Fiction: How to Fall Back Asleep
By H. A. Eugene
For some, the toughest part of getting a good night’s rest isn’t falling asleep but returning to it after being awakened. If this is you, know that you aren’t alone: Pew Research estimates that 9 out of 10 working Americans will experience frequent bouts of disrupted sleep this year, leading to significant loss of wages and productivity.
For many, the solution may be as simple as resisting the urge to look at one’s phone if disturbed. However, if you are one of those 9 out of 10 working Americans that experience frequent sleep disruption, you may consider using a noise machine. Noise machines can drown out disturbing ambient sounds, which may include (but are not limited to): older air-conditioning units, loud cars, sirens, low-flying helicopters, distant gunfire, begging and pleading from the street, and screaming. Keep in mind this noise machine must also produce sounds low enough to mask the cetacean rumble of the city’s mechanical underbelly, which can ripple through a building’s foundations like an icy shiver.
Certain disruptions are unavoidable. These include sudden disturbances, such as police kicking in the door of the unit next to yours at 3 AM. Should this occur, repeat this mantra: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong.” Remember: a clean conscience is necessary for a restful mind. And a restful mind is a sleepful mind!
On other nights, you might awaken to find yourself running down the street, half-naked, in a state of abject terror. Once again, you are not alone: cases of somnambulistic fight-or-flight are also on the rise. Causes can vary, from too much spicy Thai food for dinner, to the cetacean rumble of the city’s mechanical underbelly morphing into the everlasting screams of the slaves whose bodies powered the engine of our nation’s historical growth. Pew Research estimates that 3 out of 5 working Americans will face an amalgamated spirit manifestation this year. Of those, 17 out of 20 will encounter one in their sleep. And of those, 1 out of 9 will not escape the encounter with their sanity, which Pew Research estimates could cost the nation between 500 billion and 1.6 trillion dollars in total economic impact this year, alone.
So if you sometimes spend your early mornings cowering in a neighbor’s recycling bin as a flock of phantoms from the bowels of our bloody history encircle you, like singing birds, their chain-jangling casualty chorus crescendoing into one bone-jarring spectral scream for justice—do not despair! New research suggests the Police Action Mantra works just as well against psycho-sonic manifestations as it does against no-knock police raids: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
(Repeat as needed. And remember to call 311 for detailed next steps once the manifestations subside.)
Use these techniques to combat all forms of sleep disruption. Because a good night’s rest is as important to your well-being as it is fundamental to the health of our American economy.
We’ll see you at work!
H. A. Eugene is a Pushcart-nominated writer of strange stories about food and death. His work has appeared in Flashback Fiction, Short Édition, X-R-A-Y Lit, and Flash Fiction Magazine, among others. You can witness him talking to himself on Twitter.