Night Night, Sleep Tight

I am tired. Muscle, sinew, bone: I am depleted to my core. I am tired.

This time last year, I was tired too. Reading back on my diary tells me so. It helps to remind myself this is a patten, not a symptom. I am nature. Although not rooted, I am plant in human form, I have retreated into the soil to let the sap settle. I flop in a heap by six in the evening, fit only to watch mindless television. Worry not, I tell myself, this is a feature of winter’s end. Were I to push and cajole myself, I could do more, but this time of year does not push. In January, the hellebores cling close to the ground, the snowdrops break through by month’s end, a few yellow blooms on the witch hazel, and now, the end of February, the crocuses are up. All other growth is resting, gathering strength.

Re-think: I am not tired; I am gathering strength.

I am sleeping well these days. By well, I mean nine deep, long, sound hours. It’s odd how we crave sleep when sleep is, in essence, a little death, a suspension of life, an abandonment of action, without which we would have no life. The energy-restoring, life-giving properties of the daily death; that which reduces our lifespan by one third, yet, paradoxically, adds to our end date. Lulled by the darkness, we crawl towards it, draw ourselves around it, disappear into it.

The depressed sleep is a temporary cure from the torture of waking thoughts that blacken and deaden our mind and mood. To the grief-ridden bereaved, sleep is a place of kindness where the pain of loss dissolves to dreams or a blissful abyss of nothing. To she who is sick, sleep re-binds so we may re-bound. It can be as effective a cure as medicine: bleeds sweat from us; pushes us through hallucinogenic tunnels of sleep-suspended madness; breaks the fever. I am not depressed, I am not sick, I am no longer bereaved (having moved from acute to chronic to in remission), so my sleep is that of the winter hibernation, synchronised with nature.

A dearth of sleep is, for me, much worse than a dearth of food. The latter I can adjust to, the former is a form of slow torture. Without sleep, I decline each day, fold into myself, grow shorter and weaker. Less food strengthens me; any time I have gone on less for a long period – either through force of will or, more likely, some trauma that removes all appetite – the lightness brings a certain power to my body and mind, I feel sharper all over. But on the few occasions where sleep has evaded me for any length of time, it is horrifying. I enter the cycle where being so desirous of sleep is the very thing that dissolves it, and the longing and leaves me turning and turning in bed, my thoughts churning and churning, my head burning, sleep spurning.

Night night. Sleep tight.

5 thoughts on “Night Night, Sleep Tight

  1. Sleep has been evading me for the past five years. Please tell me how you are sleeping so soundly so that I may copy you, or at very least, worship in awe.

    p.s. you going to this Sara Ahmed thing at Lighthouse?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s