Of the many gifts I have one elicits hate among my acquaintances. I can sleep anyplace at any time. You are either envious or you can relate. There is no in between. Can I sleep on car rides, bus rides and plane rides? Yes. Can I take afternoon naps? Check. Being able to sleep at night seems one of those nature vs. nurture arguments. It has to do with the status of your soul, the events in your life, and the chemicals occurring in your body.
As a kid I had many nights where sleep did not come because I could not breathe. There was a strong overlay of fear which made the situation even worse. The more anxious I became the harder it got to breathe and sleep became impossible. I would lay in bed and call to mind the type of winding roads found in Dr. Seuss stories and Escher paintings---roads that lead someplace but have no end. I would imagine myself hiking those roads en route to great adventure and peaceful places. Finally rest and sleep would come.
Many people see sleep as interrupting life. This belief leads to a greater failure to achieve sleep. I see sleep as a merciful escape and welcome its coming. When one spends days and nights in breathless agony, the coming of sleep is greatly welcome. The bible speaks of God’s mercies as being new every morning. If there are no new mornings however, there are no new days of mercy. Sleep is a gift.
The gift of sleep doesn’t come easy to all of us. Stress and sickness can steal sleep away from us for seasons. The Psalms speak of being “weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.” Being quiet and still make bed a perfect place to reflect on life, but brain spinning will rob of rest.
Spinning thoughts at night rob of rest, but spinning on the bike and good diet help establish decent sleep patterns. Numerous studies attest to this many citing such chemicals as Serotonin as necessary for good sleep. On top of that is emotional health. When I can crawl into bed feeling right with God and having a clear conscience the sheets surround and dreams are sweet. Darkness in my life counteracts rich rest.
Though sleep comes easily to me it still remains a battle to get it enough and in good quality. So I write this as a reminder to myself (and you by extension) to watch diet, exercise and conscience and to watch the clock on the wall as well. Recognizing that there will be nights of short sleep and days of duress but that I can take steps to assure sweet sleep. That makes for one less nap I have to take.