During yet another long night of anxiety induced wakefulness, where I'd worried about my insignificance in an ever expanding universe; worried about the collapse of Western civilisation; worried about the fact that I'd been awake worrying for three hours already, and my alarm would be going off in four hours time... I found myself in need of comfort. I needed reassurance that everything was going to be alright. I needed answers.
So like a true child of the internet, I turned to Google, typed in 'insomnia remedy' and went through the looking glass, into the land of Yahoo Answers, WebMD and Alicia Silverstone's vegan blog (yes, that's really a thing).
You'll be unsurprised to learn that opinion is divided among internet medics, over the best way to get a good night's sleep. The relative merits of lavender oil, Himalayan pink salt and the health blogger's panacea of choice, apple cider vinegar, have all been hotly debated. But one article by TreeHugger.com (I was tired. It sounded credible enough at the time) really grabbed me. In '7 foods to cure insomnia', TreeHugger recommended the addition of seaweed to meals; something to do with reducing blood-sugar, or circadian rhythms or... I don't know. But anything was worth a try.
It was 4am. As I typed 'seaweed recipe' into the search bar, I had no idea that fate, in the form of an obscure cooking video called 'Wakame Salad', was about to change my sleeping habits forever...
Cooking With Dog is a Japanese YouTube channel with a huge cult following- over one million subscribers and rising. The premise of each video is simple; a middle-aged lady, known only as 'Chef', cooks a popular Japanese dish in front of the camera... with help from her dog. What?!
You see Francis (that's the name of the dog) can talk. In fact he is the sole narrator and 'host' of the show. I'm not going to lie. Watching a lady preparing dehydrated seaweed while her dog described everything that went on, felt a bit, well, strange. But I got used to it, and soon found myself eagerly clicking for more. 'How to make Onigiri', count me in. 'How to enjoy Wanko Soba', erm, Ok. 'Why not roll your own Sushi', why not indeed. The video's kept rolling into the night. Francis's peculiar, but oddly soothing voice, intoning quantities of shiitake and dashi stock like a robot reading a neverending poem. And then... I fell asleep.
As it turns out, watching an endless loop of Cooking With Dog is actually the best remedy for sleeplessness that I've ever come across. Maybe you should give it a try.