I’M not the world’s biggest Beatles’ fan. In fact I’m usually not even the room’s biggest Beatles’ fan. But, 50 years after they erupted onto the 20th Century, they’ve have burrowed deep into parts of my unconsciousness.
Just how deep only emerges at certain half-moments. I’m in the midst of doing something and suddenly, like a catchy genie, Paul McCartney steps into my head and launches, unannounced, into Blackbird.
Of late such cameos have been occurring between 3 and 5am. And the voice has been John Lennon’s, singing a song he wrote while sleepless at an Indian ashram in 1968.
I’ve read that I’m So Tired is either Lennon’s agonised cri die coeur for Yoko Ono, a song which exemplifies his Goons-style humour, or a tortured plea as he battled boredom without booze, drugs or cigarettes.
But to me it’s the simple, desperate appeal of a man who, despite fame, wealth and spiritual enlightenment, just can’t get to sleep.
Lennon’s reasons might be a little different to my own but his ‘I’d give you anything I got for a little piece of mind’ has occurred to me more than once as I’ve engaged in another night of ceiling watching.
Insomnia’s a senseless condition. My day job, working out and just being around in general usually see me exhausted by 10pm. And yet.
Until recently I’ve attributed this sleeplessness to my work. For the past number of years my job has entailed early starts, usually involving a 5am wake-up call, five days a week. I figured this kicked my circadian rhythm out – particularly as it put me in a different timezone to family and friends.
As time passed I’ve found other likely causes. I’ve blamed Dublin’s low-light winter murk for disrupting my sleep-wake rhythms. Alcohol, caffeine, late night food, use of electronic devices, loud noises, bad jokes – all these and more have been possible culprits at stages.
But the truth is I have no idea why I find myself grappling with insomnia. Not wanting to take sleeping meds every night I now resign myself to hoping that one evening it will simply stop.
There is a silver lining. I’ve watched any number of documentaries and movies that, if I had a regular sleep schedule, I never would have. The same applies to reading books. And I’m able to time my morning runs so I can watch the day break (if I can see the horizon through the rain).
I’d rather have Lennon’s “little peace of mind” though, in reality and not echoing around my head as I tinker with the dishwasher at 4am.
This week I’ve started new, later, working hours. Perhaps this will have an effect. Here’s hoping.
I’m So Tired. Good song but I never want to hear it again, ever.