Tired? Take a number.

Tired? Take a number.

How’s it going? ‘What’s news?’ ‘How ARE YOU?’ Polite and perfunctory daily salutations from friends, acquaintances and colleagues, innocuous conversation starters are the social lubricant of our days, not necessarily invitations for a narrative on one’s inner psyche. So for every ‘tired’ I hear I can’t help let out a subtle inner groan. Cue inner eye roll. (INNER. You see.) Of course you’re tired. Welcome to parenthood, adulthood, adolescence, LIFE. It’s predictable, boring and just bad chat. Sits up there with ‘I’m so busy.’ Course you are. We all are. Newsflash: NOBODY. CARES.

I’m only too aware of this and being a rather ‘glass half full’ sorta gal– no matter I’ve lost my voice trying to get two kids out the door who’ve spent the last half hour bickering over who has more chocolate chips in their breakfast brioche (naughty mummy) have callouses keeping my greedy Labrador from digging into the poo at the end of the street (yes, really) and of have matchsticks holding up my eyes. But here’s the thing. What happens when we really are, you know, TIRED? I’m not talking the conversational buffer type of tired, but bone-achingly, mind shatteringly, INSOMNIA-riddled EXHAUSTED? I only ask as loathe as I am to admit it, that’s how I’ve been. (I know. WHO CARES?) For awhile now. TIRED. Really, really, tired. And it kinda sucks. Anxious, exhausted, moody and down? I don’t DO these things (oh fine, so yea I’m a bit moody from time to time. Give.) We all know the advice. Find a routine and stick to it, eliminate screen time before bed, exercise, stop smoking, stop drinking. We get it. Fine if you’re a chain-smoking, midnight-twitter-trolling, telly-guarding alcoholic. But what of the rest of us?

So how to tackle these rather foreign fears of sleeping and anxiety for one far better versed in literary nuance and sarcasm?

The only way I know how, by sticking two fingers at it and sharing some meandering missives from my sojourn of sleeplessness.

Ignore the sleep police. Yes,  I appreciate this flies in the face of all medical advice out there, but here’s the thing, the pressure to get 7 hours of sleep a night is precisely why, you guessed it, we might NOT be getting 7 hours sleep a night. And funny enough, I’m living to tell the tale. It may not be ideal, especially in the middle of the night as I could almost cry (and have) for want of shut eye. But some of the most successful people in history have been known to survive on very little sleep, Margaret Thatcher, Martha Stewart and Tom Ford (the man can charge £40 for LIPSTICK). So stop worrying, you lie awake in good company.

It’s sleep, not open-heart surgery. If you fail one night, it’s no big thing. There’s always another chance to try again in a few hours time, (sooner than you can re-take your driving exam.) Can’t say the same for open-heart surgery.

Nobody talks about the boredom. The maddening, mind-numbing (but not numbing enough) boredom. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something. Read, colour, crochet, bedazzle your denim, write a blog. (whey hey.) Have a crack at those literary classics gathering dust on the bookshelves. A sense of accomplishment can wear one out.

The drugs don’t work. Well, perhaps for some, but pour moi? NADA. Worse? When they don’t work, the cortisol sky rockets. No fun. And anyway, kinda feels like cheating. Take it from someone who’s WC’s morphed into a pop-up Boots. Herbal tea and a good book (or even a bad one) might be just the tonic.

Don’t look at the clock. Good advice, but counterproductive when the pressure to NOT look at the clock makes you go doolally. Don’t look, don’t LOOK, DON’T LOOK. I looked. Poop. (Oddly insomnia can both make time stand still like molasses in a pre-global warming Arctic and fly by all at once. 2am becomes 4am in a flash.) Look, don’t look, just don’t stress. Again, there’s always tomorrow night.

Don’t be afraid of your bed. This sounds strange, as my bed is my haven. Recently however ‘hitting the hay’ has felt like prepping for 12 rounds with Ivan Drago minus the motivating montages to the tune of Survivor. If you have the luxury, take a nap in bed during the day and remind yourself why you love your bed. Ahhh, nice bed.

GOOGLE AT YOUR OWN RISK. All roads lead to cancer. Don’t torture yourself.

Ok, here goes, I’ve always kinda thought therapy was needy, self-indulgent phooey. That’ll learn me. The beauty of irony I love so dearly, it’s always ready to smack my butt off the leather chaise longue. Talk about it. Friends, family or a professional, who am I to judge? You’ll find you’re probably not alone.


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