SANDI TOKSVIG on in­som­nia

A lack of goats and sheep might be to blame for Sandi’s in­som­nia – or per­haps she should lis­ten to what her body has been try­ing to tell her...

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Front Page - IL­LUS­TRA­TION CLARE MACKIE

Idon’t sleep well. It’s never re­ally been my thing. I used to lie awake at board­ing school lis­ten­ing to the mass snor­ing around me and mar­vel at the skill. Now I’m older and my bed­room is less crowded I al­most miss the noise, but I’m still not out for the count.

I know per­fectly well that the cure for in­som­nia is to get some sleep, but I’m just not skilled at it. I think I would sleep bet­ter if I didn’t have to get up so of­ten in the night. My body seems to have no idea that I’d be quite happy just ly­ing there, out cold all through the dark hours. And it’s not just my blad­der I’m bat­tling. No mat­ter what time I go to bed, around about 6am my brain wakes up and starts nag­ging me about all the things I didn’t get done the day be­fore.

I’ve con­cluded that maybe I’m get­ting my shut­eye at the wrong time. No one ever says it but maybe sleep­ing through the night is over­rated. It’s not what peo­ple used to do. Be­fore we had elec­tric light and quite so much cof­fee, hu­mans didn’t al­ways feel the need to get all their rest over and done with in one great burst. They would nap when con­ve­nient. Take the goats out for a bit and then lie down in a field for 40 winks, for ex­am­ple. I don’t do this due mainly to a lack of goats and the fact that ran­dom field sleep­ing is gen­er­ally frowned upon, but I like the con­cept.

I think what I need to be­come is a polypha­sic sleeper. It sounds good and would be a classy thing to an­nounce about one­self at par­ties, but it just means some­one who sleeps more than once in a 24-hour pe­riod. Ba­bies sleep polypha­si­cally and who doesn’t want to sleep like one of them? His­tory is lit­tered with fa­mous folk who grabbed shut­eye when they could. Ben­jamin Franklin was one and he had plenty of en­ergy. He man­aged to found the US and in­vent bi­fo­cal glasses in his spare time.

I am per­fectly ca­pa­ble of sleep­ing soundly for 20 min­utes at the wrong time. Bring me to any meet­ing about fi­nance and my eyes can barely stand the strain of stay­ing open. I think what I need to do is stop wor­ry­ing about the night-time and nap more in the day. In­deed, I feel we should all em­brace the si­esta. It’s a mar­vel­lous word that seems to en­cap­su­late sleep­ing in the sun. It de­rives orig­i­nally from the Latin hora sexta, mean­ing sixth hour. You got up at dawn, man­aged to strug­gle through six hours and then went for a quick re­fresher snooze. Ap­par­ently, your chances

of pop­ping off with heart trou­ble plum­met if you adopt the si­esta rou­tine, but it never oc­curred to me it might also be a money-mak­ing op­por­tu­nity. You could nap on a sofa or spend about £12,500 on a Nap Pod, which is a kind of chair with a hint of the den­tist’s, plus the help­ful ad­di­tion of a sort of gi­ant white mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met that de­scends for pri­vacy. They’re uber trendy but I think I wouldn’t sleep be­cause I’d lie there wor­ry­ing I’ve never re­ally been stylish enough.

There is a chain of one of those gyms you join in Jan­uary and pay for through to De­cem­ber but never re­mem­ber to go to, that is tak­ing the nap no­tion se­ri­ously. It has in­vented a Naper­cise class. It’s a 45-minute class where you turn up and have a sleep with strangers. Put that in your busi­ness di­ary and it might sound on the racy side. But let’s be clear – the class is at lunchtime and you all get your own bed in a large gym with some bloke in a tight T-shirt keep­ing an eye on you all.

It’s not for me. I’m not a group sleeper. I hated board­ing school and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sleep with the lin­ger­ing odour of plim­solls in the air – but I get the idea. I was go­ing to give it a try un­til I read that the Naper­cise peo­ple claim the class will en­gen­der a won­der­ful feel­ing they call Nap­pi­ness, which is such a hideous word that I know it will keep me awake.

All of which leaves me with count­ing sheep as an op­tion. Ex­cept that I live in the city and it may take me some time to find any.

I couldn’t sleep with the lin­ger­ing odour of plim­solls in the air

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