Suddenly, I was wide awake.
I stared at my bedroom clock. 1:30 AM. Again?! I had fallen asleep just two hours ago, and now I was wide awake. Was my body playing a cruel joke on me? I lay awake for hours, finally dozing off for a little bit before I had to get up at 6 am to get ready for work. As I dragged myself through my day, I desperately hoped that my struggle with insomnia would end soon!
For over a month, I lived in a sleep deprived haze. Nearly every night, I would wake up between 1:00 am and 3:00 am. Some nights, I was tormented by fear and anxiety. Other nights, I just felt wide awake in the wee hours of the morning, and trying to get back to sleep was nearly impossible. Once in a while, I would sleep through the night, and then on other nights I would sleep maybe thirty minutes. I often felt like a zombie at work, just pushing through and trying my best to have a good attitude.
I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with sleep. I’m certainly not an expert in dealing with insomnia. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve learned a few truths along my journey.
God cares about your sleep.
We don’t typically realize this, but God wants you to get good rest! He loves you so much that He wants you to experience full life and energy, which includes getting a good night’s rest.Jesus is our shepherd, and as a loyal shepherd He watches over His sheep so that we can rest peacefully. Click To Tweet In Psalm 127:2, David wrote, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”
God has given us a time to rest every night as a gift. God never sleeps (Psalm 121:4) so we know He watches over us, taking care of us while we rest. God promises us peace and safety while we sleep. David wrote in Psalms 4:8, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (NKJV). When I was struggling with insomnia, I often reminded myself that I am God’s daughter, His beloved child. Just as a loving father soothes his children, our Heavenly Father comforts and guards us.
Controlling Stress and Fear
Several weeks ago, I was driving home from my church’s young adult group late Friday night. On my drive home, I was harassed by another driver on a lonely stretch of the road. It was a scary encounter, but thankfully my harasser disappeared as soon as we reached a busy intersection. This eventful drive scared me deeply, and it took a while for my adrenaline to wear off. Not surprisingly, I barely slept that night. While my average day does not include road incidents, even mild stress and anxiety has impacted my ability to sleep. I learned that controlling stress and fear during the day will help me to sleep at night.
But sometimes no matter what happened during the day, fear and panic attacked me in the middle of the night. Several nights when I woke up in a panicked state, I had to keep telling myself that Jesus was there with me, and everything was okay. I kept repeating this to myself until I felt calm. When fear and stress attack, we are not defenseless!
Right before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus promised us peace in our lives. He said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Find a Bible verse (like John 14:27) that you can stand on and keep telling yourself that truth! Praying before bed and enjoying worship music has helped me calm my fear and anxiety before going to sleep. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the truth that God is right here with us in our bedrooms – He never leaves us or forsakes us! Prayer and listening to worship music are excellent ways to wind down before bed and spend time with our Father. This song by Naomi Raine is a beautiful expression of God’s peace in our lives.
Dealing with Racing Thoughts
Racing thoughts are the enemy of falling asleep. I’ve found that sometimes a distraction is one of the best ways to get to sleep at night. When I was in the thick of dealing with insomnia, I would put in my headphones and listen to something. Abide Sleep Meditations are my favorite. They have a YouTube channel, an app, and a podcast. Listening to these has helped me tremendously because they take my thoughts off my worries while I’m focused on what the podcast host is saying. When I’ve listened to an Abide sleep podcast, I’ve normally fallen asleep in thirty minutes or less.
Building a Healthy Sleep Routine
For those of us who struggle with insomnia, having a healthy sleep routine can also be helpful. Things such as:
- Avoiding caffeine close to bedtime
- Limiting screen time and social media before bed
- Having a similar bedtime routine every night (possibly including prayer and worship music like I suggested above!)
- Getting sunshine and exercise throughout the day
These are all healthy habits that can help our bodies relax and fall asleep more easily. Our habits and routines affect how well we sleep, so getting into healthy habits can improve our quality of sleep and help eliminate sleepless nights.
God understands our struggles, and He is right here with us. He wants us to enjoy peaceful sleep! I want to leave you with Proverbs 3:24, which says, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet,” (NKJV).
If you are struggling with sleep, remember that God is with you, He wants your sleep to be sweet, and He promises to help you sleep peacefully!