- Food & Drink
I can’t sleep. I don’t know why, but while the rest of London is snoring and drooling its way through the Land of Nod, I am thrashing up and down my bed, twisting my bedsheets into a knot and staring at the ceiling, feverishly imagining leaping, sleep-bringing sheep.
The internet is full of helpful suggestions, like leaving your bedroom window open (so you can lie in bed restfully imagining all the rapists, murders and burglars queuing up with their ladders below); sleeping with your head facing north (this involves me sleeping widthways across my bed, but I’m quite short so that’s OK); or not watching TV or using a laptop an hour before bed (what else am I supposed to do with my time?).
1 thing everyone is agreed on is that you shouldn’t just lay there. Get up and do something to take your mind off sleep, they say. So occasionally, at 3 in the morning, you will find me scrubbing the kitchen floor, sorting bank statements or deciding now is the time to take up embroidery.
I’ve also come up with a ritual and magic potion that helps to send me back to sleep. Standing at the hob, staring out at the night, I brew up a warm milky drink and then retreat to the sofa and burrow under blankets. Sipping the sweet, spicy concoction, I huddle as deeply as possible into the soft furnishings and finally, eventually, my eyelids droop. A few hours later I wake up to the sound of the morning delivery vans, a milky moustache still on my lips.
A milky bedtime drink
Makes 1 mugful
300ml whole milk
1 tbsp brandy
½ tsp honey
A small piece of mace
1 Pour the milk and brandy into a small pan and add the honey and mace. Place over a very low heat.
2 Gently heat, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the milk is just starting to steam. Remove from the heat and fish out the mace.
3 Pour into a mug and grate a little nutmeg over the top. Crawl under blankets on the sofa and sip until sleepy. A second dose may be required.