A month ago I decided to spend 2 hours per night reading before going to sleep, in an attempt to overcome a crippling bout of insomnia. I decided that the best way to make myself do this- to stop myself from putting bedtime off- was to go to bed at 9pm and read for 2 hours. This would stop me from looking at TV and computer screens, and keep my eyes away from the kind of light that keeps you awake.
This was Fluffy Oakes’ suggestion, the zoological genius who had also prescribed me with a course of Zopiclone. Think Kalms on crack. It’s heavy stuff. I’ve so far taken only 3 of the bad boys, in the course of the last 6 weeks. So something must be working.
Taking Zopiclone is like the heroin hit that Renton intravenously injects in Trainspotting- you sink into what you’re lying on and are- fairly quickly- smothered out of your consciousness. An instant heaviness presses on you, and you’re compelled to lie down quickly. Then it’s lights-out for ten hours.
That was my first pill. The next two took a little longer to kick in but they worked eventually, although I didn't sleep for quite as long.
One of the hard parts of doing the reading project was actually making myself go to bed. The 9pm reminder on my phone usually beeped when I was in the middle of something, like a blog post or cleaning the kitchen, and I’d ignore it for hours. But, more often than not, I’d stick to the rules and go to bed early, and crack out a book.
I’ve hardly drank any alcohol all month (largely because most of my mates behave like responsible thirty-somethings and don’t feel the need to cruise Manchester’s bars every goddamn weekend, meaning I’ve no-one to go out with), so there’s been no risk of the Zopiclone backfiring on me: the packet recommends avoiding alcohol. I’ve definitely not drank on the nights I took the tablet.
But here we are at the end of the month, and I still had to medicate on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning!
One of the things making this project so hard is that my phone beeps every time I get a notification on Facebook or Twitter- which is a few times a night. It's too much effort to figure out how to turn them on and off every night. My phone is my alarm clock (one of two I need to get my ass out of bed) so I can't keep it in another room or put it on silent. I had to learn to keep my phone face-down next to my bed so it didn't light up the room, and learn to just ignore the occasional noises until the deafening shriek of my alarm.
So is reading working? Does it help you to sleep? Perhaps. I’d say give it a shot, provided you're using paper books and not a Kindle. That would kind of defeat the purpose, no?