Earlier this week, I couldn’t get to sleep. At all.
I had a productive day in the office brainstorming a tonne of ideas and, by the time I left, we had bedded down some pretty exciting plans, timelines and new projects.
That night, as I lay in bed, even more ideas swirled around my brain. It was as if someone has turned on an idea hose and I had no idea how to turn it off.
On one hand, I was so excited by this that I just wanted the calendar to fast forward so I could work on them all! On the other, I was annoyed they didn’t wait till a more reasonable hour to invade my mind.
Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep. This is an anathema to me because I’m the sort of person who can usually go to sleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I can sleep on planes, trains, automobiles, even at the opera while the soprano is hitting a high C. I am what you would call a Very Good Sleeper.
So being unable to doze off is a very frustrating experience. I tossed. I turned. 1am. 2am. 3am. I counted sheep. I tried to block the ideas from my mind. All to no avail.
I realised that I could stay in bed wide awake, totally restless. Or I could … get up and watch Downton Abbey Season 3.
I came to my senses and told myself: “Watching the shenanigans of the Crowley family and their servants isn’t going to help you get to sleep. You’re only going to have half a chance if you’re horizontal.”
By 3.30am, I gave in. But I resisted the temptation of putting the DVD into the player. I know what happened to me during the DVDs of Season 1 and 2. That show is like crack. Once you start, you just cannot stop. And I figured that starting an entire season at that hour of the morning wasn’t the smartest idea. Especially as I had to go to work the next day.
Apparently, stroking your pets is supposed to relax you. That’s good because I have five to choose from (Rex, Rocky, Rambo, Dougal and Groucho for the uninitiated). I found Rocky (cat) in the loungeroom, grabbed the cat brush and started to brush his hair, which he loves. I was hoping that his purrs would lead me into some kind of meditative state. But alas, by 4.30am, I still wasn’t remotely sleepy. However, I did have a perfectly groomed cat.
By then, I was going a bit nuts. I was transitioning from the frustration of not being able to get to sleep to the anxiety of knowing I’d only get a couple of hours rest before having to start a new day.
Getting desperate, I figured it was time for other measures. My friend Sue had previously suggested that I download an app called Smiling Mind. It guides you through short meditations with the aim of trying to help you relax. I found my iPhone and completed a session. Still awake.
It was time for some herbal help. (No not THAT kind of herbal help). I wandered into the kitchen and found the new herbal tea I bought last weekend. It’s called “Relax”. Methinks my subconscious knew I would need it.
I unwrapped the brand new pretty teapot I purchased at the same time and decided that this was as good a time as any for its maiden brew.
Ok, here’s the thing about me and tea. I’ve never made tea in a teapot before. True story.
I’ve always made tea in teabags. But the fancy teas with the fancy names never come in freaking tea bags. And I figured it was probably high time I owned a fancy teapot (hence the tea shopping excursion last weekend).
I suppose that it wasn’t the smartest thing in the world to attempt to figure out the teapot at 5am after a night of no sleep. But I was getting desperate here and I really wanted what that tea was promising. To “relax”.
I realise that many of you might wonder what there is to figure out when it comes to a teapot. Well, let me tell you: where to put the tea of course! The helpful lady in the store had clearly sensed my virgin status (possibly because I said to her: “I know this is a dumb question but … where do you actually put the tea?”) and she sold me a little mesh ball thing. “You just put the loose leaves in there dear,” she said, patting my hand reassuringly.
So I started to do just that. But then I was faced with another dilemma: How MUCH tea are you supposed to squash in that little mesh thing?
Turns out, not much. And, as found out much later when I called the store for advice, you’re not meant to squash it in at all. But I didn’t know this at the time. Keen to “relax”, I figured I needed a bigger “dose”. So I compacted as many leaves into that mesh ball as I could. I soon discovered that this was not a good idea.
The result? I felt like I was drinking mulch from the garden. Not relaxing. (But do you like my new teapot?)
By 5.30am, I had to make the decision about whether to persist in my vain attempts to get to sleep, or just stay awake and start the new day.
Stuff it. Who needs sleep? I whacked Downton Abbey Season 3 into the player. While listening to the music of the familiar opening credits, I grabbed my notepad and pen to jot down a few of the ideas that had been swirling around my brain.
They poured onto the page, falling out of my brain with relief. Clearly, this was something I should have done hours ago.
Of course, by the time I had bullet pointed my ideas, the first scene in that great manor house was underway. And guess what? … I was sleepy.
But by then, it was too late. That show. It’s like crack. I couldn’t stop.