Where to Look When

Staying awake at night

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11:28-30


There is nothing like a “good night’s sleep” right? On the subject of sleep naturally it is important. It is that time when the body does “repair” after a day’s activity. It is also a time when God can do some talking, because I read in Job 33:14,15, “For God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ear...”

But getting to sleep -- well that’s another thing. While medically speaking there is narcolepsy which is a syndrome of recurrent attacks of sleep. While one sleeps they encounter 2 stages of sleep. (1) REM Rapid eye movement and (2) NREM. Non-rapid eye movement. In normal individuals NREM sleep always precedes REM sleep and usually lasts for about 60 minutes. I mention the eye movement because I want to return to this phase of not sleeping related to our “spiritual eye” and our “mental eye”.

Insomnia - that inability to obtain sleep - is real and “it” attacks many...perhaps you, if you have chosen to read these lines In fact 15% of our population, I am told, has the inability to get to sleep easily. That’the bad news. The good news is that it is not generally a medical problem. The medical term is suffering from “transisent insomnia.” I want to use the physician’s lingo as a spring board for the spiritual application of insomnia. The definition goes like this. The temporary difficulty to sleep properly. It is usually brought about by the stresses, worries and pressures related to everyday living. It can affect any of us from time to time.

I have heard people say, “I need my sleep” True. The amount varies among people, but research has shown that when healthy adults are allowed to sleep unrestricted, the average time slept is 8 to 8.5 hours. If one does not get enough sleep then what is called a “sleep debt” builds up.

I might insert here that you probably have heard the phrase, “counting sheep” as a method of going to sleep? Well, I certainly would like to change that to “counting blessings” if one has to count anything.

So, how does one get past insomnia or even partrial insomnia...staying awake at nigh? Let me go back to the medical reason: “Usually brought about by the stresses, worries and pressures related to everyday living.” So, this morning (at the time of this writing) I asked the person sitting across from me in my office, “What do you say to a person who has trouble getting to sleep?” The answer: “I ask, ‘where is your mind?’”Where are your mind’s eyes REM...worrying?..running to and fro?

Last month I had a period of days in which I dreaded going to bed because I found myself lying awake (with my eyes closed). I heard the chiming of the clock gong, gong.....11 times. I lay there - then the chiming of the clock gong, gong...12 times. Now mind you I do not feel under stress. But I can’t go to sleep.

So, what do I do? I examine my mind. I go through the streets of my mind and see where IT is focused. To my surprise I was “thinking”. I was “planning” I was “doing”. So, I pray and pray. I praise and I praise. I put my mind in a spiritual mode.

When I found that nothing was happening I had to make best use of my time. NOT planning, but just trying to focus on Jesus, His name, His power, His presence. What I was doing (according to scripture) was to “redeem the time”. In the course of “time” during those early morning hours, I did fall into peaceful sleep.

I am not saying that this is a cure all. I am saying that WORRY does keep one awake at night. I am saying that FRETTING does keep one awake at night. I am saying that STRESS does keep one awake at night.

So the gentleman in my office was on target when he said, “I would ask that person where their mind was!”


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