Monday, August 11, 2014

Sleep Yearning ~ 7 Compelling Invitations

'One more hour of sleep equals several more hours of much higher productivity. 
Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize.'
~    McKeown    ~
So ... how many hours do you scrape by on each night? 
The specialists tell us we need 8 ... or even 7.  Yet truth be told, many of us try to manage on 6.  Or even 5. 
We're not talking about the occasional sleepless night here, but a chronic exhaustion, a distinct lack of energy that saps the essence of who we are, leaving us to sleepwalk through our days in a kind of lethargic survival mode.
Perpetually sluggish, we know we're missing the boat when it comes to mental sharpness.  Our ability to focus clearly and complete even the simplest of tasks well seems to be waning.  Decision making has become last minute, slapdash, or based on fear or other nebulous emotions.  We react rather than thoughtfully respond to what comes at us.  And we can't remember the last time there was a zestful creativity or those sky's-the-limit envisionings that give life its vibrant joy and glorious bounce.   
This isn't working for us, is it.
Check out these 7 little sleep-inducing tidbits that have served me well ... {when I live them out!}
1.  Take a hike
30 minutes of walking earlier in the day may boost levels of serotonin, that feel-good hormone that relaxes us.  And the rise in body temperature brought on by walking may signal the brain to lower our temperature hours later, promoting sleep.  Plus, we're able to smile inside, knowing we're taking care of our bodies with regular exercise.
2.  No evening caffeine, sugar, or heavy snacks
This should be a no-brainer, but a 9 pm hot fudge sundae with all the trimmings is just not conducive to a good night's sleep.  Going to bed with a full stomach is a recipe for insomnia.  Sorry.
3.  A long hot bath
This is my ultimate go-to stress reliever.  Very heavy on the bubbles, please.
4.  Cut way back on online activity 
An evening of endless browsing or heavy duty writing absolutely does not work for me.  All I can say is that I wish my favorite blog link-ups were scheduled during the daylight hours, not at 10 or 11pm at night. 
5.  No heavy duty discussions
Outside of some gentle pillow talk, I don't know if I can remember any super-productive late night discussions.  This is not the time for major decisions, conflict resolution, or true confessions.  Save it for the daylight hours when you're awake and alert.   
6.  Adios to playing Holy Spirit
If you're moving through life feeling like you need to obsessively rescue, fix, or save others, your mind will have a very hard time settling down and you will never be at peace.  Period.  Here's why.
7.  Book-light journaling
If it's been a wild few days and my mind is whirling like a crazed dervish, I flip on my little book-light and pull out my journal.  Scratching out my thoughts, feelings, and concerns {no names, please}, processing them well, and then releasing them to the Lover of my soul is hugely helpful and a wonderful benediction to the day.  Deep breathing prayer only adds to the sweet release.  He whispers, 'peace, be still.'  Psalm 127 tells us that He grants sleep to the ones He loves ... if we let Him do His sacred work in our weary, over-burdened souls.
If you find that this collection of ideas isn't making much of a difference, please talk to your doctor.  You might be dealing with a side effect from a medication.  Or experiencing depression.  Sleep apnea might be in the picture.  Or any one of a number of medical challenges that can be diagnosed and treated.  Successfully.
Night-night.  Sleep tight.
/   mommy and me on the beach ~ 1956   /
/   sharing these little invitations with Kristen & Holley   /
the links are below



  1. OH--this full moon is wrecking havoc on my sleep! I NEED 8 hours--NOT happy when I do not get it. Thankful for retirement and the ability to get those ZZZ's most of the time!

    1. For sure, in this season, a full night of deep slumber is surely a cause for praise! I'm hearing ya', Lulu!

      Sleep tight ...

  2. I don't always take good advice like I should, but I recognize it when I see it. :) These are 7 pieces of good advice here, Linda. As one who struggles to stay asleep, I like to see suggestions like these.

    Hope you have a marvelous week ahead!

    1. Often our best thoughts come from our own learnings, yes? As I wake in the middle of the night, I will pray for you, friend.

      Rest well ...

  3. I've been consistently sleep deprived ever since I had my first baby six years ago. I actually took a nap this afternoon, and that made me even more tired! I will have to try some of the tips you shared here. Have a lovely week, Linda!

    1. And the picture of you and your mother is just so wonderful! x

    2. I hear that anything more than a 15 - 20 minute nap makes us feel even groggier when we wake up. And how I remember those early years of mothering and the sheer exhaustion of it all. I sympathize greatly, Yuko ... and encourage you to talk with your doctor about this ongoing sleep deprivation.

