Sleep is a luxury that many take for granted.
I’ve had trouble sleeping all my life. When I was very young, I remember gazing out of my bedroom window for hours upon end on long, sleepless, confusing, boring, frustrating nights.
Why couldn’t I sleep? It’s just as easy as closing your eyes, isn’t it?
Before I understood time zones, I used to wonder if perhaps I had some kind of special power. One that meant I wasn’t allowed to fall asleep unless everyone else in the world was already asleep. As a seven or eight year old, I couldn’t fathom why anyone else would still be awake at silly o’clock.
I’d glumly watch the street lampposts behind our garden fence turn from pink, to orange and back to pink again.
I sometimes think that it started because of a real fear of missing out. Adults were allowed to stay up, so why wasn’t I? There were still fun things going on, why should I miss out on them? All the good TV and films would be on past ‘bed time’. My book would just be getting to a good bit and if I didn’t continue reading it’d lose its shine. It wouldn’t be as exciting in the morning. (My mum would frequently catch me sat up with the bedside lamp on, reading a book under my quilt and trying to hide it under my pillow).
I still feel like there’s a sense of magic about the night.
It’s when the bats come out to play. It’s when shadows taken on a new form. It’s when fairy lights and candles glisten in the dark.
But society doesn’t always favour the night owl. The typical 9-5er cannot get by on a few hours’ rest and often cannot strike a deal that lets them start work at midday instead. It equals social jetlag. And I know that feeling all too well.
I now go to bed a little earlier and read which helps me to unwind and fall asleep faster, which also means that I’m able to drag myself out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5.45am and so I don’t feel like a zombie all day at work. The night owls are forced to comply with everyone else and this is my only way to get through it. Saying that, I sometimes still want to watch just one more episode or read just one more chapter. You can take the girl out of the night…