F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that the worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not be able to and last night, as I lay awake in bed, listening to the sweet strains of what was either late night construction work or my neighbour dismembering a body with a chainsaw, I thought he had a bloody good point.
When I was younger I had real problems with sleep - I would lie awake for hours just staring at the bunk bed above me, bored and anxious and knackered but unable to drop off. At the time I fantasised about moving to a part of the world where it was light for half for the year, thus (in my mind) negating the need for sleep during those months.
Hopefully it’s not necessary to add that I don’t feel quite the same these days, or at least my grand plans are a tiny bit smarter. I do still have a slightly unhealthy relationship with bedtime and resent the demands of my quickly-tiring body but, generally, the bed and I get along quite well. I may still not be a huge fan of the need to go to sleep but imagine the alternative: a world without sleep.
Even were such a thing physically possible I think a lot of people would go mad. And probably pretty quickly too. In theory, of course, we could all get a lot more done if we didn’t have to spent 6-9 hours tucked up in our doonas but sometimes a little sleep is exactly what you need. Drifting into a (possibly drug-fuelled) sleep when you’re ill feels fantastic because all you want to do is get out of your wretched body for a few hours. Similarly, on the worst of bad days, imagine crying yourself to sleep… only to not go to sleep at all.
Total pants, I say, so we may as well enjoy what we have - even if it does involve long nights sometimes and the terrible feeling of still being awake at 3am and knowing you have to get up at 6am. To either the hard work construction dudes or my murderous neighbour I say: please, please shut the fuck up.