April 27, 2006

I'm sleeping really badly lately. Most of the time it doesn't seem like I'm really asleep at all. I seem to hover on the edge of slumber, dipping in and out of confusing dreams, dreams so contorted that they wake me in frustration, but then float tantalisingly out of reach of memory.

They're the sort of dreams that, even for me, who's used to a little oddity in the thought processes, are starting to cause me discomfort. There are people in them in the most unlikely of situations; I'm in locations I haven't seen since childhood, or I'm in familiar ones in unfamiliar circumstances.

There's always plenty of dialogue, which as someone with a long history of talking in his sleep, will probably mean that I'll eventually be asked to wear a gag when I go to bed at night (wouldn't be the first time, etc etc; yes, yes...). I can hardly ever recall the conversations, though.

The ones I can, I try to continue when I'm awake, talking them back to myself continually, chasing the conversations to the edge of my memory, until they've disappeared, like they've dropped off a cliff edge, into dense, impenetrable blackness. Hugely frustrating.

Last night I was in bed by 10pm, which is highly unusual for me, but if you'd glugged a couple of bottles of Sandford Estate chardonnay - with a head-banging 14% alcohol content - then you'd have been out for the count, too.

Yes, I know it's not proper sleep. But it helps, believe me.

At 3.40am, however, I was awake again. So I get out of bed, find the dressing gown, and stumble down through the house to the kitchen. I chug down a pint of milk, and then pour myself another glass. The laptop is sat on the dining room table, in the dark, silently beckoning me with an invisible finger.

I log on for half an hour or so, and then wonder if the reason I'm not sleeping is because I don't give my mind a chance, because I'm never off the bloody computer.

Then something else occurs to me: we have a wireless connection in our house, the main box of which is in the attic above my room, sending signals to the laptop in the dining room immediately beneath me.

Outside my bedroom window, fixed so close that I can touch it, is the satellite dish, greedily sucking in the TV channels that stream through the air. And there's my mobile - normally next to me in the bed because it's also my alarm clock - twinkling in the gloom as it confirms it's triangulated position.

I'm not one of those people who reads every Daily Mail scare story and assumes the worst. And this post will probably play into the hands of at least one person I know who will pounce on it as proof of the benefit of her almost forager-like existence.

But as someone who in the past has experienced the exhausting and nerve-jangling sleep-deprivation brought on by drug stimulants, I reckon I'm more than qualified to describe the feeling of being wired. And that is just how I feel when I can't sleep - absolutely wired.

I've only been like this lately, too - since I moved into this house. True, I did used to be a terrible insomniac for years but since I returned from Thailand I'd pretty much got my sleeping sorted out.

Now it's back with a vengeance - but only when I sleep in this house. Everywhere else, I'm fine. And of course the more I fret about lack of sleep, the less likely I am to get any.

So maybe I'm not wired, as such, as wirelessed.

I'd love to know if there are any other people surrounded by always-on systems who have similar problems.

And if you're not, make it up anyway. It'll make me feel better.