“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” – Psalm 4:8
I woke up this morning refreshed and rested and in the most wonderful mood. I know the crisp air and cooler temperatures were wonderful, but I have to give most of the credit to a good night’s sleep. 8 1/2 hours. Can you imagine?? I couldn’t for a long time.
For many years, 8 1/2 hours was a distant dream, much like a vacation. It is not that I wanted to operate on 6 hours per night. It was just that life got in the way. And for a long time, even when I did fall asleep, I would wake up exhausted like I hadn’t been to bed at all. My doctor said it was stress.
You know, there are so many health problems that occur when we don’t get enough restorative sleep. There is weight gain, diabetes, adrenal dysfunction, all kinds of negative effects. The Center for Disease Control did a study last year on the health problems caused in this county by lack of sleep. They categorized it at epidemic proportions. Over 50 million Americans have health related problems due to insufficient sleep patterns.
So, what is our problem? Why is it so hard to lie down and close our eyes? Many folks are hooked on electronics, which include tv, we just stay up surfing the web, checking out Facebook, or even working because our laptops are so accessible. Those issues are easily remedied – Just stop. Leave those things in another room. Make your bedroom an electronics free zone. Trust that whatever you are looking at will be there tomorrow. And there is always a new round of Candy Crush to be had. So just bless yourself enough to let it go. Problem solved.
But what about the rest of us? Those of us who are trying desperately to sleep, but having it evade us night after night? The biggest problem for the rest of us is that our minds can’t turn off. We are overrun by worries, anxieties, and problems. And they always seem bigger at night don’t they friends?
I am no physician, and if you are experiencing insomnia and other sleep disorders, I encourage you to seek professional help. Because the longer we try to get along in this manner, the worse things get. We become irritable, depressed, unable to think clearly, ineffective at the smallest tasks. By allowing our sleeplessness to continue we put our relationships, our jobs, and our physical health at risk. The stresses that we endure during these periods are incredibly taxing on us, and recovery is a long hard process. This type of problem is not so easily fixed.
As I said, I am no doctor, but I do have one piece of advice. Consider the line from Psalm 4 above. This is a great promise of God. He says that He will take care of everything while we sleep, so we can have peace. I know when we are worried or distressed that is easier said than done. However, I have learned that if I repeat this line over and over as I settle down each night, soon it becomes part of my thought pattern. After a while I can believe it. And believing in the promises, and trusting our heavenly Father to follow through can bring us immense peace. I encourage you to try it. Repeat it over and again to yourself, until it begins to overflow your consciousness. And hopefully, you will wake up in the morning with a praise in your heart for the One who holds us in His right hand.
We thank You that You have never left us nor forsaken us. Lord, the fears and anxieties of this world threaten to overtake us. They come at us all day from all directions. We praise You, for You are our fortress and our shield. In You we can find rest beside peaceful streams. Help us to believe, Lord. Help us each one to hold on to Your promises and be blessed by them.
In the name of the Good Shepherd we pray,