THE BLOG

In the Midst of the Night

12/12/2013 12:49 | Updated 10 February 2014

Insomnia is most commonly thought of as both a medical sign and a symptom that can accompany many diverse illnesses, therefore the number of people suffering sleepless nights around the world is unimaginable. Insomnia is one of the annoying effects, those living with Parkinson's have to endure. Looking on the bright side, one can get a fortune of things done in the midst of the night while the remainder of the household are soundly asleep. Many fellow sufferers have particular hobbies or activities that occupy those quiet and lonely frustrating hours, when quite frankly we would rather be snugly tucked up in bed. I know of several people like myself, who write in the middle of the night, and the uninterrupted time is perfect for getting one's thoughts down. Others bake, a most enjoyable hobby, and after receiving a superb recipe for ginger biscuits that a friend and fellow sufferer gave me, our biscuit barrel is never empty. Another friend told me to watch The Great British Bake Off, and I must confess I've become hooked on this marvellous TV series. It's now a toss up whether to sit and write or "get ready steady bake!" Next time my friend suggests a television programme to watch, it would be nice if it didn't involve any calories! However, if I were to ask my family which interest they'd prefer I occupy myself with, "Write or let them wake up to the delicious smells of freshly baked goods?" they'd definitely say "bake"; it's a no brainer.

I'm passionate about cooking and writing, so you'll often find me doing both in the middle of the night. I take my laptop into the kitchen which is the heart of our home and where some of my most creative writing takes place. In-between popping trays of cinnamon buns, or biscuits into the oven, I write. What could be a more perfect combination and a better way to while away those solitary hours?

I'm not alone in writing and coming up with ideas in the middle of the night. In 1941, Roy Plomley, a freelance broadcaster was in his pajamas one night about to go to bed, when he came up with a brilliant idea for a radio show. In a bomb damaged Maida Vale Studio on the 27th January in 1942, "Desert Island Discs" aired for the first time on the BBC Radio, and has been running ever since.

The original and entertaining idea of each week inviting a different celebrity, to be asked, "If castaway all alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you?" Of course the outdated vinyl record of days gone by has been replaced by huge leaps forward in digital technology. Apart from the guests revealing their favourite melodies, one luxury item along with the choice of one favourite book could also be taken to the imaginary desert island.

I remember listening to this weekly popular radio programme as a child with my parents, and Roy Plomley continued to present the programme until his death in 1985 at the age of 71. Roy was replaced by Michael Parkinson, a well known English television presenter; I hasten to add, in case you are wondering, his surname bears no relation to Parksinson's disease.

What would you deem the most important things to take if suddenly you found yourself a castaway on a remote island? Unfortunately, I would have no choice but to take Parkinson's along, since we're stuck together like Siamese twins, and just so we're clear, I'm talking about the disease, not the television presenter! I would no doubt need my cocktail of Parkinson's pills to help keep some of the symptoms at bay, not to mention my husband, who I couldn't bear to be parted from. As for taking my favourite book, having always been an avid reader, to pick just one would be impossible; I'd need an entire library. There's no question as to which luxury item I'd choose to bring along: a lifetime's supply of writing paper and pens, otherwise what would I do when sleep eludes me at night?

If you are one of the millions who suffer insomnia and can't sleep through, how do you occupy yourself when counting sheep doesn't help; what do you do in the midst of a restless night?

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