Do you find yourself wide awake, in the small hours of the night? Here in England, in my final few days before I leave for three months in France, I find myself in my third night of insomnia. For the last two nights, I slept only at 6am through to 9am. So, I am doing this night differently, in the hope I will sleep.

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First, I have just completed 30 minutes of a combination of exercises; some to tone, some to stretch and some to burn calories.

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Why to burn calories? Well, my second step to aid my sleep is to eat! In this case, a little pizza! Yes, the surge of sugars in food can keep me awake but I know myself well and if my metabolism has to kick into action at night, it makes me sleepy.

It is not a healthy step, for I will hold more calories by eating late but with the added exercise activity, which also will have tired me, I figured it will reduce that outcome a little. In effect, while exercise and food are going to be unhelpful in some ways, or even unhealthy at this time of night, I am weighing that against the impact of insomnia and the negative health effects that causes.

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The third step is to satisfy my intellect; for my mind has become active, the more I awaken. To distract from falling into my mind starting to get engrossed in any number of subjects that can be thought of, in the small hours, I am instead writing this blog post. In doing so, I am thinking reflectively, I am offloading some of my thoughts and also I am offering something that others may identify with and relate to. If that is helpful to even just one person, then my actions have benefited somebody and that is good.

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My viewpoint on insomnia is both to be self-aware and also to find and address the cause. Be of no doubt; exercise, food and intellectual stimulation can all trigger the onset of adrenaline and if that happens, then it can be more likely that remaining awake is the outcome. I believe that you really have to know and understand you physiological, neurological and intellectual processes well, to know how best to respond to bouts of insomnia.

The very best way to tackle insomnia is, of course, to identify the underlying cause. My Parkinson’s symptoms have increased a little over the last couple of weeks but more so over the last few days. Nothing major, but some twitching in my left hand, which is more unusual for I am usually affected on my right side. I was with a friend when this happened and she advised me to video record my hand twitching, to send to my neurologist, so I did record it and will e-mail that later today, when I eventually awaken from my slumber.

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I am in the process of great change in my home life and so, as I now begin the final few days of my current life and ready myself for a move to France for three months, later this week, my mind is full. The adrenaline is already pumping and the anxieties are there. I still have much to pack and to post, I have some travel documents to organise and I need to address my fear of flying, which is starting to grow in spite of the excitement of reaching my destination. Plus there are big emotions about leaving behind my life in England and those close to me. Hence that, in spite of my enormous tiredness, my brain is saying “Stay awake. There’s a lot to do, to think about and to process.”

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On that note, having done my exercises, eaten my little pizza, written this blog and drank a glass of water, I am now going to bed to get some sleep. I anticipate falling asleep within an hour, two at most. That will be better than the past couple of nights. I send good wishes to you all, in the hope that you each achieve a good, restorative sleep. Please feel free to share your own latest insomnia experience, in the comments below.

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