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Julia:  Sleep is so strange.  It grabs me in the middle of a movie that I really want to see, yet doesn’t come when I need it – like on a winter’s night when I’ve got a cold.  Sometimes it’s peaceful, and I wake up rested.  Other times, I have horrid dreams, and toss and turn till the alarm goes off.  Then I wake up ratty and still tired.

Where do I go during those sleep times?  Am I just lying in bed, or does part of me journey to another place or time?  Why should I have such pleasant sleep sometimes, and such harrowing sleep at others?  Perhaps it depends on the last meal of the evening, or dusky pollens in the air, or a thrilling read before bed-time.  What is it that makes sleep so random?  Why can’t we switch it on and off as we wish?

I’d like to sleep before a party, so I could be witty and charming all night long.  I’d like to sleep before a long flight and then stay awake to watch loads of movies.  I’d like not to fall asleep after Christmas lunch so I don’t miss the Queen’s speech.  It’d be nice occasionally to go to sleep really early and awake to see the sun rise. 

I’m told that the older one gets, the less sleep one needs.  I look forward to that time in my life so I can party till dawn and see the sun come up; so I have more time to enjoy everything and everyone around me.

Hoi Yee:  Sleep is like an extended 8-hour long hug.  It’s such a warm, soft, quiet place to be.  I love the softness of blankets, sheets and pillows.  It’s the indoor equivalent to lying in a field surrounded by billowy long grass folding over me. 

Once, I ironed the pillow cases with lavender water, and I was absolutely hooked.  Soon I was addicted – I couldn’t wait to put my head on that lavender-scented pillow each night.  I loved to breathe in the fresh and calming perfume of flowers and to stay quiet, not moving, not do anything but lie there until a new day started the next morning.

Sometimes, when sleep doesn’t come so easily, or when the iPad has to be plonked into the middle of my ‘lavender field’ to lull our little boy to sleep, I feel a little annoyed.  The bed is no longer a quiet oasis, but a twitchy, uncomfortable silence.  It is as though my meadow has suddenly been invaded by too many grasshoppers that don’t go away.  I have to get up and leave my bed to potter around our flat for awhile until my husband and son have dozed off.  Then I crawl back between the sheets and their warm bodies and murmuring snores soon lull me to sleep.