The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Front Page -

Ididn’t ap­pre­ci­ate how dev­as­tat­ing sleep de­pri­va­tion was un­til I had a new­born. Night af­ter night of get­ting up to feed my son ev­ery two hours ren­dered me deliri­ous, leav­ing my phone in the fridge, putting ketchup in my tea, a half-wit­ted id­iot. Chucked in with an emo­tional cock­tail of amaze­ment, happiness and re­lief that my son had ar­rived safely, was an avalanche of anx­i­ety, ex­haus­tion and shock, all ag­gra­vated by much, much too lit­tle shut eye. The Stal­in­ists would keep their pris­on­ers awake for more than a week, slap­ping them when they dozed, mak­ing them stand. Tor­ture, pure and sim­ple.

Sharon Stephen­son is a “classic” in­som­niac. She writes in this is­sue that she’s her own worst en­emy, scrolling through emails on her phone in bed, mak­ing men­tal lists of things she needs to do, be­rat­ing her­self for stuff un­done. Switch­ing off is her neme­sis. “I’ve tried ev­ery­thing,” she says.

As Sharon knows too well, in­som­ni­acs bat­tle with their body and mind to wind down ev­ery night, ad­dling the brain, and sleep­less­ness be­comes a self-per­pet­u­at­ing saga. Can’t sleep, won’t sleep. Watch­ing the clock makes it worse, but what else can you do at 3am when desperation sets in?

Well, just get up and do some­thing else for half an hour, rec­om­mends Dr Alex Bar­tle of The Sleep Clinic. And go to bed later too, he says; it will leave time to lie awake and more time to in­vite tired­ness in. Turn off the smart­phone. Take a bath. Read. Re­lax. So far, so straight­for­ward. Why then, is it so hard? See page 11.


Cover photo:


Cat Stevens

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