While her husband snores peacefully beside her, Mariella Frostrup, like women everywhere, is wide awake – mind spinning. But why? And what can she do about it?
It is 3am. I know because I’ve checked the clock three times since I crept to the loo at 1.45am. Within minutes of my return to bed I feel the delicious fog of slumber evaporate, my heart rate rises and my brain begins its relentless scan for topics to keep me engaged. Occasionally, I get a laugh out of what I dream up as a priority worry; more often I’m shocked by the banality. A thank you note I failed to send a year ago; the small part for a kitchen appliance I keep forgetting to order; whether I booked Ocado for Friday; whether Stormzy will agree to talk to me about his favourite books; the shirt my son needs; guilt because I didn’t call my friend with breast cancer; where to go on summer holidays; how to get the car to its service in Yeovil; why the person I discussed documentary ideas with hasn’t replied; did I book a blowdry on Tuesday? And where has that blue dress gone?
I look at the clock again, it’s 3.15am and I’m getting closer to the moment when I’m going to have to medicate or resign myself to staying awake. Now adding to my copious preoccupations: what do I have to do in the morning? Can I afford to be exhausted or should I resort to the cornucopia of drugs and sleep aids crammed into my bedside drawer? While I attempt to follow the cognitive behavioural therapy advice I’ve been given and count my breaths – five in, five out – to restore my equilibrium and compartmentalise the turmoil, my husband snores deafeningly beside me.