Sleep. Safe, peaceful, nourishing. Restoring, healing mind and body.
Insomnia. Restless mind, restless body, burning eyes and longing-for peace, for comfort, for rest.
The Psalmist certainly knew what it was like to have trouble with sleep. His words hit home, because we all know how it feels.
I am weary with my sighing. Every night I make my bed swim … my eye has become wasted with grief. Ps 6: 7-8 In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; my soul refused to be comforted … You have held my eyelids open … Ps 77: 2; 4
Sleeplessness hurts our body as well as our mind, causing problems from diabetes to heart disease, creating accidents and poor work performance, and leaving us snappy, irritable and moody.
We all want restful sleep, a healthy body and joyful energy. The question for many is-HOW? Most of us experience insomnia occasionally, but for many, lack of sleep has become a painful way of life.
You've probably read the tips: Exercise more, drink less alcohol, use white noise, take a hot bath, sleep in a cool room, drink warm milk (OK, I know that really does help, but I'm rather just stay up!)
All these things are certainly true. And if you are not already doing them-why not?
You will not sleep well if you do not exercise regularly-you can count on that. Alcohol will make you sleepy, but it will also shatter your sleep structure, causing you to wake again and again, between bouts of wonderful, poor quality sleep. Warm baths, the hum of a fan in a cool dark room … all are good ideas, important for good quality sleep.
But what if you've done all these, and still have problems sleeping?
David knew what brought him healthy sleep, and he loves much of his time in joy and rejoicing. What's different for David when he sleeps?
Thou hast put gladness in my heart … in peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety. Ps 5: 7-8 I lay down and slept, I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me. Ps 4: 5-6
Sleep comes when we know we're safe and secure. And that assurance comes with trust in the Lord. With the comfort of knowing you're secretly held in His hands.
You will have worries-and while it's true that most of the things you worry about will not ever happen, you know some may! Your worries grow from real concerns, and reflect the love you have for others, the hopes you have for the future. You may be struggling with heartbreak and loss, and very real problems to face in the morning.
But your worry will not help, no matter how real the concern. And in your heart you know that … and so the fears and worries begin again.
At times it really sees ten thousans have set themselves against us! You want to give your fears and worries, your 'head chatter', to Him, but how? How can you have the peace and restful sleep that comes from trusting in Him, knowing you are safely held no matter what?
Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Ps 4: 4 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart … Ps 77: 6
In meditation, God speaks to our hearts, to our minds and our bodies. He gives us peace at the deepest level … and we can relax, and sleep in the safety of His peace. In meditation, He fills our hearts with the warmth of His love. He washes our bodies with soothing biochemical cascades, giving us everything we need to sleep deeply and richly.
And the more we meditate, the better we sleep!
So when you're struggling in the night, remember David's words, and let God's peaceful gift of meditation fill your soul with comfort, and your body with rest.