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silencing the head squirrels
a Remarkable Fool's guide to insomnia
Daddy sang bass, mama sang tenor
Me and little brother would join right in there
Singing seems to help a troubled soul
One of these days and it won't be long
I'll rejoin them in a song
I'm gonna join the family circle at the throne
What the hell is making these circles?
On the bike, our feet.
In my mind at four am?
Angry squirrels? It has to be. It couldn’t be anything but.
OUTTA MY HEAD SQUIRRELS!
They’re having a party. They’re having a party with Sing along with Mitch.
Daddy sang bass, momma sang tenor.
You knows those nights - those long endless nights that extend into morning.
Those nights where one day blends into the next while you spin.
Spinning in your head, turning over ideas, thoughts and the like. The instant replays are on repeat like a record that keeps skipping.
Momma sang tenor,
Endless night circles of excitement, anxiousness or shame?
Me and little brother would join right in?
OH SHIT THOSE DANG HEAD SQUIRRELS!
A party? They’re not just having a party. It’s a frickin’ family reunion.
All of the stories are getting told again. Every sound starts the record over. It’s giant Rube Goldberg machine. A sensation comes, then an image, next an idea and the whole nasty bedsheet dance begins anew.
singing seems to help a troubled soul
Screaming maybe. Wailing. Screaming with frustration.
What time is it?
How the heck did I get here?
Insomnia is terrible.
Well the circle won’t be broken…
The lyrics churn with my motions, motions spurred by sensations. It’s easy to feel desperate at times like this.
Desperate and panicked.
So what to do? How do you break the circle of insomnia?
If you’re experiencing insomnia, here are a few RemarkablyFoolish tips:
That’s right. If you can’t sleep for more than twenty minutes, get up. Go eat something mild and soothing.
keep it dark.
No phone! No screen! No lights! The squirrels tend to party in the light. Keep it dark and those little furry circle churning fuckers may stay away.
Go back to bed. try again.
keep it clean
By this I mean sleep hygiene. Don’t work in your bedroom. Most of all don’t work in bed. Unless of course you work in the oldest profession. In that case? Carry on. Bed should only be for sleeping of fucking.
start before you need to
Turn off the electronics and dim the lights at least an hour before you turn in. Watch what you eat. Cut down on the coffee and no huge hunks of chocolate cake at midnight.
limit your angst associations
When you want to sleep, when you’re desperate to sleep and insomnia’s mob of angry squirrels relentlessly are reminding you of everything you’ve done wrong baby, do not let them take over your sleeping space. Leave the room. Remember the twenty minute rule?
thank the assholes?
Yes. If the squirrels are constantly churning in your head, pull out some peanuts. Make peace with them. Find out what they are here to tell you. Don’t know? Ask them. Don’t speak squirrel? Try Google translate. Maybe they have something to tell you.
understand levels of limb rat cat naps
In reality? You’ve likely been sleeping. Even if you think you’ve been fully up, you’ve likely had some dozing off. Some bouts of insomnia are merely not deep sleep. Sure we need sleep but the ‘kinds of sleep’ we have vary from night to night.
Interrupted sleep is ok. Humans have done that for eons. It’s normal. Not sleeping for a night or two is ok. Humans have done that for eons too. That’s normal as well. Putting pressure on yourself to sleep for a long, deep interrupted period of time typically has the opposite effect. Again, this is another place where a RemarkableFool’s expertise is essential. The harder you try the less likely it is to happen. You don’t get sleep. Sleep gets you.
When all else fails?
Sing old Flatt and Scruggs country songs.
If you’re not sleeping, you might as well practice your singing. Those you live with will thank you for it.