Monday, 2 July 2012

Sleep mysteries - what the hell is going on in my sub-conscious?

Restless nights seem to always go with being ill.  Why is this?  It would seem that this is the time that sleep is most needed.  It could be the pseudo-ephedrine in many cold and flu tablets.  I noticed the tiny warning on the packet that the drug may cause sleeplessness in some people.  No kidding.

Usually I'm a champion sleeper.  Head on the pillow, light out, I'm out.  Bombs can fall outside and I will not wake until it's time.  I put this down to many years of gruelling training at boarding school and then three years of living on campus at a university college.  It's one of the best things I gained from institutional living.  Over the last week, I've lost my form. I've found myself wide awake at 3am.  When this happens I don't fight it.  I wake up, turn the light on and read until I'm sleepy enough to go back to sleep.  

It's not just waking up this week, it's been the dreams and the night time activities.  The dreams have been really vivid.  One of them involved all of my teeth falling out, one by one.  As they fell I offered them as bloody trophies to myself as the dream watcher.  With a bloody and toothless grin.  When I awoke, I frantically ran my tongue around my mouth to ensure I still had a full complement of teeth.  I did.  

Another night the German word for rainbow - "regenbogen" - swirled around and around.  I had been considering what to do with a skein of yarn with the colour name "regenbogen".  All night, my mind riffed on this word.

This same night I got up and searched for a particular size of crochet hook.  I didn't really remember doing it, but when I saw the evidence I had the vague feeling - memory? - that it was me who had been rummaging. Imagine if I could harness this power and use it to catch up on chores that need to be done.  Imagine if it was possible to clean the shower while sleeping?  Surely this is more worthy of research and development than the super soldier who doesn't need sleep.

Last night I dreamed that I went into a cafe and stumbled on my own book group meeting without me.  It wasn't just a random meeting, it was definitely the book meeting - they each had a copy of the book we are reading in front of them.  I greeted them, saying I thought the meeting wasn't for another three weeks.  They all looked down and one of them showed the email that had been sent rescheduling the meeting.

I woke up and checked the date in my diary.  I have received no email rescheduling the meeting.

Perhaps social isolation resulting from illness plays on deep-seated insecurities about the ability to stay connected and reconnect and this is played out while I sleep.

I find dreams interesting.  I can sometimes gain a sense of what they're trying to tell me.  Other times I put them aside.  This last week has been memorable for the quantity and richness of its material.  However, I could really do with the restoration of my champion sleep style.

How's your sleep?  Do you dream?  What do you wish you could do while you were sleeping?


  1. All my life I was an good sleeper. I'm sure before my head hit the pillow I was already out. The past year or so I've had several patches where I just don't sleep. At all. The whole night. But I've managed to read lots of books. Hope your sleep returns soon! It sucks going through whole days in auto-pilot.

  2. I had nightmares last night I was being chased by vampires. They never caught up with me. I then woke up at quarter four and couldn't get back to sleep. It is now 2pm and I falling asleep. great.

    1. Stay awake John. Are you really sure the vampires can't get you during the day? It's exhausting isn't it? What had you been watching or reading before you went to sleep?

    2. I started reading The Family Fang....perhaps the vampire thing came from the word fang. Before that I skyped my brother whilst watching Sophie Mirabella not help the GetUp guy as he got down on Q&A. Is that woman Satan?

  3. Thanks SexyMom. All good last night, although I didn't turn the light out until about 12:45am. The book I was reading was just too engaging! Sleep should never be taken for granted.