Combatting Sleeplessness

  Typically, I wake up at least twice during the night. The first time is no problem, it’s right back to sleep. The second time can make for a long night, unless I take certain steps that work for me. Everyone’s experiences are different, I’m sharing this in case it may help someone else.  

I am by no means a doctor. These are my own personal experiences. They are in no way meant to reflect a medical opinion. Persistent loss of sleep is a serious matter, and should be consulted with a physician.

The first, and I feel, that the most relevant is to spend some time praying. As a Christian, I believe there are seasons when we are called to prayer. You never know who you may be interceding for on the other side of the world.

You’re asking, how does this tie in with going back to sleep? In two very wonderful, very different ways. First, if God has put it on our hearts to pray for someone, once accomplished, we can go back to sleep.

Second, if it’s just a sleepless night, prayer not only draws us closer to Christ, it brings rest. Once I’ve prayed, sleep comes easier. Your body has been brought to a state of obedience, and there is a peace that comes with that.

After prayer, the second thing I’ve found to work is an act of productivity. In fact, what you’re reading now is the result of that. The majority of my posts are written between 3 and 4 in the morning. 

It doesn’t have to be writing, it has been folding laundry too. The point is to not think about it, instead to take away the pressure of going back to sleep. In the process, you’ve turned a frustration into a productive task. 

You go from feeling bad for losing sleep to feeling good that something is checked off your to do list. It’s not that the task is any more important than your rest, it’s about replacing an irritation with a feeling of success.  You’re not losing sleep, you spent a little extra time awake completing something else.

The third way will sound simple, but it’s effective. A change of location helps me to go back to sleep. We were given a recliner in our room, and I move from the bed to it. In no time, me, my chair, and my blanket are off to dreamland.

I don’t know why this helps, but it does. It’s as if it shifts the sleep equilibrium in my favor. We recently replaced our mattress, which has bettered my back issues. However I still found myself awake before three with my chair in mind.

My fourth and final suggestion is giving your brain a distraction. I either watch a program on my phone, or listen to a podcast. Music helps my wife, but it tends to keep me awake. Visuals, and the spoken word tend to work better for me. As I lay there and my brain focuses on what’s being said, and I drift back off to asleep.

I believe we are made to be like a battery, empowering others. The difference between a rechargeable and a throw away is the charging cycle. Sleep is our primary recharging activity, and must be maintained. 

It’s my hope that one of these simple suggestions will help. While they may seem elementary, if they enhance even one sleepless nights, it’s been worth sharing. My prayer for you is a peaceful night, filled with wonderful dreams, that you can begin to accomplish the next day.

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