I am currently suffering a bout of insomnia. It is not fun. I have had a lot of broken sleep since Christmas, but this week it’s been completely off the scale. Unfortunately, it’s not fun.

It is completely inhibiting my ability to do much at the moment. I am not one of those people who work brilliantly when they don’t sleep. I’m not going to write a novel in a week, through lack of sleep. I can’t even focus on a book for very long when it’s bad. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been struggling with a rubbish immune system this week too. I make a bloodhound look perky and awake; the bags under my eyes are a wonder to behold (you know the heaviest shopping bag you’ve ever carried? I look like I have that under my eyes- eighteen cans of catfood and a four pinter of milk all stored in my tear ducts. Nice.)

I’ve tried most things for the sleeplessness. Having a routine (or not) does not seem to help much, although I suppose that affects whether I get up in the night or not. A 6am start does tend to discourage me from getting up for a couple of hours at 1am. Baths, lavender oil, hot milk (with added whiskey!), staying away from the TV/internet before bed- all of them have a negligible affect. Maybe I shouldn’t be on Twitter for hours, but I’m not sure it plays a massive part in my lack of sleep. I need about seven hours to be firing on most cylinders. At the moment, it’s working out about three and half to four hours of broken sleep. If I’m lucky.

About six years ago, a doctor gave me sleeping tablets (the pharmacist told me she’d written double the dose I needed on the prescription, which could have ended really well.) I took one once. I felt a weird sensation- the pill worked really quickly, scarily so. I rang my now-husband and slurred over the phone to him. I needed someone to talk to me while I fell asleep, I was so freaked out. I slept a dead, foggy sleep and woke up the next morning groggy and sort of hungover. The next day I took the rest of the packet to the chemists’ to be destroyed. I vowed never to take sleeping tablets that were that strong ever again. My husband jokingly asked whether I’d called in case I didn’t wake up and, rather drama queenily, I think I did. I was young and stupid, but I was also genuinely scared.

So what am I doing to help myself now? Well, tonight is my first jive class, which hopefully will utterly tire me out. I’m also planning to take a beginner’s yoga class tomorrow if my cold doesn’t explode overnight- it’s kind of one of those annoying colds that sort of drags on with no major symptoms. It’s not annoying enough to take medicine but not benign enough to not be irritating. I’ve been trying to do a bit of yoga every day, in a bid to chill out enough to finally get some sleep.

I wonder if insomnia is genetic. My mother has suffered with it for years. I just need to try and find a solution and any suggestions would be gratefully received!