Do you long to sleep peacefully at night?
Do you toss and turn with the thoughts that spin around in your head?
Do you wake up often during the night, due to dreams and nightmares?
Sleep – especially deep, restorative sleep – is a precious commodity. It seems to elude those that need it the most:
- For those with chronic pain, deep sleep would give time for restoration of their body, yet the pain keeps them awake.
- For those with heartache and troubles, sleep would be a welcomed escape, but their tortured minds will not allow sleep to come.
Songs have been written about long nights, the promise of the dawn, the assurance of God's presence in the trials.
I find Scripture to give the most practical comments about sleep:
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
If you follow the Psalmist's logic in this chapter, there is no reason for us to be anxious about sleep. God is the only one Who can give us rest.
If we are rest-less, there is a reason. I encourage you to do as a sweet friend of mine suggested to me: "make friends with the night."
When you cannot sleep, find something else to occupy your mind and heart.
- Read a book,
- read your Bible,
- work on a craft,
- pray for a person for each letter of the alphabet, (I especially love this idea, as I'm hoping you'll think to pray for me with the letter "A"!!!)
- quote Scripture that you have memorized,
- write a note or an email to someone else who needs encouragement,
- study a passage of Scripture,
- catch up on your housework or laundry,
- watch a favorite movie,
- call a friend who lives in another time zone,
- listen to an encouraging sermon online or on CD,
- start a thankfulness journal.
The list is endless, really. (I would, however, discourage you from watching the news or other television shows that are not Christ-honoring, as they will have the opposite effect of calm and peacefulness.)
There is no need to lay staring at the ceiling on those nights when sleep eludes you, and you don't have to curse the clock because it is moving so slowly.
Find hope in the fact that while others around you are sleeping, the Lord has a plan for you to do something else. Ask the Lord what He would have you do during this time.
Consider it a privilege that He wants your attention for Himself.