Sleep Paralysis

The Howling Stump.

This photo, from 2009 is of a hawthorn tree in Leicestershire. I used to pass it on cycle rides to Market Bosworth but it was only visible in the winter when the hedges were clear of leaves. It looks to me like it belongs in a story of haunted houses.

Sleeping can reveal that I am aware of how my mind deals with sleeping or waking. Falling asleep is like flicking a switch, the switch has to do several things at once. It will switch off hearing and bodily movement. The mind has to do the opposite switches when we wake up. Something seems to break the sequence when we’re in REM dream sleep.

Sometimes, we want to wake from a dream and have to struggle. Sometimes, we wake but the switch to allow the muscles to move doesn’t come on immediately. This leaves me in a state where I am awake but can’t move, not even to open my eyes. This is a state of Sleep Paralysis. I get this about once a year.

Fuseli Night Demon

It’s not just me, this theme has attracted artists like Fuselli. SP seems to reflect the times, demons in the past and UFO alien abductions more recently (especially in the USA where aliens ISNA more popular theme). Others have recounted the feeling of crushing or a sentient presence in the room. I don’t get any of that but the strangest I have had is a loud grinding buzzing sound inside my head.

Robotic Cicadas

9°C, calm.
03.30, sounds of the city waking filter into my room. A distant train, nearer a car starts and stocks away into the night. But a strange constant leaks through during the rather passages. A higher note that leaks out between, one that pulsates like a cicada but is clearly mechanical.
Maybe later this term I can get my sleeping habits into order. Perhaps bed down later and don’t wake so wide alert at 3.

Sound in the dead of night

9°C. Quiet.
Early morning, in the share change of sleep. It’s not quite silent- there is a man-made sound. A high pitched modulated note like a spinning metal wheel. Most probably a distant siren, its note wavering and reflecting from buildings on its journey to my ears.
Like so many nights, I probably need a banana & to read for a while.

Sunny bank holiday

11°C, sunny & light wind

This is not the way to spend a sunny but cool bank holiday weekend. I’m exhausted and am rumbled by ominous gurglings from my belly. Yes, I’m unwell. Confusingly, for a few days exhaustion has crept up; is it stress, lack of sleep or just the unwinding feeling from a lesson observation at work?

Sleep habits have evolved this year for me. Not in a good way though, no more is the solid sleep with a very early rise. I don’t get up before 5am these days. Now I lie a frustrating hour in bed wishing I could nod off at about 3am. Often, like tonight, I get up for a camomille tea in the hope that it will help.

Days, I look at the bike in the garage and lament its meagre 110 miles for the year so far. This time last year, I had clocked up over 300 and worn out the first chain.

0300 Night Watch

0°C, clear out. Orion visible

3am: often I’m awake at this time of night. It has formed a pattern like this over the past few months. I fall into deep sleep at 10pm, but wake at 3. It could be work stress adjusting my sleep cycle. Tonight is the first of my winter holiday but I will probably wake at 6, have some breakfast and then go back to bed until dawn. The routine wasn’t like this last year.