Sleep is a miracle drug.
I know the facts.
People who get enough sleep--
- Get sick less often.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Lower [their] risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
- Reduce stress and improve [their] mood.
- Think more clearly and do better in school and at work.
- Get along better with people. (Get Enough Sleep)
And yet I am a terrible sleeper.
I toss and turn. I abandon one position for another. I itch—everywhere. I can sense sleep coming on — as real places morph into places that only appear in my dreams or that pool of black flows along my inner eyelids begging me to follow. I can feel myself begin to surrender to it and then —consciously or unconsciously—I pull myself back.
I let my mind run from one scenario to the next; dive into conversations I might not need; wrestle with a problem, pin it down, and then hang on to it till morning. I let my mind jump from one topic to another until it feels like I’ve competed in every Olympic event in one night. (This blog left the starting blocks, by the way, at 3:30 in the morning.)
I want sleep. I welcome it. And yet, right when I feel sleep taking control, I often wrest it back.
I have tried multiple sleep aids: white noise, wine, melatonin, non-prescription sleep aids, NyQuil. All with varying results and morning-after side effects.
This is nothing new. Growing up, I would sometimes have to lie on my stomach, raise my heels to my rear, and let each leg fall to the mattress until I was too tired to lift them any more. Only then could I fall asleep.
There could be multiple reasons for my inability to fall asleep, but I know one for sure. I have trouble Letting Go and Letting God.
The Bible reminds me that if I would, then rest . . . and sleep . . . would follow:
Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 4:8: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Proverbs 3:21,23-24 “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight . . . Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Yes, I know a sure-fire solution for some of my sleep problems. Full surrender. A complete emptying of myself and my thoughts into God’s care. Then trust . . . and sleep.