The different stages of insomnia

I can’t get no sleep

Usually, you are awake during the early hours of the morning because you’re on a night out. Hours pass in flashes of low or neon lights. But what about if you simply can’t sleep – if you endure hours, tossing and turning in the half-light?

Insomniacs browse Reddit, watch Netflix documentaries and contemplate life, the universe and everything. It keeps us sane – usually. Except when it doesn’t.

Here are some of the things you’ll only know if you’re always awake during the graveyard hours.

Having to choose between a few bad hours of sleep or none at all

As anyone who has had  an early morning flight will know, it gets to a certain hour in the night when you suddenly realise you’re probably only going to be able to get a maximum of 2-3 hours of proper sleep. Such a low amount is sometimes worse than just staying awake, and makes you feel extremely groggy and dissatisfied.

Instead, if you do decide to “pull on through”, you get a surprising all-nighter buzz when you start the day, but your nice productive energy rush will be replaced by a dismal crash come lunchtime – making the afternoon struggle very real.


Still not sleeping

Spending most of your nights brushing up on your pub quiz knowledge

You will fill those small hours with strange and diverse Netflix documentaries. They’d leave you enriched and empowered, if your sleep-deprived brain manages to process any of the facts/information you’ve just learnt.

Alternatively you settle for YouTube viral videos.


Constantly worrying about waking up your fellow housemates

If you live alone, good for you. For the rest of us, however, being awake all night can be a problem if your housemates are good sleepers – worse, if they’re light sleepers. You don’t want to start a war by waking anyone up, so you have to act like a cat burglar, creeping about the house.

You can’t make a late night snack or even boil the kettle for a cheeky camomile tea because everyone else is fast asleep and you don’t want to wake them. As for a late-night shower? Definitely out of the question.


Feeling like you’ve hit middle age because you’re awake enough to appreciate the sunrise

An unexpected benefit of a sleepless night is that you get to experience things usually only seen by early-risers. The sunrise is the only time of the day where everything is perfectly still and quiet, and you can look out of your window and see the city you live in beginning to stir.

However the pleasant ambience is swiftly ruined by the horrible realisation that you’ve reached 24 hours without slumber, and are now going to have to face the day ahead without a full night’s sleep to back you up.

Getting annoyed that all of your friends don’t also stay awake until 4am

A classic first-world problem: the nightmare moment when there’s literally no-one on Facebook chat. No-one online means there is nobody – at all, in your entire world – to whom you can moan about being awake.

The only solution is to keep a load of American or Australian friends – then you’re saved, as not only will they be around for a chat, they’ll be lively enough to put you to sleep.


The annoyance of gaining an extra six hours of waking time but failing to do anything productive with it

Hollywood has popularised the notion that people who experience insomnia make great breakthroughs in productivity thanks to all those extra hours of work, free from distractions. Sadly, though, this isn’t the case in real life.

While this may seem possible at first, the initial productivity fades away, leaving with you completely unable to sustain any kind of concentration. The reality is that you spend many hours visiting obscure sections of YouTube/Netflix, or playing Call of Duty with your fellow late-night online gamers, all of whom happen to be pros.

You end up doing this for so long that, before you know it, daytime has already come – and you have nothing to show for the extra several hours you spent not sleeping.