on sleep, or the lack thereof

pillowI’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!

Groggily,

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reading plan for 2016

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2015 was not a good reading year for me, primarily because it was not a good sleeping year. Insomnia kicked off a maddening cycle of waking up too early and then being too tired to read at bedtime. This year, I intend to fight that cycle by getting up to read when I can’t sleep instead of tossing, turning, fretting, and wasting that time.  And I’ve decided to try an actual reading plan this year — the Challies 2016 Reading Challenge. I’m aiming for the committed reader category, and as much as possible, I’ll read books from my own shelves and Kindle library.

Also, I’ll be using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan this year. I’ve used it before and look forward to revisiting, using these bookmarks for my Bible.

I’ll have to cut back my social media and internet surfing, and I’m letting magazine subscriptions (even the free ones) lapse in order to be more intentional with my reading.

Yeah, I’m aiming high, but why not? I enjoy reading and need to impose some structure and self-discipline in order to get back in to one of my lifelong passions. I won’t always want to participate in a formal challenge, but I think it will help me change some habits in 2016. So here goes…

I’ll be keeping a list of completed books again.

Do you have any reading plans for 2016? Do share!

Happy reading!

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random thoughts: year-end edition

~ Lately I’ve been thinking about making some changes to simplify my life. I’m not sure exactly what those changes will be, but I’m feeling the need to declutter and cast off burdens. We’ve likely got another move during 2016, and that’s good motivation to get rid of stuff.

~ I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but in 2016 I am planning to do another 365 photo project (actually a 366 because 2016 is a leap year) — this time via instagram. It will be my third 365 (a photo a day for a year).

~ I’ve been thinking about doing some kind of intentional reading project, too. Still mulling that one over. I definitely want to read more fiction from my own shelves.

~ Since sleep remains elusive, I should be making better use of that time from around 3 to when my alarm goes off at 5:30. I try to pray, and then I end up thinking about all kinds of things (work, relationships, the fact that I should be sleeping…). I “take [myself ]in hand” and try to pray again and then my mind wanders. It’s really sad. Eventually I pick up my phone or iPad and check emails, social media, and the news. Then I drag myself out of bed and get on with the day. There has to be a better way.

~ I’m amazed that anyone could choose a design or saying to be emblazoned on their flesh forever. It’s a major decision for me to pick out my yearly planner/calendar! This year I went with Moleskine again. Tried and true.

~ It was a rather pitiful reading year for me, but I’ll try to do a round up of my favorite books of 2015 before the new year rolls ’round.

Happy New Year, y’all,

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monday miscellany

Another collection of links from around the ‘sphere:

~ As I’ve mentioned, I’m listening to David McCullough’s the Wright Brothers via Audible. Here’s an interesting interview with the historian about the men.

~ How to keep your phone’s battery healthy.

~ I love stories like this one. God delights in surprising us.

~ Help me face today.

~ I’m grateful to be having some relief from insomnia these past few weeks, but I still appreciate this old article from Challies on us “helpless sacks of sand.”

~ Where have these been all my life? (no need to click on the link unless you’re a fellow office supply nerd)

Happy Monday!

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miscellany

Some odds & ends I’ve collected recently:

~ “If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and use that time to listen to a little self-condemnation, this is a post for you.”

~ While we’re on the subject of sleepless nights:

We all struggle to sleep at night, and to be fair, life in a fallen world is harsh and unpredictable. There are many outside factors that make life difficult and provide reason for restless nights.

But I’m deeply persuaded that in the midst of trial, we often abandon our theology. We quit believing that the Bible has the answers for life and we try to take the reins. With the weight of the world now on our self-appointed shoulders, we struggle to get a good night of sleep.

Do read the whole thing, especially if you, like me, suffer with insomnia.

~ Only 51 days until Auburn football season begins! (But who’s counting?) War Blogle shared a video that got me even more excited.

~ Obama’s metastasizing culture of lawlessness

~ “I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good”: Obama, Bergdahl and Moral Narcissism

~ A simple habit to set the tone of your day

~ I want to try this salad dressing.

~ And this picnic in a glass.

And with that, I’ll bid you a happy Thursday!

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