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Dealing with Insomnia or Quarantine-induced Sleeplessness

By Mehr Sohal

I recently read an article in The Atlantic titled 'An Ode to Insomnia' by James Parker. And I truly resonated with it on a whole other level. I often find myself tossing and turning into the late hours of the night, and this sleeplessness has simply reached new levels while under lockdown– dozing off between 2 to 4 am. However, I am sure–rather confident–that I am not the only one devoid of sleep these days. Hence, the following article is guaranteed to provide some relief for the "mystical fellowship of insomniacs".

The first advice writer James Parker has to offer, is to get up. Staying in bed and over-thinking that you can't sleep merely allows uninvited stress that we can all do without. For instance, the thought of having to wake up at 6:45 am on a school day even though I am very much up and about at 3:00 am, absolutely terrifies me; leaving me grumpy, worried, and anxious. And so, the best thing one can do in such a situation is to accept that your sleep has run away into the night, as "the sea of anxiety loves a horizontal human; it pours over your toes and surges up you like a tide."

Once you're awake, Parker believes it is best to do something– eat a toast, finish some work, listen to music...anything. And while you're distracting yourself with some activity, the key is to remember that you are not alone. For how can we possibly be alone when there are millions of us spread all across the world, unable to go back to bed. This lovely thought reminds me of a poem by Rupi Kaur:

the irony of loneliness

is we all feel it

at the same time

together - Rupi Kaur

Hopefully, the thought that you belong to a special group of people who you have probably never met, but have a lot in common with brings you some solace and comfort. As you won't be the only person in school or at work tomorrow morning who bears the baggage of insomnia. To quote James, "Above the city rooftops it shimmers and flexes; it tingles over the leafy suburbs: the neural lattice of our wakefulness."


Read about sleep guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic by the official Sleep Foundation– Reserve your bed for sleep (don't work on the bed); don't spend more than 20 minutes tossing and turning; avoid taking long naps; and spend some time outside in the natural light amongst other tips.

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