In Praise Of Sleeplessness

The Pearly Gate angels never sleep neither

For some years now, I have been an insomniac. I have self diagnosed this as being down to chronic illness (type 2 diabetes), sleep apnoea, being  a bit overweight, and being a generally idle blighter.

It used to worry me greatly that I would find myself wide awake at 2am local time, with no hope of getting back to sleep before getting up for the day job. I’d go to work feeling sleepy, and soldier on before drowsiness set in. By the time I got home, I would be only fully fit for a fitful snooze. The wife and kids got to see me less and less. Thankfully I am at that stage in family life where my absence makes their hearts grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt. I also began to believe that I was turning into Rip van Winkle, though I kept shaving.

Just lately however, I have become aware that I am not the only one who suffers with this involuntary lifestyle. Thanks to the internet, I have discovered that many other people are nighthawks like me. Witness: other UK citizens commenting on blogs in the wee small hours of every night. As never before, the web shows us how the whole earthbound human race is throbbing with life 24/365.2425.

Call me a slow learner, but I have finally learned that life is always going on, even while everyone else sleeps. The critically ill, and mothers in labour have no respect for office hours. I have managed to turn my gifted affliction to everyone’s advantage. I now volunteer to do the unpopular night shifts at work, much to the relief of my younger colleagues. If you cannot sleep, why not get paid for it?

The other advantage is that in the quiet and solitude of the night, I am better disposed towards prayer, contemplation and meditation. I have also written my best work in the hours after midnight.

Thank you Lord for my sleeplessness. You make goodness flow from even the hardest things, like water from a rock.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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5 Responses to In Praise Of Sleeplessness

  1. This a lovely story. It goes to show that we do not always know what is best for us.


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Perhaps you’re not an insomniac, Bro, but a relic or vestige of the Middle Ages, before artificial lighting was ubiquitous and when anthropologists who have studied the matter believe people had what is described as a bimodal sleep pattern. Even in our day, with artificial lighting allowing us to perform daytime activities, such as blogging at 3:00 a.m. (blush), persons with strong circadian rhythms, might still be the beneficiaries of this primitive practice (aka: ‘first’ and ‘second’ sleeps) instead of being true insomniacs. Bimodal sleep is common in animals and is considered a survival mechanism. In the wilds, for animals to sleep a solid 6 or 7 hours is to invite death at the claws and jaws of larger predators.
    For those who suffer from sleep interruption due to nasal stuffiness brought on by hayfever and/or dry air, I’ve found that burning a pure beeswax candle (as opposed to a paraffin ones) by my bedside for a half hour or so before lights out is very helpful. The burning beeswax charges the surrounding air with negative ions, thus causing dust and pollen to drop to the floor.


  3. Toad says:

    Will try the interesting candle therapy, JH. Might help.
    Having small problems with ageing.
    And it sounds scientific.


  4. Toad says:

    You tell ’em Jussi.


  5. mithriluna says:

    God bless you. You are thankful even for your trials.


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