Sleep Disturbs My Dreams

Sometimes I feel like I can dream in Black & White. Perhaps it isn’t so much dreaming, more conjuring images and situations, usually cricket-related, but it is as though I have put a filter over the way I ‘see’ in my mind and it is then possible to be on the field with Archie MacLaren – perhaps he’s calling me up to be third slip in the English team or perhaps it’s a county game for Lancashire and he’s moving me around finer, to cover a potential leg glance. Or maybe I’m batting with Victor Trumper on the 1902 Ashes tour. It’s just imagining what a moving image might be like, based on still imagery in photographs, but sometimes I can really imagine myself in them. I’m never the centre of the action, and wouldn’t want to be when there are stars from a century ago strutting around, performing, not sledging much, as they didn’t then – in fact they were polite to each other and often very good friends. But it does feel like I have my own personal footage machine in my head and I can watch W.G. Grace batting from the other end or possibly even bowl to him.

And that’s very cool. So cool in fact that it’s a distraction, for although this sounds like it would be a perfect way to drift off to sleep, being in the crowd at Canterbury as Frank Woolley punishes wayward bowling or watching Gilbert Jessup make a half century in fifteen minutes, it isn’t. It engages my mind so actively that it does not induce sleep and in fact is not conducive to anything at all – except itself: daydreaming about Golden Age cricket. This is a shame, as it can be fun to do. But when you just aren’t a very good sleeper, it’s best to accept that that is the case and work with the lot you have.

Recently Laetitia and I have experimented with sleep enhancing products. To call them sleeping pills would be misleading. They aren’t medication, aren’t prescribed, and they don’t knock you around as much as I have seen the effects of the proper strong stuff. They’re more like of herbal supplements. They have active ingredients including Magnesium, Zizyphys, and Valerian. They seem to have had some effect for both of us – Laetitia is possibly even a worse sleeper than I am – and we feel like getting to sleep is easier to do and staying asleep is a more reliable proposition. I still have trouble with getting up in the middle of the night and sleeping again after that, but things are generally better than they were.

So there’s less spending time with Archie MacLaren and more closed eyes and trying to relax. I’m never sure about what to think about when going to sleep – it seems that a train of thought is required: a thought that leads onto another thought and to another, and the mind needs to go to a place where the brain could not have predicted it would go, and this distraction almost, a planned distraction or series of them, seems to be what is helpful, but it can’t be planned, and that’s very difficult to allow to happen, and maybe this is all just true for me. It probably is. I’m sure sleep is a very personal thing and we all do it differently. I certainly am aware that some people don’t have a problem sleeping at all. But I know that I do.

I wish I had actual Black & White cricket dreams sometimes. I’d like to play cricket with Douglas Jardine. That dream would probably have some horror moments if it ever happens, but it would be fun and it wouldn’t prevent me sleeping.

Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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