You may think that sacktime is a blissful and cherished thing, but for some of us it can be agonizing


I’ve denied it for years, but it is said that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So here you have it: I, Ian Lidster, am an insomniac.

I daresay I know I am all sorts of other disagreeable things, but right now my primary concern is that I have been undergoing bouts of sleeplessness.

My nights too often of late have gone like this: Hit the sack at about 9:30 because I’m beat by then. Read for about 10 minutes until my eyes glaze over; douse the bedside lamp and head off to dreamland. And then, about 2 a.m. my bladder lets it be known that it’s needs must be attended to. Shit. That means I’ll get up to pee then head back to my bed and there I will too often lie, and lie, and lie, and Morpheus will pay no visit for the rest of the long and lonely night.alarum

And then, finally, after about 4:30 I say to hell with it and get up – unwillingly, but by that point I am bored and frustrated so no point in being there any longer.

So, it’s very rare that I have bedtime insomnia – like Wendy has – just the early morning variety. Needless to say due to our different nocturnal schedules for our respective sleepless bouts, we rarely share a bed. Not that we don’t love each other to bits, just that we love sleep even more and if the movements, snoring or flailing out by the other individual thwart that we are more comfortable being in different rooms. We’re realists and reality can thwart romance.

It’s scant consolation to me on a sleepless night to think about famous insomniacs like Winston Churchill, or Mark Twain or Margaret Thatcher. I mean, look what happened to all of them – they died. Churchill used to go from room to room in his big house until he found a bad in which he could nod off. Considering his prodigious intake of brandy every evening I am surprised he had sleep problems, but I guess at the height of World War Two he had a few things on his mind each night.

It is my opinion that insomnia should only be visited on the truly evil, but I suspect they all sleep like babies and leave insomnia to the morally righteous – like me, for example.

I have truly never been a good sleeper. Even when I was an adolescent and would stay up – according to old diaries that I still possess – to about the hour at which I arise now, I rarely slept in on weekends past about 9 am.

There are two times in which I have no trouble falling asleep. One is when I lie down in the afternoon, ostensibly to read my book. Then I’m gone within about 10 minutes. The other is when I am sincerely trying to squeeze in the last 10 minutes of a TV show I am watching sometime after nine pm. I try and I try and end up missing big chunks of it.

You’re sleeping,” Wendy will say. That statement irks me for some reason as it suggests I am weak, so I immediately deny it even though I was snoring beside her on the sofa.

So, I trundle off to bed trying to keep sleep angst at bay – the angst that suggests that since I slept badly the night before this night is going to be deja-vu all over again – and prepare myself for the 2 am pee-time awakening.


12 responses to “You may think that sacktime is a blissful and cherished thing, but for some of us it can be agonizing

  1. I completely sympathize as I have the same problem…

  2. I and a few of my friends all suffer from insomnia. When I work (3 days a week) it can play hell on my day. I have found myself typing away at the computer at work and then I guess I doze off and the rolling chair jolts me awake. One day I will fall out completely! “The chair suddenly bucked like a bronco and threw me off!” See if they believe that one.
    On days off I can have the luxury of sleeping in or whenever I need to grab a few winks. Usually I doze off and not even realize it!! I, too, have missed the endings of shows due to this!

  3. It has been indoctrinated in most of us since youth – go to bed at the same time, fall asleep & awake refreshed. During my 30 year career days I suffered from not getting a good 8 hour uninterrupted sleep pattern. on occasional occasions watching the clock stressing I HAD to be up by 7:00 AM; upon retirement I tried a regime of once again setting regular bed times and wake times; during the past 4 years sleep is sporadic. I used the good old principle of “acceptance”‘ meaning, ok, so I don’t have a “schedule” per se if I am awake might as well get up. I have never had the good fortune to be able to take naps, many do, I have tried, doesn’t work for me. When I do wake up at 4:30 and can not go back to sleep; I self talk ok, get up, do some housework, get energetic; doesn’t happen, move from bed to my most precious reading chair; relax knowing I may not be sleeping but I am resting. I have to totally practice quieting my mind; (not meditating) just enjoying the dark quiet time knowing, and acknowledging this is “my” quiet time, it is perfectly acceptable not being a morning person. s At this part of my life I am experiencing somewhat of a luxury schedule; and only have my dog to be accountable to for schedule; I gave up on a regular sleep pattern, cause it just cause me to be anxious, so I sleep when I can & doze when I can & go with the flow. One resentment I do have however, are those lovely people who can simply sit on the chesterfield and drop off for a quick 3 hour sleep, get up & go right to bed until 8AM. Your not alone Ian & take comfort in knowing as we get older we need less sleep, so they tell me. Margaret

  4. Yep, insomnia truly sucks. I have it off and on, but only since I hit my mid-forties, and that REALLY sucks, because I used to be SUCH a good sleeper! Well, maybe tonight I’ll sleep all night long …

  5. I usually make it to 4:30 before waking up. I know then that sleep will elude me until at least 6:00. I fall into a deep and blissfull sleep then, only to have the f-ing alarm go off at 6:30. This happens four or five nights a week. We share a curse, Ian. The up side is, I have read many books in those hours.