When sleep won’t come

Judith Victoria Hensley - Plain Thoughts

I should already be in bed asleep. It has been a long day with a long drive home from Indiana. My body is tired, and feet swollen. Unfortunately, my brain won’t shut down.

Remember the old saying about counting sheep will help you fall asleep? Not true, at least not for me.

I wish I was one of those people who gets a spurt of energy at night and can clean their entire house in about an hour. I seem to get too tired for housework, but not tired enough for sleep.

On nights when sleep won’t come, I worry a while and pray a while. Tonight I’ve checked e-mails, Facebook, answered text messages, curled my hair, looked at some photos on Pinterest, prayed some more and worried some more, but sleep is a fleeting thing.

I know so many people right now who are going through great tragedy, great loss, or serious illness. I do believe that prayers make all the difference, but worrying is totally worthless. Worrying changes nothing. Worrying is a huge enemy of sleep.

When I was a kid, I’d hide my transistor radio under my pillow and turn it down so low that no one else could hear me listening to WLS in Chicago until I fell asleep. As I got a little older I’d read my Bible until I fell asleep. That is still a good idea when my mind can focus. Some nights it’s as if I could read the same verses over a dozen times and not be able to repeat what I’ve read.

Sometimes I turn on the TV and look for a boring show on low volume until I fall asleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. I know very few people who actually get that much sleep.

Why is sleep so important? It is the time in which our body repairs itself, rests, restores, replenishes. It has been reported that those who sleep well live longer, stay younger looking, are healthier, have better mental clarity, and feel better.

I enjoy knowing what home remedies to try for a variety of complaints. Chamomile tea is reported to relax a person and help them sleep. A glass of warm milk doesn’t sound very tempting to me, but some people seem to think it works well. Smelling lavender is also supposed to help a person sleep soundly.

A hot shower or long bubble bath is believed to help a person relax, therefore go to sleep easier. I do think this helps.

Soothing instrumental music is a trick I try at times. On one night this might help me fall into peaceful slumber and another night my imagination may take off with the music and prevent the very thing I’m hoping for.

Going to bed at a regular time each night is highly recommended. This sets a natural rhythm for the body.

The steady soft sound of rain on a tin roof lulls some people to sleep, but who would want rain every single night? There are actually sound machines that provide noises intended to help a person fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves, soft breezes, rain, and even white noise (which I’ve never figured out).

I sometimes start praying for my family, and friends past and present. I pray for them one person, one need at a time. In the end, I usually am asleep before the list is done. Counting blessings has the same result. No matter what is going on at the moment, we are all blessed in so many ways we can’t possibly count them all. Sleep will come long before we finish the list.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.


Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

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