Dec 06, 2023
Dec 06, 2023
There is a strange staccato when you are typing at 2 AM. The sounds of typing are amplified in the silence, a dog howls somewhere and the fan is slowly whirring away.
It feels like the house is zooming in. Do you ever feel that the house coming closer by the second, and the walls are aiding this? Objects are no longer inanimate in the night, they seem to develop a character, they are having conversations that are interrupted when a human is awake at night.
The bedroom has a beam running through the center, it gets heated up at night. It absorbs all the heat in the day and releases it in the night, making the bedroom a hotbox. Modern buildings seemed to have been designed by engineers who never understood how a heat trap works.
The entire heat of the building seems to be trapped in this room. In the Hindu faith, there is a belief that you do not sleep in a room that has a beam running through, it is considered a bad omen.
I am not sure if all of that is true, but it sure does wake you up, the heat in the room. It wakes you up at odd hours. Once you get up at such a time, you are no longer able to sleep.
I have tried all kinds of gymnastics in the past, the breathing technique, reading a book, listening to soothing music, washing my face, drinking water, counting sheep, counting cows, drinking more water, and counting frogs. When the brain does not want to sleep, it does not want to.
The source of trouble is usually something at work. Something which I tuck under the carpet during the day, but at night it wakes me up. But insomnia is not boring, once a certain thought wakes you up, you move on to the next and the next, you can actually write a book of thoughts, only I am not sure if they can be arranged in chapters or will even look like it has been written by one person.
At times you are inspired at night, but you need to tuck it away because coffee shops are never open at this time and inspiration needs coffee. Adding coffee to insomnia is adding fuel to the fire, you might be tempted when you look at the clock and it says 5:30 AM but remember your body has not woken up yet. This is an alien invasion that is forcing you to be aware of the next day before you actually have to.
Insomnia is also contagious. Take my dog for instance, she always has a disturbed sleep when I have insomnia, maybe it is the lights and the staccato of the keyboard, but she has a serious case of insomnia.
Lucky for her she gets to sleep through the day. Also, she has no concept of night or day or a fixed sleep cycle. So, if she had insomnia, it would take us months to diagnose it. I cannot even make out if she has dark circles because her eyes are surrounded by brown rings naturally.
At night there will be times when insomnia will trick you into believing that you are tired, that the time is ripe for that blissful sleep. But right when you hit the bed, the urge to wake up and do something will be back. The harder you try, the more difficult it is to sleep. The best way to handle insomnia is to not fight it. You let it ruin some days and in exchange, it will let you sleep on some.
It is a give and take, and for a writer, it can be a boon. Throughout the day you can keep coming up with excuses for not writing, but when you are awake at 2 AM in the night, you run out of them. Whether you choose to read or write or count sheep is a personal choice, but writing seems like an effective cure for Insomnia.
I started typing, and mid-way through this piece I dozed off. I waited for Insomnia to come back so that I could finish this but looks like she did not arrive at my convenience. So, I write in broad daylight, and I hope she does not visit anytime soon.
Image of Women in Bed (c) istock.com
Image of dog (c) author
More by : Nitya Muralidharan