A Travellerspoint blog

The trouble with dreams*

I probably dream about all sorts of exciting and exotic things and am periodically a superhero. Actually, scrub that. I probably dream of sheep, London bus routes and comparisons between the drying abilities of glossy and matt paint. But either way, I just don't know. I have often marveled at how people can remember often bizarre dreams in great detail, and then regale them to friends or colleagues hours or even days later. I can't do that, so as far as I know, everybody else could be making all the bunkum about their dreams up. For myself, I can generally tell you within about 10seconds of waking vaguely what i was dreaming about, and within 30seconds if I had been dreaming or not. Within 90seconds of waking, it is extremely unusual that i can even remember if i had been dreaming, let alone what it may have been about if I was. The only dream in my entire life i can remember is the toilet dream (which is vaguely similar to a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon strip where Calvin dreams he has got out of bed and got to school, or, alternatively, Groundhog Day). Details are unimportant, except to say that it is an occasional recurring dream which gets longer each time i have it, and has potential to end very, very badly if I really don't wake up.

I have never been a consistent sleeper. As a young child i have a vague idea that I used to fall asleep quickly, sleep deeply and for long periods, though how much of that was actual sleep and how much was just me really not wanting to get up for school is now lost to time. Since then I have regularly struggled. I have had a couple of periods of really bad insomnia (at one point, I slept about an hour a week, which was drug induced), and even now can easily go periods of a couple of days or more without sleep if i need to. The last few months have generally seen me awaken between about 3.15 and 3.35am, for no obvious reason.

I am also generally an extremely light sleeper. I have such an inbuilt paranoia complex that anything moving in the room/area where I am sleeping will pretty much wake me, even if it is something insignificant like a s0dding mosquito. The average person, apparently takes 8minutes to fall asleep. Some – like Hanna, her of the Namibian adventures – are pretty much out from the second they hit the bed, whereas I am at the other extreme: Anything under an hour or so is good for me, and it is not unknown for me to still be sleepless 2 or 3 hours later.

And unless I am traveling (on a bus, train, boat or occasionally as a car passenger), I find it pretty much impossible to take a daytime nap, regardless of how tired i feel or how much i yawn. Even the act of lying down on my bed during the day can wake me up. It is very odd, and also kind of frustrating. And even when I am traveling, I tend to sleep much less than other passengers: I sometimes find it spooky to look around and see everybody else on my bus or train carriage asleep, and occasionally wonder if I have some inbuilt immunity to this drugged air that they must have pumped in for nefarious reasons in order to send all the passengers asleep.

But the worse for me is when I know I have to be up early for a specific reason. Take today, for example**. I had to be leaving early, and so had arranged a taxi for 5:45am and set the alarm for 5:25. The previous night, i had started to feel tired around 21:30 but for reasons unknown had ignored it and not gone to bed until after midnight. I was awake by 4am. So last night, I was determined to try and get some sleep and not make the same mistake. Thus I was in bed by 22:15 and even fell asleep quite quickly. And so it was that I woke up several hours later, happily refreshed and ready for the day, and a few minutes before my alarm was due to go off so as not to wake the others in the dorm. Perfect, I thought.

Until i looked at the time. 00:11, it said.

  • I have shamelessly stolen the title from The Eels, and in fact got the idea for this utterly irrelevant post after re-hearing the song. So blame them. But not too badly. I love that song (and can even envisage where it should go in a film soundtrack: In fact I have long had pretty much an entire film soundtrack in my head, where i can see what should be playing at certain scenes. All I need to do now is write a damned film script that draws them altogether – which will be tricky as they are diverse – and i'm pretty much onto a winner).
  • * Yes, I know that by the time I actually get around to posting this thing, it won't be today, or probably even this week. But, honestly, who cares.

Posted by Gelli 15:24 Archived in Kenya Tagged health_and_medicine

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