HAVE you taken this medication before asked the woman at the pharmacy counter?

Only you’re only supposed to take these for a week and then you should see your doctor if the symptoms persist.

I’m thinking but not saying: “Just hand over the drugs woman, I just need them now and I’m not leaving this shop until you give them to me.”

Over reaction?

Possibly, but if you suffer with insomnia like me then you might understand.

I’ve got to that funny age when words like menopause are freely bandied around – but while I can cope with the hot flushes, it’s the lack of sleep that’s killing me.

Last night for instance I literally didn’t sleep.

I might have drifted off about 5.45am only to be woken by the alarm at 7pm.

I dragged myself into work because that’s what I do, but I certainly wasn’t feeling my best.

I’ve been lucky to have been in good health for most of my life and have never been much of a pill popper.

Now though, as an insomniac, my bedside cabinet is a veritable Boots counter.

As well as the prescribed sleeping pills that I try to take only when I’m desperate, I’ve got a whole host of other sleep aids from herbal remedies (not nearly strong enough) to things like hayfever tablets which make you drowsy, migraine tablets that help you relax (now taken off the market but still available on the internet) as well as foot patches, calming drops, lavender sprays and something you dab it on your pulse points to make you chill out. You name it, I’ll give it a try.

A colleague who is a similar age, has just the same problems.

We swap drugs ideas and tips to help us sleep as well as tales of who suffered the most last night.

It’s a bit like the Monty Python sketch about who is the poorest - you know the one: ‘We used to live in this tiny old house, with great big holes in the roof.

House? You were lucky to have a house!

We used to live in one room, all 126 of us, no furniture’.

In our case it’s horror tales of how little sleep we’ve had.

I read anything I can about helping to improve your sleep. I know all the things you shouldn’t do and the things you should, but none of it helps.

Something in my head is stopping me from going to sleep.

I look jealously at my husband who drops off to sleep as soon as his head touches the pillow.

Or those lucky people who can nap on planes and trains or who nod off in conferences and meetings – how do they do that?

Worry about poor sleep makes things worse.

You wonder if tonight you will sleep, then panic when you can’t get off to sleep.

Scientists also believe insomnia contributes to heart disease, premature ageing and road accident deaths – so is it any wonder why with all that worry we can’t sleep at night.