Sleep has been a work in progress for me for over 20 years now. I’ve seen steps forward, slides back, and even some major breakthroughs. Yet there is one factor that seems to always have a powerful effect.
My Super Sleep Deficiency
During my college years, I could go for months on end laboring to fall asleep at night, nodding off in classes, and running the stairs on breaks to try to keep myself awake. I’d feel the creep of painful anxiety running through my veins on long sequences of overnight, overseas flights as I failed again on the sleep factor on missions trips. I just couldn’t seem to sleep anywhere- definitely not in any moving vehicle, and usually not in my bed either.
My Sleep Surprise
As days and nights bled together in the four years of this largely sleepless existence, suddenly there would be a break in classes. My parents would hop in their van and begin their the eight-hour, round-trip drive from Indiana to Chicago and back again to pick me up and bring me home. A big hug and kiss and some pleasantries later, we’d not be far out of Chicago when, instead of catching up with my parents as planned, I’d be conked out the majority of the way home. I’d drift awake wondering at the drool spot on my shirt and my sudden ability to sleep-of all places- in a vehicle.
Flash forward to just a week ago. My light had been flickering out after late nights plowing ahead on some curriculum design deadlines. I was exhausted. At this stage of life, with two little guys too big to nap running around, I almost never get a nap.
Just as my deadline hit Monday, July first, my parents climbed in their van to make the eight-hour trip to Missouri to visit us for the week. Tuesday through Saturday, I found myself conked out on the couch in the middle of kid exuberance, TV blaring, dad rocking on the couch near me, and mom quietly trying to keep the kids quiet.
My Secret Sleep Potion
Falling asleep in a vehicle? Not possible. Falling asleep in a noisy living room with TV going, kids asking me questions, and people all around? Not like me at all.
What was the common denominator?
My parents’ presence. Something about being with Mom and Dad just knocks me out- in a good way. Something hard for me, like sleep, becomes possible in impossible situations (for me) when they’re around.
Fascinating research shows that just hearing your Mother’s voice can raise your oxytocin (increasing feelings of love and closeness), decrease your cortisol (reducing the stress hormone) and even be just as effective in reducing your stress level as a hug or an arm around your shoulder! In my case, the presence of my parents reduced my stress level so effectively that I could sleep in situations formerly not possible for me.
My Super Sleep Solution
From all this, I might recommend talking to your parents or someone who knows and loves you well before you go to sleep. Even more importantly, you might consider this:
As I lay awake one of the nights after my parents left, I was reminded of something. If my parents can have that profound effect on my sleep, how much more should the voice of my Heavenly Father? How much more should His presence profoundly impact my rest?
I’ve gone down all kinds of routes to solve my sleep issues- improving sleep hygiene, using earplugs, using a white noise machine, boosting my vitamin D, dealing with parasites, doing a sleep study, cutting out caffeine, doing a surgery to open up my nasal passages so I can breathe, etc. Through counseling about improving sleep, I discovered that the thing that calmed me most was the voice of God and His presence. I tried all kinds of helpful relaxation techniques, but reading God’s Word and talking to Him had the most profound effect.
Recently, God impressed on my heart a reality that quiets my soul. I wrote about that in Restlessness Cure. The bottom line is this- God is with me. In His presence, I can rest. In His presence, what may seem impossible is possible.
More Like This
Sip Life Slowly is designed to help you get more out of life. To help you be more present in it and to enjoy it more. One way I get the most out of life is to rest in God’s presence. I pray His presence brings you rest today. If you liked this, you might like:
- Restlessness Cure
- News Article About Your Mother’s Voice Being as Powerful as a Hug
- Give Yourself a Break