Sleeplessness has been an on-off problem for me over the years. The insomnia reached its peak during my MSc when I physically just could not get to sleep most nights, and especially the nights before the days when I had classes (we had classes a few days a week) - but on those two or three nights, I genuinely felt trapped in insomnia hell.
At first I wasn't entirely sure what was causing this sleeplessness, it was genuinely baffling for me - was I waking up too late in the day? Was I having too many cups of tea throughout the day? Was I secretly in love without knowing it? Pretty soon however I worked out that far from it being a case of Visions of Johanna which kept me up past the dawn, the reason for lying in bed with eyes wide open for several hours a night was simply because I was dreading having to go in the next day and face having to feel totally thick in a lab where I had no clue what I was doing.
Anyway, once I got into medicine, things settled down and I began sleeping like a baby - no stress, genuine contentment, what more could you ask for? Even during term time, with all its early starts and the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed what with starting a new course in a new town, I still didn't find getting to sleep to be a problem.
Of course, I hadn't taken the influence of exams into account (see previous post) - something which over the past week or so has taken insomnia to whole new levels. Last night I could not get to sleep til past 5 AM. Woke up at 11:15 this morning and I feel rough as hell. I'm not even sure why I'm being kept up: logic tells me that formative exams which do not count do not carry any sort of lethal consequences with them (getting kicked out, etc) and that furthermore that I am, for the most part, on target with my revision plans. And I've still got 2.5 weeks til exams, which isn't bad.
But I still can't kick the feeling that I'm not doing enough, that I'm unwittingly missing out details, that I'm just working on the wrong lines, that there's too much to revise and it'll never be done on time. That's what's keeping me up, and whilst the logical side of my mind knows that these are all normal concerns, my scumbag brain still won't let me get to sleep.
But there's one small bright side: at least now I'm being kept up by something which I genuinely love doing, as opposed to something I dislike. That's not too bad. But I certainly wish I could sleep at night all the same.