And On The Eighth Day, He Created Insomnia

But [Pooh] couldn’t sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn’t. He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh’s honey, and eating it all. For some minutes he lay there miserably, but when the five hundred and eighty-seventh Heffalump was licking its jaws, and saying to itself, “Very good honey this, I don’t know when I’ve tasted better,” Pooh could bear it no longer.
— A A Milne, Winnie The Pooh

I've often thought, when I can't sleep, of Pooh and his honey-stealing Heffalumps. 

Call it a Heffalump or a hound from hell, insomnia is a beast of burden to those who carry it. It messes with mind, body and spirit, and I feel was dreamt up by whatever supernatural forces are out there - for the sake of argument let's say the Devil and God - along with menopause, hangovers, reality TV and Donald Trump as punishment for us being a bunch of absolute muppets. Unfortunately, possibly as a result of said affliction, I can just see the conversation now.

Satan: (watching Adam and Eve running around aimlessly) So, what do you call these two then?

God: (sounding doubtful) I was thinking 'Heffalump and Woman', but something seems a bit off. They don't look very bright, do they? I think I may have missed a step or two. I looked away from the pot when Gabriel did that funny thing he does with his wings when he's drunk... 

Satan: (rolling eyes) Yes, it's hilarious alright (git). Not sure about the Heffalump call, seems a bit too sophisticated for that chump. What about something a bit shorter? She looks a bit smarter than him - abbreviate her name. 

God: Oh good thinking... yes, let's make him a 'Man'. Still - bit worried. I was hoping for a 'made in own image' sort of thing, what? But hasn't exactly turned out that way. I mean, they haven't even invented the internet yet, and it's half past three! 

Satan: Well, you will lose concentration, won't you? Look, we both know what you're like. Let's just write them off as Prototype Mk VIII and go to the bar. It's Throwback Thursday. They're playing all your old hits!

God: (sounding wretched) Look, I don't think I can. I may have made a bit of a er, bet.

Satan: With whom?

God: Oh, just some of the lads. You know. Nobody important. 

Satan: You made a bet with other gods, didn't you. 

God: Well. No. Maybe. Yes. Um.

Satan: You bet them that these two would actually be a viable proposition as the superior species, as opposed to their various efforts. 

God: Look, I didn't know they were going to be so stupid, OK? I mean, Quetzacoatl's got that freaking amazing serpent thingy, and Sekhmet nearly took my head off with her bloody lion - I just wanted to look good! But these two are idiots! They can't even find an apple!

Satan: Oh, for the love of You! Right, you owe me big time, and don't you forget it. I'll sort it. As usual. But these two twits don't get off scot free, you hear me? I'm making a list. If I have to cop the bad guy role, I want them going through Hell! 

That may not be canon, but it makes as much sense as anything else about how Heffalump and Eve ended up with the miseries of the world slung round their generally thick skulls - including why some Heffalo Sapiens cannot spend more than an hour or two in sustained slumber. 

I'd like to think it's down to an overflowing creative streak, where I have so much talent and fire I simply cannot put my brain to bed. Sadly though, as I think this post probably shows, this isn't the case. If genius were keeping me awake, I would be overjoyed, and embrace the additional hours of honey-eating time with enthusiasm. But no. Half the time, I either stare into space, or if I do decide to attempt to slow down the whizzing fleas in my brainbox, find I have achieved approximately half a sentence of worth, or its visual equivalent.

This is no life for a bear of very little brain, or for that matter for a bear of any brain at all. 

Suggestions for beating the insomni-system are welcomed. Be warned that over the past - ohhhh, 30 years - I have tried just about everything, including actually closing my eyes and trying to go to sleep. 

But those damned Heffalumps just won't go away. And, in the case of The Heffalump Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant, there is one who occasionally snores after consuming a few too many pots of honey.

But that's another bedtime story altogether.