaves you so buzzed up you’re still energised at 11pm but I doubt if there is a bad sleeper alive that hasn’t got a list the length of their arm of dos and don’ts to get that elusive crash out sleep.

Sometimes I do all of them. No coffee, no exercise, no eating anything with additives. No eating late. Just no eating. No blue light from my phone. No blue light from any handheld devices. No phone for an hour before bed. Just leave the phone downstairs. Comfy bedroom (not too warm, leave the windows open a little) read a book but nothing too exciting. Diffuse some essential oils like lavender. All of this should work and maybe it does for some but maybe they don’t have an inner Contrary Mary, standing there with her arms folded, determined not to concede to anything that might actually help. I also realise she is possibly not as inner as I think. I leave my phone downstairs (bye bye-mummy loves you!) and trot off to my comfy airy lavender soaked room for a wind-down read followed by a deep sleep.

That’s the plan. I read a boring book and snuggle down. The diffuser makes a little whirring noise which should be soothing but It’s not. I get up and knock it off. I flip my pillows and try again. I try not to think about anything but that is hard so I let my mind wander, and an hour later I am lying on my back wondering why in films, do people run down the middle of the road when they’re being chased by cars?

I think about getting up and making a hot chocolate even though I feel there is sugar involved with this which will wake me up more but I’m using reverse Psychology on myself, threatening myself with getting up in the hopes that I fall asleep while thinking about it and all the time Contrary Mary is sitting in the corner of my mind saying she knew none of this would work. Through the open window, I hear a happy little bird begin his birdy day by singing his little head off. I realise it’s almost dawn, and finally fall asleep…

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