Sleep is an idea that’s never wandered far from my heart. Just to paint a picture of how much I’ve always enjoyed sleep, my mom says that when I was little she used to lose track of me for entire afternoons at a time. She would look all over the house, worried sick, and finally find that I’d just been asleep in my bed the entire time. Lately, I haven’t been able to sleep. For whatever reason, my heart has begun racing every Saturday night, like it’s excited about something I don’t know about. I’ve been looking all over, asking everyone I know for tips on how to relax before bedtime and get a good night’s rest. What I found, instead of direct information on relaxation and how to get to sleep, were fundamental ideas of how I should think of sleep in general. This valuable, new knowledge of what sleep is has changed my sleeping habits radically. Now that I understand what my sleep means to me, relaxation and falling asleep come naturally once again.
I know I perform better during the day if I’ve had a solid, restful seven to nine hours of sleep the night before. The days after I’ve had a good night’s sleep are always the easiest for me to have a positive outlook and attitude in everything I do. It’s easy for me to be especially nice to the people around me on days when I feel rested. Knowing that days are easier to tackle when I’m rested makes it all the more stressful for me when I can’t sleep. I lay in bed, awake, worrying that I’ll be exhausted and more easily prone to anger the next day; it’s miserable because I know that sleep is of the utmost importance for me.
I have learned that tomorrow’s day actually begins at tonight’s sunset. What I mean is that, by getting a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be ready to run with the day tomorrow. Thinking of sleep as the end of my day made it extremely easy for me to write it off as the bottom of my priority list. It became less important to me than almost every other task. Sleep didn’t even register on my mental to-do list until I was finished with homework and other obligations, and it was already time for me to get ready for bed. Knowing that sleep is important enough to be the key to an easy day brings it to the forefront of my mind. Lately, I wake up in the morning feeling victorious, like I’ve already accomplished a huge feat by sleeping well through the night. Let me just say that feeling triumphant every morning definitely affects my entire attitude throughout every day.
After discussing the subject of sleep with my dad and my brother, I realize that sleep is a vital time when I encounter God. God often communicates with me in my dreams. I can remember vivid dreams I’ve had in the past that have given me answers to questions I’d been asking myself while awake. I also know now that being at peace is an essential part of falling asleep and staying asleep through the night, since I’ve experienced a lack of sleep caused by stress and excitement first-hand. Expecting to encounter God in my sleep makes it easy for me to remember that He has already provided me with the fruit of the Spirit, including the peace I need to relax at night before falling asleep (Galatians 5:22-23).
The random excitement I’ve been feeling on Saturday nights makes me think of that scene in The Little Mermaid where Ariel watches Prince Eric on the beach and realizes that somewhere, somehow, circumstances are being lined up for her dreams to come true. Until I find out exactly what circumstances are being lined up for my dreams to come true, I need to sleep at night. After much searching and asking everyone I know for answers, I think I’ve finally found some ideas about ways to sleep that work for me. Understanding what sleep means to me and how it affects me every day has been the key in finally getting the rest I’ve needed.
Written by Becca