It’s far into the night, but sleep won’t come. You turn over. Perhaps a different position will quieten the mind. Or maybe the other side was better after all. Not sleeping feels like a disaster. But in smaller doses, insomnia does not need a cure. It’s there for a reason; it’s doing work for us. – and we should learn to let it take its course. Crucial things we need to think about are seeking their chance to bubble into consciousness. This insomnia is a form of revenge for all the many ideas we pushed away, or could not entertain in the day – but that matter intensely to our self-understanding and development. We have been busy for too long; we have been running on empty. But at night, we can return to a bigger duty: to ourselves. What we think about now would sound weird to so many people – my partner, my mother, my friend, my boss, my child. These people need us to be a certain way. We don’t want to let them down. But their expectations choke off important aspects of who we are. Yet now, it is just us and the universe – and for a time, we can take on a little of its boundlessness. With a pad of paper and a pen, and a little bedsight light on, we can dare to investigate the big questions that we normally push away and that manifest themselves just as background anxieties. We start to untangle our knotted feelings and ideas. Things will have to change. There are exciting plans afoot too. Perhaps we can chuck it in, and start anew; perhaps it’s time for that idea we’ve had for so long. Night offers us safety from the scepticism of sensible others. It allows us time to get ourselves together. We want to arrive, eventually, at a feasible, defensible strategy. But we can start with thoughts, schemes that look unimpressive, weird and possibly absurd. Night is a friend to the slow process of growth that every ambitious project demands: it provides us with the cover to grow into our more complete selves. We shouldn’t be in such a rush to escape it.