When Insomnia knocks at the door

1:09 PM

Are you a toss n turner? Do you wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep for hours? If so, welcome to the club.

I am an insomniac, not the chronic type that dread bedtime, fortunately. I'm however regular enough at that game of let's wake up at random in the dead of night. It can happen several time a week at its peak, and still a couple of time enough in a month for me to remember what it feels like.

I've been at it for as long as I can remember. As a child, it was exciting, mostly because I was up at a time I was not supposed to. There was something mysterious and probably magical about that time in the dead of the night, and my parents never got to know I was awake. I would just peek through the gaps in the blinds, observing the stillness outside. Then lay down in bed making up stories in my mind until I fell back asleep.
And despite the fact I was starting school at 8, it was still manageable then, school wasn't very demanding until I turned 12.
The teenage years were a whole different ball game, I was chronically late to school, and finding myself struggling in every topics that were served to us before 10 am. It wasn't even that I was going late to bed at night, it is just that my body clock is incompatible with societal norms.

The early bird gets the worm must be the most ridiculous idea I ever hear. This notion that only those who get up at the break of dawn can have a life of success and triumph. Last time I checked, owls get to feast on mice all night long, who needs a worm then?
I am of that lot that can't be productive at sunrise, that doesn't mean I am lazy or unproductive. The years I had the freedom to work on my own timetable, freelancing from home were the best and most productive years of my life. Back then, bouts of insomnia did not feel so crippling. I had the freedom to work around them, sleeping a bit longer in the morning, getting about with my daily life later, and still clocking in enough work hours. Insomnia has alway felt great when the pressure to be an achiever of the dawn age was lifted.

Heck, I often gets great ideas in the dead of the night. Ideas I would not get otherwise.

Sadly, my timetable isn't too compatible with the system. And even less so with a child that despite being born from two night owls is an absolute lark. I am back to dreading these nights of light sleep again. Waking up at 2am to go back to sleep at 4-5 feels daunting. I inevitably know that I'll be up at 6 again. Against my will and better judgement, forced to act remotely productive and doing a half backed job of faking it.

This week has been a rough one when it came to sleep, and as a result, the nice planning of blog posts I had on paper pretty much went out the window. A couple of nights of no good sleep in a row left me in a zombie-like state. A state widely incompatible with creativity that left me dry.

Gone is the plan of editing pictures for coming post, out the window the home decor post I was planning to draft yesterday and post today. I turned to my personal diary full of insomnia fuelled rambling to make up for it.
One day, I might even whip up a series of tip to make these nights easier...because I do have some. All veteran light sleeper do have them, and some of them do actually work.

One of them being to take it easy during the day. So on these "wise" words, I'll take a bow and practice what I just preached.

You Might Also Like


  1. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Happy basant panchmi (Saraswati pooja) to you and family. May goddess Saraswati bless you with knowledge. Today it is happy day for bengali children as they are forbidden from studies. It is also the official beginning of the academics of a bengali child. Books are placed are the feet of the goddess . The priest holds the hands of the child, draws an alphabet on the slate thus seeking the blessing if the goddess. I think your in laws too have a ceremony of worshipping the pen.

    On insomnia, I a bit of an insomnia myself. I guess our tribe is rising. This is due to the over stimulate state of our mind. It refuses to log off and keep on searching like a hyperactive search engine. Insomnia may be indication of stomach trouble and other such ailments. Insomnia also have dear if sleep as if they would loose control. I think one glass of hot milk is a cure for insomnia if you are not lactose intolerant. Yoga and parayanama us also very good to sooth the nerves.

    I was not an early bird like u but I do admire those who rise early. Then there are engineering and medical students who study at night and sleep in the morning. You need to be crazy to achieve success. To each his own.

    I often wonder whether blog writers are able to detach themselves from their blogs and the resultant discussions. Must be a mental overdrive for them.


    1. Thank you, yes my in laws worship pens on Diwali.

      Insomnia for me is more often than not my mind just overflowing with thoughts and ideas. That picture above is my brain dump, I have quite a few notebooks I use to organise my thoughts. When there is too much of a clog, I write anything that goes through my mind in a notebook, some ideas are actually good enough to use later on.
      In Switzerland we drink herbal and fruit teas that have no actual tea in them at bedtime, I think it has the same soothing effect as milk. I am happy to find a few options of these caffeine less brew here in India. In Switzerland they are a massive market.
      i also read somewhere a few years ago that a crash in blood sugar mid sleep can suddenly jolt you awake. And it is recommended to have a dinner higher in protein than carbs to ensure a steady blood sugar during the night as protein rich food break down at a much slower rate. Sure enough the nights I wake up feeling hungry are night after I had a carb heavy meal. I usually eat a cube of cheese or some sliced chicken ham on these nights and it helps a lot. I can really tell the difference between a blood sugar crash insomnia and a mind got wild one :-)

      My blog is constantly on my mind, you are right. The reason why I have now more than one notebook around :-)

    2. Anonymous4:05 PM

      The blood sugar levels generally go down in early hours of morning. My mother who was diabetic used to get up sell sweaty when her sugar levels went down at night. It is called hyperglycaemia I suppose. The body feels weak. I used to keep sugar and biscuits by her side so that she could grab something to eat instantly. In her condition moving around to search for food was dangerous. To avoid it one must eat milk/biscuits just before going to bed so that sugar gradually dissolves in blood.

      Sometimes if you inject more insulin by mistake it also brings down sugar level. Insulin also has two varieties one is the fast acting one and the other which acts over a longer period. Sometimes when sugar levels go up u have to take shorts of insulin over several hours and keep on checking with glucometer. It is a constant struggle. If you get frequent bouts of sugar level falling at night u should consult doctor.

      I also think that u should avoid tension as it the single most important reason for increase in sugar levels and of course hypertension which comes as a free gift with diabetic. You should be very very careful. I speak from experience.


    3. It doesnt happen that often to me, my insomnia is more stress and sleep cycle rlated, but yeah the few times I woke up because of low blood sugar, the first sign was feeling sweaty, not dizzy as such. Sugar level crashes during the night is something that can affect everybody, but those with insulin related issues are more at risk. The night time is supposed to be the restorative period for the body, and a constant regular flow of energy is needed at this time. If for a reason or another this flow is interrupted, the adrenal glands kick in and pump cortisone into the blood stream to wake up the person, and prompt them to go eat something.
      This is why it is advised to eat low GI food beore bedtime, they break down much slowlier and release a steady flow of glucose into the blood.

      Growing up my grand ma used to say that dinner had to be richer in protein than in sugar because the body would need these to rebuild during the night. Turns out she was right all along, and that on top of it protein food do conatain sugars that will release much slowlier in the blood. The Swiss traditional dinner is eaten around 6-7pm and consist of cheese, cold cuts of meat and a little bread, it is then topped by that famous cup of fruit tea right before bed, probably to ease digestion too.

      In India, I do dal with not much else for dinner from time to time, it feels like a nice soup to me, then if I feel slightly hungry right before bed, add a cup of yogurt. I avoid rice and starch in big quantities in general, and restrict them even more come dinner. The traditional dal-chawal-sabzi-roti is way too much for my system to handle, if I have anything with dal, it's roti because at least it is whole wheat, and if there are veggies, they are without potato.


Blog Archive