Editor’s letter: What’s keeping you awake at night?

In my case, there simply is not enough space here to write down everything that grips my mind in the wee hours, but here’s a small selection from the slightly unhinged smorgasbord. 

1. Fixating on a throwaway comment I made in a meeting and suddenly magnifying it in my head into The Stupidest Thing Anyone Has Ever Said In All Of History that will, ultimately lead to the death of my entire career. 

2. The letter I received from the pension provider that cheerfully implies I’ll spend my twilight years subsisting on spaghetti hoops and gruel. 

3. Wondering what my Aussie family is doing right now because it’s daytime where they are. 

4. Guessing how many likes my last Instagram post has racked up by now. 

5. Then telling myself off for thinking about something quite so sad at what the hell o’clock in the morning. 

6. Frightening myself with the imaginary scenario of the dog being stolen while she’s out with her walker (there have been a few of these dog snatchers in my neigbourhood). 

7. Playing out imaginary conversations with the list of celebrity heroes I fantasise about meeting one day, where all my one-liners are on point. 

8. The sudden horror of remembering the urgent email I forgot to reply to. 

9. Realising the time and calculating that I only have two hours until I have to get up. 

10. Trying to figure out if our pantry contents can see us through a coronavirus lockdown. 

Honestly, I think one of the reasons I enjoy working full time in a fast-paced job is that I know that it’s a good third of the day when I don’t have the headspace for any of the above. It’s the quiet, witching hours of midnight to 5am when you can be bone-crushingly tired, and yet your brain is stuck in hyper mode, torturing you with unhelpful thoughts. 

I’m very grateful at those times for my headphones and the meditation apps on my iPad. I particularly like Digipill, and a playlist of meditation music that distracts my mind long enough for me to drift off gently. But today, we have a new weapon to unleash in the war on insomnia. I’m fascinated by the increasing awareness of how our gut health determines so much of our overall wellbeing.

In this issue, Dr Michael Mosley has some very helpful insights into just how far this can directly impact on our sleep. This week’s food section has 14 recipes to pull out and keep, which you can also view here. Science backs up their effectiveness, and the bonus is they’re all delicious. 

I wish you bon appétit and sweet dreams. Enjoy. 

Editor’s picks

 A few things I’m coveting this week 

rixo scarf Great for reinventing a white T-shirt. Scarf, £80, rixo.co.uk

Now even wet washing can look chic. Clothes pegs, £11.99, zarahome.com 

 Gorgeous kimono-inspired patterns. Vases, small £42, large, £55, vam.ac.uk/shop