ZZZZZ … oops, sorry, just dozed off for a moment. What’s this? A book about insomnia? By a French intellectual? How long before we’re having 40 winks with Foucault? Snoozing after quotes from Saussure?

Maybe reading Sleepless is, ahem, a cure of sorts. Let’s give it a shot. The time is currently 22.32.

Marie Darrieussecq, famous for her debut novel Pig Tales, has long suffered from insomnia. Six years ago, she began to write regularly about her affliction.

READ MORE: Zadie Smith's The Fraud proves her a worthy heir of Mantel and Dickens

She tells us she “stitched together a column a month over two years, like a Fair Isle knitting pattern, which I shortened, lengthened, and often improvised”. And like Fair Isle itself, lying between Orkney and Shetland, Sleepless is something of a halfway house, a meld of memoir and quotation, poetry and science.

Darrieussecq thinks insomnia is a writer’s curse and liberally references the various multicultural experiences of Emil Cioran, Sylvia Plath, Cesare Pavese, Haruki Murakami and Fyodor Dostoevsky, Fernando Pessoa among many others. Stay awake at the back! The dread of night, the dread of not-night, as Franz Kafka had it.

We hear Jorge Luis Borges say: “There is nothing worse than being an insomniac in Buenos Aires.”

Which is not true, believe me; a mugging in La Boca trumps a night without kip.

Being French, Darrieussecq, unsurprisingly, has Marcel Proust down as the champ. His fictional writer Bergotte, from Remembrance Of Things Past, is plagued by insomnia, hooked on soporifics. Bergotte “tried them all” and we learn “when one absorbs a new drug, entirely different in composition, it is always with the delicious expectancy of the unknown”.

Wha? Iiiiiichaaaaaaach!

It’s now 22.58 and that was me yawning. Darrieussecq would be jealous; she’s in awe of good sleepers.

We learn about Churchill and how he wasn’t to be disturbed napping “unless the British Isles were being invaded”. Ditto Obama who was only allowed to be woken “if there was a major crisis”.

We hear too about clinophilia and clinophiles: people who love being in bed and who want to spend as much time in the prone position as possible.

Georges Perec fretted about being bedbound and how “you are well and truly a prisoner … where it is so hot and dark that you are wondering, not without anxiety, how you are going to go about extricating yourself”.

Which doesn’t bother me because it’s gone midnight and I’ve played Wordle – got it in six, phew! – the word being AWAKE and Worldle, the country being sleepy Bulgaria (where they average 12 hours a night). Anyway, I’m still not asleep so let’s get back to Darrieussecq’s book as a potential narcotic.

She takes us through the cures she’s tried – herbal teas, acupuncture, osteopathy, psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, fasting, hypnosis, reading … none work.

For her, being an insomniac is like “the prince slashing his sword through a forest of thorns, tirelessly seeking the way to Sleeping Beauty’s castle”. Keep on hacking … Like counting sheep we’re presented with a succession of boring images – rooms where Darrieussecq has slept. We see the thin curtains of a hotel room in Haiti; the spartan interior of a cabin on the Coastal Express in Norway; the Sandman Signature Hotel in Newcastle upon … Zzzzz … yikes, I drifted off again! It’s now 00.24. Where were we?

The modern world where, as Darrieussecq reminds us, capitalism has commodified “all our basic needs – light, heat, water, housing, sex, and even friendship. But it has trouble expropriating sleep”.

Capital wants us insomniac, wants us on all the time, scrolling, buying.

Even in the wee small hours of the morning, we’re being sold Sinatra or A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles. In the great Timmy Mallett’s words: WE’RE WIDE AWAKE.

READ MORE: The KLF: Unravelling the legacy of the band who burned £1 million

03.33, 04.44 – what Darrieussecq calls “schnapps o’clock”. Can you think of anything worse than schnapps at that hour? Poor Marie can and details her experiments using alcohol to ameliorate her exhaustion. Bottles of txakoli – she’s from the Basque country – are imbibed but don’t transport her to the Land of Nod, only lead to cups of coffee and nights as interminable as those of summer in the Lofoten.

She’s been on barbiturates for nearly three decades. Sleepless is part-confessional and we learn: “I booze on benzodiazepines, I stagnate on sedatives, I’m hypnotic with narcotics.”

Whatever, her book, as all clichéd critiques have it, kept me up all night.