Insomnia is not new to me. My earliest recollections of not being able to sleep at night are during my graduation studies. I was ill for sometime and I assumed that it was because of the medicines that I was not able to sleep. In agony I would listen to the orchestral snores of the sleeping girls in the hostel which finally gave way to the chirping of the birds at the crack of dawn. But subsequently, even when I was fully healthy, I continued to have insomniac attacks now and then. And I still do.
I have done some research on insomnia. My case is actually transient. It is not permanent or anything severe. Basically, people get sleepless nights when they are worrying about something, excited or even too tired. the most agonizing part of not being able to sleep is that more you worry that you are not sleeping, the more sleepless you get. If there is someone else in the house and hear that they are sleeping peacefully, the more mad you get. Growling stomachs also do not help your cause. So if you feel hungry while not sleeping, it is better if you get up and snack on something.
A couple of years back when I was down with viral fever and visited a physician, I consulted with him about my transient insomnia. To my surprise and secret delight, he too was a victim. He advised that one should go to bed after supper as soon as possible because the best sleep comes right after consumption of food. If you sleep late, it is better if you eat late. And if are not able to fall asleep, do not force yourself because it makes things worse. Instead, do something else, like read a book or listen to some music.
I confess that there had been instances of my insomniac attacks when I am angry or worried. But again, such attacks have tormented me even when I am perfectly happy and tired. And as if with the will of the devil, I have such sleepless nights only on nights when the next day I had classes or have to go to work now. Like was the case last night. I am just recovering from a lower back pain and a long day at the office had stiffened my already stiff back. All I needed was a good night’s sleep. But no, that was not to be.
I usually sleep around midnight after reading a few pages of my current novel. But last night, changing sides is all I did. I applied all my basic tactics–numbers counting, first forward and then backward (this usually works for me); counting imaginary sheep over the fence; even imagined that I am out on a starry night and started counting the stars. More than two hours had passed. I switched on the light and started reading again. When I felt that I am getting somewhat sleepy, quickly switched off the light. By then it was almost the fourth hour. Plus I was getting tired of my hourly washroom visits and water drinking. By the way, once I turn in for the night, and if I need to get up after that for anything, I go around the house without switching on the lights. That’s my specialty!
Well, then I resorted to multiplication tables. No respite. Music next. Nothing. Finally I heard the morning call for prayer. I mumbled a prayer for sleep! by then, my tummy had begun to growl pathetically. Plus I remembered that I have not sorted the vegetables I had bought the earlier evening. So I got up to do that. After putting the veggies in the fridge, I munched on a couple of biscuits and came to bed. This time I tried sleeping in the opposite direction and sadly calculated that I could catch only a couple of hours sleep if I can fall asleep right away. I just hoped that I do not have to hear the chirping birds now. But sadly enough, I had to in sometime. Anyways, I was able to sleep for a couple of hours before the alarm slapped me awake and I snoozed it back. But not for long. And I reached office late with a heavy head and burning eyes.