I missed a day, in more ways than one. I didn’t sleep the night before. I don’t sleep much but I believe in second sleep, and I function pretty well. I’ve written about second sleep in my as-yet-unpublished book/memoir about ageing. Perhaps that’s another blog. But yesterday, the Missing Day, I could not get started couldn’t focus, dragging, as they say, my you-know-what, didn’t even realise until about an hour ago, that I missed yesterday. As I write this, it’s Friday.

This morning I was up and at ’em, trotted down to the pool and met the only other person in the building who swims as early as I do. We have a silent communion, usually, as we splash side by side. Every other day, actually; she works out in the gym on alternate days and I just keep on splashing. The electronic lock that opens the door and allows us into the pool that is, used to allow us in, at 6 a.m., gradually changed to 6:15 and more recently, to 6:30. This morning we met early and did warm-ups and talked until a click told us we could get in. So that’s how I discovered that she suffers from insomnia. I hate that world. One does not suffer from insomnia, one tolerates it, perhaps. I prefer not to label my nocturnal wakefulness as insomnia.

Blackout then. I ran out of power. ( I think my computer and I have a symbiotic relationship.)

So I left it until this morning. another day, another month. So now it’s Saturday.

 |insɒmnɪə|: noun " habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep" (online Dictionary)

somnia? No such word.

narcolepsy? -

narcolepsy: noun  "a condition characterised by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings"

...relaxing surroundings, that’s the key - like watching the Blue Jays game between crises. I know a lot of people who fall asleep while still upright and see more, on buses, in theatres and other public or semi-public places. I know one person who falls asleep when she is excited, happily excited, and I know several people who fall asleep when they are bored. No one makes a fuss about them. But wakeful people, that is, those who are wakeful at an inappropriate time, they are labelled insomniacs.

I remember years ago reading a piece in a women’s fashion magazine about the importance of beauty sleep, of sleeping for beauty and the necessity of sleep to avoid wrinkles and maintain bright eyes. The writer said people like Napoleon or Edison could get by with four hours a night but women should take better care of themselves. As an incipient feminist at the time, I resented that. Why didn’t women have the right to be sleep-deprived, too?

More recently, Ariana Huffington has become an evangelist for sleep. You can find her on a video online speaking to the converted (sleepless).

I can’t solve other people’s problems but I can accept mine, if indeed it is a problem. My father was a doctor and he used to preach just the opposite of what the sleep experts are telling you, that if you can’t sleep, don’t just lie there, get up and move around, play games (I have a sleepless friend who is an ace at Aces Up), until you are sleepy. I know people who say they don’t get sleepy,  just tired. My father used to tell his patients who came to him saying they didn’t sleep a wink last night, that they were getting more sleep than they thought, just lying there. Ar least their bodies were getting bed rest, and did they notice when they looked at the clock that time had passed without their being aware of it?.

Whose side am I on?

I think I’m okay until I have a day like the other one when I really hadn’t had enough sleep and could not get started. But maybe, just maybe, I was tired. I mean, like tired.

It  happens.