By Koray Hussein
For the past seven and a bit years I’ve suffered from long bouts of insomnia. It’s a word that gets batted about fairly regularly these days by people who stay up until 4am watching Casey Neistat videos, swiping on Tinder or trying to get Millwall into the Champions League final on FIFA before complaining the next day that they had “wicked bad insomnia last night”.
That’s not insomnia. That’s not knowing when to go to sleep.
Insomnia is staring up at the ceiling from your bed with heavy eyelids and pleading with yourself to fall asleep. Insomnia is not counting the hours that it’s been since you last had a proper sleep, but the days.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining or belittling the people who do stay up all night playing Candy Crush or watching Game of Thrones. They can do what they want… just don’t come and complain to me about it.
Although I have to admit, I don’t do that whole “staring up at the ceiling from your bed” thing any more. I tried it for a long time, thinking it was just a phase and that it would pass… but it wasn’t and it didn’t. Sure every now and then I manage to get a few nights of sleep in a row but in all honesty, I don’t like it. My days feel like tea breaks and it’s almost impossible to get anything done with only 16 waking hours.
I now, in some sick way, enjoy going long stretches with no sleep. I’ve given up on the idea of getting eight hours of sleep every night and treat the transition between day and night a little differently. Granted I have that luxury as working on this blog is a 24/7 job anyway. It doesn’t matter whether I’m writing this post at 1pm on a Monday afternoon or at 4am on a Thursday morning (have a guess which one of those is true). However back when I was working an 11-7 job it was a lot more difficult and God knows how insomniacs who work 9-5 do it.
I use the day how most people use their mornings. It’s for getting shit ready. Editing images for our headers and Instagram, proof reading a post that needs to go up the next day, scheduling the next days social post and so on.
My night is when I actually get most of my writing/photography done. I’ll sit down at around 3am/4am and write out a post or two before usually hopping on the first train (or night bus if I’ve finished early) and head into London to get some sunrise shots for our website and social media accounts. I do this fairly regularly and sometimes I’ll come home with some gorgeous shots and other times I come back without having even removed the camera from my bag.
Last Tuesday night for example, I got into London at around 11pm (I had no writing to do) and walked from St Paul’s to Kensal Green tube station with the route going something like: South Bank – Embankment – Soho – Mayfair – Marble Arch – Portobello Road – South Kensington (to grab a coffee at VQ) – back up to Holland Park and then on to Kensal Green via Ladbroke Grove and Harrow Rd to catch the first train back to East London… I took four pictures… And I don’t like any of them.
I’m not complaining though because this is what I do and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have one eye on the clock right now to see how long I have left to get ready to catch the first train in again. Why? Because London is fucking beautiful around the time that the “late hours” become the “early hours”. There is something undeniably amazing about walking along the South Bank in silence and standing alone on the Millennium Bridge, watching the sun rise over Tower Bridge and the Shard is incredible… And don’t even get me started on Primrose Hill in the morning.
People may say that New York is the city that never sleeps but I honestly don’t care. London can snooze all it wants as it’s the perfect city for the person who never sleeps. We might not have as many shops or restaurants open all through the night but we don’t need it. We have this…