Not being able to sleep is deeply frightening. We panic about our ability to cope with the demands of the next day; we panic that we are panicking; the possibility of sleep recedes ever further as the clock counts down to another exhausted, irritable dawn.
Our societies have learnt to treat insomnia with the best applied discipline we know: medicine – in particular, with pills powerful enough to wrestle consciousness into submission. But there are other things to do besides, or alongside, medicalising insomnia. We can reflect on our sleeplessness, define it to ourselves and others, try to understand where it springs from in human nature and speculate on what it might – in its own confused way – be trying to tell us.
This book is an eloquent guide to, and companion through, the long sleepless hours of the night. We come away from its soothing pages informed, consoled and armed with insights that will make us feel a lot less alone – as we wait for sleep, eventually, to come.