Episode 1: The Benefits of Insomnia

Episode 1: The Benefits of Insomnia

Emily tells me she only sleeps for two hours at a time at night. She is conditioned to wake up. The words still fresh in my mind from the young pregnant doctor in Mike Leigh’s thought-provoking film Another Year, I listen to them again as they spill from my lips.

‘Insomnia is not an illness, it is a symptom.’

Emily lived at sea on a forty-foot sail boat for six years, so I’m not surprised it’s taking her body a long while to readjust, that and the unfortunate hostage experience which ended it all, her life spared but not her boat.

Seize an Insomniac Moment

Not only am I not an insomniac, I rarely dream or recall them, something Emily tells me she practises every night in the constant presence of her mother, a woman who hasn’t lived for more than eleven years now. I think about that and conclude that my days are so filled with dealing with the ever demanding present, that my mind must spare me from such night journeys into a fabricated past or alternative future. I know that when I do remember a dream, it is often worth writing down, such is its novelty.

Uncharacteristically, I couldn’t sleep this morning so I was doing what I do when I’m neither dreaming nor sleeping, having wake-dreams, which aren’t really dreams because I am consciously imagining them, creating dream-like semi-realistic scenarios.

In this morning’s dream scenario, I was writing this story in my head and thinking how sad it is that I don’t have the time I had when I first arrived in France, to spend endless hours writing, reading and learning from them both.  And then I thought Insomnia! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of lying here thinking about it, I raised this dormant body and took it off to write.

The story has reached a significant turning point so we are sharing it while it remains in the present and is not relegated to a distant nostalgic past, when I will no longer be thinking about it in the same way and unlikely to be dreaming either.

And now my daughter is collaborating, depicting my not sleeping state seconds before seizing that opportunity of a rare insomniac moment.

Next up:

Episode 2: We are not living in France!

 of A Silent Education: Our Quiet Challenge in Provence

Previous Episodes:  Intro

10 thoughts on “Episode 1: The Benefits of Insomnia

  1. I used to think isn’t it nice if I only need to sleep for less than few hours so that I could stay awake to complete what I have to do? Unfortunately I belong to one of those group of people who needs 8 to 9 hours sleep. I look forward to getting old and not having to sleep so much. I’m in my middle ages and the time has yet to come.

    I do envy Albert Einstein. He doesn’t need to sleep very much and look what he has achieved? 🙂


  2. Pingback: A Silent Education: Our Quiet Challenge in Provence « Word by Word

  3. Pingback: Episode 2: We are not living in France! « Word by Word

  4. I’m like JoV. Even if I get a good 6 or 7 hours, that’s not always enough to leave me feeling refreshed and awake when I get up in the mornings. For instance, last night I got less than 6 hours of sleep, came home after a half-day at work, and read a little of my book before passing out on the couch for four hours. I didn’t feel all that great when I woke up, either, but I made myself get up so I wouldn’t ruin my chances of sleeping for the night.


  5. Pingback: Episode 3: The Benefits of Contra-Indicated Essential Oils « Word by Word

  6. Ahh, insomnia. My five month old is giving me a run for the money with getting up 2-4 times every night. It’s kinda crazy what it does to you. Crazy dreams, no patience during the day, frustration, moments of inappropriate laughter because my brain seems to be completely misfiring. But yes, sometimes it’s a great opportunity to actually be productive. 🙂


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