Too tired to sleep
“Good morning! How’d you sleep?” That’s a phrase many of us hear from time to time.
If you stop to think about it, we humans spend an extraordinary amount of time in life dedicated to sleep. Perhaps second only to working hours (or these days, to screen time), sleep looms large in our daily lives.
What’s so important about sleep? A National Sleep Foundation poll found that, “among U.S. adults with excellent sleep health, nearly 90 percent say they feel very effective at getting things done each day, compared to only 46 percent of those with poor sleep health.”
In biblical terms, we see that sleep is a blessing from the Lord. Psalm 127:1-2 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”
Yet I know many people who walk around feeling systematically sleep-deprived. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps your job is at odd hours, making good sleep hard to come by. Perhaps you have a full house of kids or people you are taking care of that make sleep difficult. It could even be feelings of guilt or worry are robbing you of sleep. You may even have a sleep disorder or medical condition.
What can we do when we have trouble sleeping? Though I’m no expert, here are few ideas:
- Put away technology. The “blue glowing light” of screens beckons us away from many important things, including sleep. I heard someone advise to put our phones and screens to bed one hour before you go to bed, which can only help.
- Read a book. Before you pop a sleeping pill, go the old-fashioned way of reading a book before bed. As a Christian, we believe we must prioritize reading God’s Word each day. But don’t be afraid also to read some light fiction, or just a book you enjoy, before lights out.
- Get into a routine. I know someone who is a self-described “night owl.” This person ends up staying up late and sleeping in late, and seems always to walk around tired. The explorers Lewis and Clark said that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth more toward restfulness than several hours after midnight. Re-evaluate your schedule, if you are sleep deprived.
- Pray. Christian writers have long upheld the idea of morning and evening prayers. There is something significant about beginning each day in prayer to God, and ending each day before God. We don’t pray to Him so that we can sleep. We pray and “He gives to His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2).
These are just a few ideas, none of which require medication, which I have found helpful, to go with whatever ideas you may have.
All this being said, there can be days when suggestions like these just don’t work. You go to bed and just stay wide awake. And that’s okay. Whether in plenty of sleep or little, may God show each of us how to put Him first and how to give thanks in all things.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).