»Schaflos was both the easiest and hardest book to write«- Anders Bortne im Gespräch

An einem schönen Frühlingstag stellt der Autor Anders Bortne beim Beziehen des Ehebettes fest, dass seine Seite der Matratze so aussieht, als hätte er kaum darauf gelegen – und er muss sich eingestehen, dass das stimmt: Anders Bortne leidet seit 16 Jahren an Schlaflosigkeit. Viele Nächte schläft er überhaupt nicht, manchmal findet er für wenige Stunden Ruhe auf der Couch. Teilweise ist er so müde, dass er seine Kinder nicht im Auto zur Kita bringen kann, aus Angst davor, am Steuer einzuschlafen. Wie er selbst leiden auch seine Familie und sein Umfeld unter seinen Stimmungsschwankungen. Bortne erkennt, dass es so nicht weitergeht, er will eine dauerhafte Lösung für sein Schlafproblem finden und zwar ohne Medikamente.

Und so nimmt uns der Autor mit auf eine Odyssee, bei der er Wissen über Schlaf und Insomnie aus der ganzen Welt zusammenträgt, Ärzte und Schlafforscher besucht und an deren Ende er wirklich eine Lösung für seine Schlafprobleme findet. 

Im Gespräch erzählt er uns, wie sein Schlaf während der Pandemie war, er erzählt uns von Skurriles rund ums Thema Schlafen, und wie es war, dieses persönliche Buch zu schreiben. 

 

Dear Anders, it's been over a year since your book had been published. How has been your sleep since then?

Anders: At first, working on the book, made me sleep even worse. The book made me very self-consious and gave my own insomnia attention and space. But after the book was finished, I have been sleeping better. I don't think there is one single reason, I think it is because of everything I have learned about sleep, sleeplessness and myself.  I know more about my own sleeping disorder, and that makes everything much easier to control and to live with. I'm not saying I'm fully cured but the fear of not sleeping is almost gone.  

Has the pandemic affected your sleep?

Anders: I'm sleeping better! I noticed this the first weeks of the lockdown - with all the restrictions, my life got so much simpler. Freedom of choice is a good thing, of course, but it can also be a burden for people like me, who's always afraid of missing out and that gets easily stressed around other people . Suddenly the world got a lot smaller and easier to manage - that made me less stressful and a lot calmer.  

 

At the very beginning of the book you write that it is dedicated to all those who can sleep and all the other ones. So does the issue of sleeping problem also concern people who actually can sleep?

Anders: In my mind, people like me, with serious sleeping disorders, is just the tip of the iceberg. I think the increasing problem with insomnia is a significant consequence of a much larger challenge. Mankind has for the last 350 years slept less and less, because we have chosen to work and play instead, long after sundown. For the last decades it has gotten even worse, with smartphones and other devices that makes us busy 24 hours a day. This is a global problem, and I fear for future generations. How will they sleep?      

 

You take us on an odyssey in your book on which you meet for example sleep scientists. What was the funniest or most bizarre thing you learned about sleep?

Anders: That sleepwalking is a defence that actually works when you are charged of murder!  

Before »Schlaflos« you were actually writing novels. How was the experience of writing a very personal non fiction book? Especially since sleep problem is a topic that many people don't seem to talk openly about?

Anders: »Schaflos« was both the easiest and hardest book to write. It is without any doubt my most personal book. But once I made the choice to write about my own life, it was easy. My thoughts, and fears and experience was right there, I just had to write about it. The factual parts was harder, first I had to do research, then I had to find experts and other sleepless people I could talk to, and in the end I had to try to make everything understandable, without getting it wrong. I find non fiction to be a lot more work than novels. In the end I had to make the factual parts fit in with the parts about my own story. This was hard and I wrote several versions of the book before I found the right »formula«. I'm very proud of how the story flows and how seemless the two sides of the story interact.  

Before »Schlaflos« you were actually writing novels. How was the experience of writing a very personal non fiction book? Especially since sleep problem is a topic that many people don't seem to talk openly about?

Anders: You are not alone. There are millions of people with sleeping problems that are very similar to your own, and in most cases there are ways to make it better. 

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