In the Awake Hours

Sometimes I get in these frustrating sleep patterns where I wake up somewhere between 2am and 3am and don’t fall back asleep until 5:30 or 6:00–whenever hubby gets up. The real problem is that my alarm goes off less than an hour later. This sleeplessness isn’t really anything new. It used to be when I got into bed that I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. Now it’s switched to the middle of the night interval. If I were a normal person, I could get up and redeem the hours, do something productive like read or write or organize. Anything to pass the minutes. But my eye issues have declared this an impossibility. (Can’t see out of my glasses to do anything worthwhile and can’t wear my contacts any more hours a day than I already do!) And so I face the awake hours lying in bed in a dark room.

I used to use the time to worry, for the world always looks darkest in those “wee small hours” of the morning, as Emily of New Moon would say. And I’ll admit I still do my fair share of that, in spite of my determination not to. Sometimes I map out the next day, minute by minute. Of course, the day never turns out as I planned–if I even remember the plan when day finally dawns. Sometimes I think through whole stories in my head, but never my work in progress. I’ve learned the hard way the frustration of not being able to remember any of my midnight stories. Who knows what works of genius have vanished with the light of day! 🙂

But mostly, I try to pray. Or praise. Although it must sound more like whining to God when the clock turns past two hours and I still haven’t found sleep! And yet, during the days or weeks when this occurs, I am learning first hand something I once read a book by Ruth Bell Graham. She wrote that in her frustration over not sleeping, she learned to trust that God knew exactly the amount of rest she needed for the coming day and accept it. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m moving that way. Still, if I had my way, I’d sleep uninterrupted for at least 7 hours every single night!

What do you do at night when you can’t sleep? Any tips or tricks for getting back to sleep that work for you?

8 comments on “In the Awake Hours

  1. Most of my tricks involve eyesight, but I may have a good idea. Lately I’ve been downloading audio books to my ipod, and I plan to get the Bible eventually. Even though I haven’t tried audio books as a sleep aide yet, I’m pretty sure Leviticus would work like a charm.

  2. Sadly, I don’t have good tricks other than taking a dose of NyQuil which really isn’t smart…especially if you only have a couple hours left to sleep!

    One thing my mom told me to do was pray through the alphabet–starting with someone who’s name starts with A, then B, so on. Makes me feel bad for people whose names start with latter letters, though…they probably don’t get prayed for nearly as often. 🙂

    • I love that idea, Melissa! Usually I just pray for whoever pops into my weary brain, but I’m going to try the alphabet. Thanks! 🙂

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