Everybody gets them from time to time – those awful, toss-and-turn, can’t-shut-your-mind-off nights when sleep completely eludes you. No matter what you do, it seems as though you’ve been hard-wired for wakefulness and all you can do is watch the clock and wait for daylight to break.
I get those nights every now and again. In fact, I had one last night. I used to let them unnerve me because all I could do was worry about how I was gong to make it through the coming day without any rest. That, of course, only made the situation worse.
I don’t do that any more.
A few years ago, I decided to go with the flow instead of fighting it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Altering my attitude toward sleeplessness was a game-changer for me and led me to the discovery of three ridiculous but effective secrets for countering those restless, anti-doze nights.
- Make friends with sleeplessness. Stop seeing it as the enemy and instead look at it as a gift. Don’t fight it; embrace it. God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Loving. He knows you’re having trouble sleeping. Perhaps he’s the one who nudged you awake or at the least, didn’t prohibit your wakefulness. Sleeplessness can be a privilege and not a burden if you consider that your days are generally filled with noise of all sorts but the nights are filled with quiet and solitude. Welcome the solitude. Breathe it in and bask in it. Tomorrow the noise will start all over again. Appreciate this time to be alone with God without interruption.
- Whine to your mom. More specifically, whine to your Blessed Mother. Christ gave her to you as he hung dying on the Cross and she has accepted you as her very own. Who better to complain to about your inability to sleep? Tell her everything, unload every bit of what’s on your mind from the tiniest irritation to the greatest woe. Admit your weaknesses and express your desires. Hold nothing back. She’ll listen eagerly to you because she loves you. Getting it all out will help relieve the stress and will begin to calm your mind. But don’t just rage at her, implore her understanding, intercession, and soothing grace. Ask her to show you her love for you and to help you to draw closer to her Immaculate Heart. Then surrender it all to her so that she can place your petitions before her Son.
- Put this time to good use. Whether it was your own heart and mind or God’s providence that put your good night’s sleep on the skids, there is a reason you’re awake. Does someone need your prayers? Maybe it’s the person (or people) you’re worried about, or maybe it’s someone you don’t even know. Is God asking something of you? Don’t waste the opportunity to spiritually reach out to someone in need through prayer. Pray a rosary or chaplet, recite a litany, or listen to an audio prayer podcast. Offer your sleeplessness as a sacrifice for the reparation of sinners or for somebody you know who is suffering. Pass the night will prayerfulness and not trepidation.
It could be that, by the time you’ve talked things out with your Mother and have begun your second rosary, you find yourself nodding off. It not, then you’re no worse off than when you started. In fact, you’ll be better off and so will the recipients of your prayers and sacrifices. And if the day dawns and you’re still fully awake? Well, then you’ll have spent the night in a holy, grace-filed way.