Sleeping with My Brain

Sleep is a trickier task than it has any right to be. I’ve been really bad at it my entire life – a fact that no one (doctor, parent, or friend) has ever treated with what I would consider an appropriate level of urgency.

Like, how is calling someone with insomnia a “fussy sleeper” not intended to be condescending? People with asthma aren’t called “fussy breathers.” If a doctor misdiagnoses my insomnia I don’t call her a “fussy diagnoser.” I call her an asshole.

I guess that’s what I am, then: a sleep asshole.

I blame my inefficient sleeping practices on my brain, because everything that’s wrong with me can technically be traced back to my brain and also because that fool never stops talking. I never really do, either, but again it’s my brain’s fault so if you’re going to be annoyed with anyone be annoyed with her. I’m just the innocent meat vehicle she drives around all day.

We all have a hard time quieting our brains, especially when we’d really like for them to be quiet, so I know this doesn’t make me special. But everyone around Newton had a hard time flying yet he was the only one to figure out that gravity was the reason why. I am not about to reveal how the laws of physics apply to sleep, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that just because everyone experiences something doesn’t mean some people don’t experience it in more profound ways than others. Because I am assuming you did not know that yet, and now you do, and you’re welcome.

Anyway, if I were to confide that I hadn’t been breathing well for the last few weeks, or that I haven’t eaten much for a month, everyone would throw a pity parade and march me, full-fanfare, to Somewhere that can Help. (Which they should do, because not eating and not breathing are very serious things.) But admitting that I struggle to fall or stay asleep? Usually people – again, doctors included – recommend a cup of chamomile tea and a hot bath. I always thought tea was a waste of time and I don’t even have a bath tub so these suggestions only increase my angst, thus pushing me further from sleep.

Thanks, anxiety!

In order to calm my brain down I like to record the waste that falls off the crappy train of thought chugging around my head each night. This is my way of validating what my brain has to say in an effort to thereby get it to realize it could stop talking for a little, because it’s already been told it’s important.

This tactic is also effective on toddlers and narcissists.

Since my handwriting is a little too terrible and it’s also hard to write in the dark in bed with usually two cats on top of me and also since it’s 2016 and I’m not a Luddite, I usually write down my brain thoughts on my phone. I text them to myself, with my own number saved as “IDEAS,” because that is not abnormal or weird.

I may be shitty at sleeping but my brain produces some quality material in the hour or so before it finally gives up and falls asleep:


This is last night’s harvest.

I don’t remember what I was so adamant that I not forget.

I also don’t know what the “story of terriffying” is but I bet it would be a really good thing to tell in this blog, so maybe I wanted myself to preemptively not forget that?

These aren’t good ideas.

This is the shit my brain thinks is more important than chilling for eight hours and literally regrowing itself so it can make better ideas tomorrow.

But honestly…

have you ever met a food processor that didn’t smell faintly like onions?

The nice thing about this insane habit is that it gives my brain the opportunity to read my ideas in two different voices and if the second voice is too sarcastic or bored, my brain knows the idea isn’t a cool one. But if it goes from, “air conditioner is a train?” to “air conditioner is a TRAIN?” then I know I’ve basically nailed it in the brain ideas category.

Every once in a while it does in fact help me to remember the roots of a good idea; for instance, “air conditioner is a train?” is the text to myself from which this insomnia post bloomed. How? I promise you really don’t want me to explain it.


4 thoughts on “Sleeping with My Brain

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