      And I'm sure my own mama was exhausted when that picture was taken ... I hear I was quite the night terror, screaming and demanding bacon and chocolate pudding.


      Sweet dreams ...

  4. Keeping tabs on my sleep patterns has been a huge help in monitoring my depression. If I have difficulty falling asleep, experience sleep discontinuity in the middle of the night, or find myself oversleeping in the morning, I know that these are early warning signs of a potential episode. After much fear about taking medication, my doctor and I settled on one that works well for me each night -- helping me to sleep through the night and wake up rested. I'm grateful for this sleep aid (and no longer afraid of using it!).

    Of the tips you mention, I've found that "signing off" earlier in the evening (from computing, serious thinking, decision making, etc.) is especially helpful. Thanks for sharing your advice, Linda!

    God bless you,

    1. Thanks for your honesty in talking about the signs of an approaching depression episode, sweet lady. And I appreciate your ability to say that yes, there is a time and place for well-monitored medication when it comes to our sleep challenges. I absolutely agree 100%.

      Readers - please do visit HBHW's blog. Her willingness to write about depression and faith ... and the beautiful photography that accompanies her writings, will be a deep soul-level encouragement, especially for those who do battle with this dark night of the soul. HBHW's writings offer steady hope and a lovely companionship, and I praise God for His beautiful creative healing work in her life ...

      I am honored to know her.

  5. I'm big on my eight hours of sleep but still appreciate the advice you've shared. All good things to put into practice whether or not sleeping is an issue in my opinion. :)
    Way behind on blog reading but always so good to come visit you.
    Much love to you, friend.

    1. Yep, it's summertime and many of us are not keeping up with the blogging world like we do when the temps are frigid and we're tucked inside for weeks on end. And that's all good, isn't it, Beth ... we need the freedom and grace to come and go a little less often, to catch our breath, to play outdoors, to rest from routine.

      May your week be peacefully serendipitous!


  6. Hi Linda! I am always rocking back and forth on sleep time. I like to stay up late and get up early, a deadly combo for feeling refreshed. This is a good reminder to step back and make better choices for myself.

    Loved the point about being the 'Holy Spirit'. I've never heard it phrased that way, but I totally understand the point. And worry of course, that's a big sleep-stealer.
    Hope you had a restful night last night!

    1. I could swear that there was a mouse gnawing on something in the bedroom last night, Ceil. Needless to say that unwanted companion robbed me of an hour or two of blissful rest.


      He must have read the post ... and had the last laugh.


  7. If only I could shut off my brain at bedtime! So many nights I lay there thinking....I even get up and write down thoughts I am worried I will forget. And don't get me started on those "brilliant" ideas I have at night and realize how bad they are in the morning! Haha

    1. I hear you, Sarah! I've composed whole posts in my sleep ... only to be completely forgotten when I wake up a few hours later.

      But some I can recall, in vivid detail. And they turned out to be not that bad!

      Go figure!


  8. I love the picture. When I first saw it, I thought, "Oh, that must be one of Linda's grandchildren. There's such a strong resemblance!" Joke was on me when I saw your comment at the bottom that it was actually YOU!! Great, sweet picture.

    The journaling idea is my favorite (big surprise) and the one I find most helpful when I can't go to sleep or especially when I wake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. My other favorite is to read (of course that can backfire if I'm at an exciting part of a novel ;-) before going to bed. Reading calms me and helps me to settle in and fall asleep quickly.

    1. I've yet to journal in the middle of the night. That's a new one for me. But I do love a good book at day's end. Like you, relaxing into those pages calms and settle me ...

      And I'll be sure to tell my mama that you liked the picture! Thanks, Dar.


  9. Wonderful advice, as always, Linda! I'm a person who absolutely can not function without proper sleep. My son started school back this morning so we are getting up much earlier. I need to remember that also means going to bed much earlier. #6 is great! I need to post that by my bed. The picture of you with your mom is beautiful. What an awesome keepsake to have!

    1. Back to school? Where did the summer go? Blessings of deep sleep each night to you and your son as you kick off this next year!

      And yes, that picture makes me smile. I'm so grateful to get to share it here in this place.

      Great to see you again, Candace!


  10. All of your ideas are wonderful! I will admit I am more of a 6 hour a night girl when it comes to sleep but this is not always productive for me. I have tried many of your ideas but I just need to make a better effort to getting to bed earlier, turning the lights off and calling it a night. Blessings!

    1. I hear you. And yet sometimes we just want to be night owls, don't we, Mary!

      Hoo. Hoo. Hoo.



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This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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