I don’t sleep at night. I go to bed and I fall asleep. But I wake up within a few hours and I rarely resume sleeping again. I still haven`t figured out why my sleep isn`t working. My daily schedule is usually uneventful: I get up at the same time every morning, eat breakfast with my family, my work regime is repetitive and I don’t do much at night other than spend time with my family, play music, read or binge watch hbo series. And I don’t drink coffee after 4 p.m.

My sleeping pattern has been irregular for almost twenty years. When I first noticed a change in the quality of my sleep, I wrote it off as a coincidental but not surprising consequence of unrequited love. That lasted almost a year. But when that phase finally reached its end, my sleeping difficulties continued unabated. For a brief period, I was convinced that it was the coffee. During a work day I was drinking no less than six cups of coffee. And often much more. So I elminated my caffeine abuse but to no avail. I would fall asleep, wake up within a few hours and toss and turn for the rest of the night.   

And I have all kinds of mild sleeping pills. And a wide selection from the alternative medicine cabinet. Some have a positive effect on my sleeping pattern but usually it doesn't last that long. Because then I find that I have to up my dose in order to maintain a reasonable sleep. And I get more distanced and zombie-like the following day.

Occasionally there will be a period of improved sleep. That usually means that I fall asleep at night and wake up about an hour before the alarm clock. Nothing to complain about that. 

Some years ago, I woke up and realised that I had had a perfect night’s sleep. I still remember the warm and tingling sensation in the body. It reminded me of waking up as a child on a summer weekend morning and realising that there was an endless day of adventures lying ahead of me.

Being awake at night is not like being awake during the day. When I sit in the kitchen with my lemon tea and forest fruit yoghurt, I know that I am not asleep. But I am definitively also not fully present. I rarely feel stressed or anxious during the night. But my thoughts fill up the space around me in a way that they don’t do during the day. And they are not even fully formed as thoughts that carry ideas. They are more like fleeting emotions that were once attached to coherent thoughts. At 4 a.m. in the morning, they endure as a faint emotional echo of the ordered thoughts that steered me through the day. The more I try to listen for the coherent thoughts, the less I am able to hear. So I return to the bed and lie there for a few more hours. 


Documentary about binging