Friday, 5 February 2016

'This bed is on fire/with passionate love'

Sleeplessness, should you be interested enough to ask, continues to be not much of a problem in Suburban Mansions.

I had a brief visit from the bad fairy Insomnia several years ago when I momentarily went mad, where - it has to be noted - the inability to sleep caused most of the problems.  Chicken and egg = crazy omelette.  As my GP pointed out many, many, many years ago, the main cause of Post Partum Depression is lack of sleep.  It really can drive you bonkers.  But in this latter case we're talking seriously not sleeping, not just waking in the night, or staying up till the small hours become large ones, and the fact that the lack of sleep was being enforced rather than organic was an important added factor in the dish of despair.

When seriously insomniac, the problem was banished by hypnotic drugs which I embraced with the fervour of a new convert to Christianity at a tent revival.  Addictive?  Didn't give a stuff.  I was so desperate I would have signed up for a week in a coma just to experience that wonderful oblivion and the respite from being awake and suffering.  The pill regime lasted a month and I was lucky enough to come off them without any nasty side effects when my natural pattern of sleep re-established itself.  Well that and the Valium.  Don't run away with the idea that this is easy stuff.  It's not, and while, in a less fraught time (abandonment by partner of 25 years) watching boxed sets got me through months of bad sleep, when the panic of worse times set in, I needed the big pharmaceutical guns to get me over the hump.

But now, normal service has been resumed.  I go to bed in the Barbie plush dream palace, curled into the warm back of Saint Juliano who has mystifyingly agreed to share it with me, my head resting on charity shop silk pillowslips, and a cat or three snuggled between us, on top of us, across us.  Beside my bed there's a laptop, a phone an iphone and a kindle.  Not one of their blue lights keeps me awake.  Outside there's the orange glow of the London night and a constellation of red stars from the nearby cranes of the Imperial College building site, and none of it, not even the bright moon as it sweeps across the sky, even permeates my consciousness.  In the summer, the flocks of parrots roosting on the nearby scrubs chirp at dawn, and if I hear them at all I merely think 'how lovely'.  The sun bangs on the window but I pay it no heed.

If I wake to pee, I go back to sleep almost instantly and it would all be perfect if not for one thing...

Just as I find someone to share my slumber, it appears I gravely disrupt theirs.

Because, reader, I snore.

I snore like Concorde breaking the sound barrier, like a garbage truck toiling up the road, like a high speed train carrying nuclear waste barreling up the line, like juggernauts overtaking slow lorries on a steep hill.  I know this for two reasons.  Firstly, I have, on occasion woke myself up snoring on trains, cinemas (I know - CRINGE) and once, a plane, and can tell by the fact that, when traveling Club, I go to sleep on good terms with the person next to me in seat 1B, who refuses to meet my eye when we wake up together the next morning.  Or at least, when I wake up.  He probably hasn't had any sleep at all.  And secondly, I know I snore because Saint Juliano keeps on digging his elbow into me to try, in vain, to get me to shut up.  Occasionally I've woken and found him wresting the pillow out from underneath my head.  He claims, this is because I snore less if I lie flat - though other sufferers say they benefit from sitting more upright.  I sometimes wonder if he's really just going to put it over my face.

So he pokes, and he prods, and he shakes and he hisses, and I get cross, and groggy, and tell him I'm already awake, because it often feels that way, when in fact I'm just talking in my sleep - my snorey, snorey sleep.

He has two sets of earplugs, one that muffles everything, including Armageddon, and another set that allow him to hear the alarm go off, but still be bothered by the snoring.  If he wears the first he doesn't wake up for work.  If he wears the second it's lose, lose, lose, and I get battered.

I honestly don't know how he puts up with me.  I'm not even that good in bed.

So I'm off to the Sleep Clinic at Charing Cross in June to spend a night in hospital and see if there's anything they can do to stop St Juliano killing me before the sleep apnea that - I at least - am unaware of, kills me first.

However, if I do happen not to wake up one morning, just check the pillow doesn't have a face shaped indentation in it first before you assume I choked to death on my own snores.