I’ve mentioned before that I periodically battle insomnia. I’m in one of those battles now, and it’s as maddening as it’s ever been. I go to sleep with no problem, but lately I’ve been waking up between 2 and 3. I look at the clock, breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not time to get up, but then my brain turns on and I can’t turn it off.
I start thinking about concerns I have, and because everything is worse in the dark of night, I begin to borrow trouble, worrying, imagining worst case scenarios, composing to-do lists in my head, and then pretty soon I’m tossing and turning and deep in full-blown anxiety. When I realize this, I pray, confess my unbelief (Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!), and sing hymns in my head. Then, all of a sudden I’m back in the cycle. Rinse and repeat.
So not only am I missing hours of sleep that I need, I’m doing some seriously exhausting battle during those hours.
All the while, Paul snores beside me. God bless him. (I recently came across this line in Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair: “She was a good sleeper, and I took even her power to sleep as an added offense.” One of the things I have to battle in the night is jealousy!)
I don’t know a solution except to accept that this is a season, because this cycle comes and goes. As I said, the issue isn’t falling asleep. That’s no problem. It’s the staying asleep that eludes me. I’ve tried melatonin, and it gives me weird dreams and no improvement in sleep. I’ve tried serious sleeping pills like Lunesta, and while they’ve helped me sleep, that one gives me the worst metallic taste in my mouth the next day. And the last thing I need is a drug habit, so I’ve avoided taking that kind of thing for the past few years. Benadryl doesn’t give me more than 4 good hours of sleep, and, well, that doesn’t cut it. I’ve tried all kinds of little tricks and techniques. Yet…I toss and turn. Perhaps the most effective thing is just to get up and go into the living room to read. At least that’s productive and far less discouraging than checking the clock and fretting about the hard day to come.
I guess there’s no real reason to share all of this except to say that if you’re tossing and turning, you’re not alone. Maybe we could pray for each other. And if you’re a sound sleeper, yay you! Thank God for it!