I want to address a problem that I believe is increasingly becoming more epidemic in our age: Insomnia. People struggle to find sleep, not getting the rest that they need to function everyday, for numerous reasons. 40 million Americans don’t sleep well. Are you one of them? I used to insufferably watch the clock tick off the minutes all night long. But through some serious work on my life and my issues and tweaking some routines, I can honestly report that I blissfully suffer from insomnia no more! I want to share some principles with you for how to move from not sleeping to deep sleeping.
Studies reveal a multitude of repercussions from lack of sleep: Listlessness, brain fog, fatigue, heart disease, inability to focus, poor memory, blurry vision, weight gain, lack of energy, depression, irritability, and accidents, to name a few.
Numerous causes of insomnia often cluster as culprits that snowball together to keep us awake when we need to be resting.
Do you wrestle with any of these in your life at present? Hormone changes, menopause, sickness, grief, fears, anxiety, physical pain, emotional stress, nightmares, sleep apnea and other physical disorders, a baby in the house, negativity, sleeping with a partner who snores, doesn’t sleep, has restless legs, etc.
My own insomnia started when I was a child….my father molested me at night on a regular basis, in my own bed, where I should have felt safe but wasn’t. I learned to ‘sleep’ with one eye open so I could brace myself for the next assault. Nighttime became horror time for me, which takes some retraining of the brain to change, but is doable.
I suffered from sicknesses and terrorizing fears as I grew up, complicated by my racing mind that would never quiet down. A difficult 33-year-long marriage multiplied my feelings of powerlessness and insecurity that added to my night-time anxiety.
I took sleeping pills for 15 years, which gave me maybe 4 hours of ‘good’ sleep at night. But eventually they didn’t even work. Going off of them sent me into a hellish ‘hyper-insomnia’ where literally I did not sleep at all for four months. (I did have a doctor working with me to ease me through and support my system while I detoxed). My doctor said that I wasn’t really sleeping during those four hours, but the pills helped me ‘forget’ that I wasn’t sleeping!
Truth! If you have ever taken sleeping pills—those meds were far more addictive than hydrocodone, my doctors said.
Enough about the problems of sleep! You can find victory if you decide to let go of what IS NOT working for you and embrace some new ideas and routines. Change is hard, but worth pursuing to get some blessed zzzz’s.
What would you be willing to do in order to sleep deep and never watch the clock during the night again?
1. Identify and deal with your issues—let go of what isn’t working for you. Like I said before, insomnia usually stems from clusters of things we need to deal with. Imagine yourself sleeping deeply on a regular basis and how good you will feel getting 8 or more hours of sleep EVERY night. Picture it and make it your goal.
2. If you struggle with fear at night, you will need to deal with the fear. If you wake up in anxiety, ponder the source and take action. I know, easier said than done. You want to be free, don’t you? Find some help if you need someone to listen and help you process your stuff. Counselors, friends, your Creator—-ones willing to help you bravely deal, let go, and embrace peace. I lived in fear with terrible nightmares but those days faded away, simply because I forcefully faced my stuff and turned my situation around.
3. If you have physical issues that keep you awake, are you doing everything you possibly know to do to get relief? Don’t procrastinate! Make a list and take one step today toward finding a solution. Call a doctor, try a suggested solution, do all you know to do to take care of yourself.
4. If you have addictions that keep you up, avoiding bedtime (like gaming all night or eating too much food that keeps you awake or watching YouTube videos), decide to fill those hours with something more productive. Deliberately choose healthy sleep rhythms to reverse unhealthy ones. What have you got to lose by trying something different?
The blue light from technology keeps your brain in active mode so you’ll need to unplug at least an hour before going to sleep. Setting a regular bedtime schedule will help…to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
5. Set up optimal bedtime routines and sleeping conditions. Keep your bedroom uncluttered and dark, without gadget lights and beeping phones. Cool down the temperatures. Watch what you eat and drink before bed—alcohol and caffeine both disrupt sleep.
What are you telling yourself about your sleep situation?
6. I also offer a most important and overlooked solution: Be careful what you say to yourself about sleep. I hear people all the time tell themselves and me that they can’t or don’t sleep.
If you dread going to bed, you need to rewire your brain to anticipate something different. When I agonized through my hyper-sleeplessness, I lived with friends who spoke health and healing words over me and my sleep and dream time. Their words and loving actions powerfully affected me. I followed their lead and declared sleep over myself even in the middle of the night when I wasn’t sleeping. It was a battle, but I won!
If we speak words of sleeping over ourselves before bedtime, our brain and spirit hears what our mouths say, and we begin a shift—just by declaring sleep to happen!
I’ve made available on my website Sleep and Dream Declaration cards that I’ve used to train my brain and body to respond differently to bedtime. Try reading these before you go to bed, and have someone read them over you. Try it for 30 or 60 days in a row and start believing that you will have victory over the monster of insomnia. You have two options: Download a PDF or purchase a laminated card (beautiful and sturdier).
7. I also firmly believe in using supplements and essential oils—they helped me pull out of depression and negative beliefs and helped me get to a more positive state and frame of mind. I diffuse cedarwood oil and lavender oil in my bedroom every night. Inhaling misty oils brings relaxation and peace to my spirit as I lie down at night. Oils and their fragrances directly reach the limbic portion of our brain and can settle us down rather quickly.
I’ve been experimenting and have developed some Dream Cream that is loaded with ingredients that can help induce sleep: magnesium oil help promotes relaxation, and cedarwood and lavender oils do the same. Rub a little on the bottoms of your feet at bedtime. (I only use Young Living oils—-contact me if you are interested in learning more).
Don’t neglect your spiritual needs.
8. Connect with your creator. Prayer is speaking your concerns out and letting them rest in the hands of One who loves you and supports you. It is also listening and receiving direction and being comforted. With this powerful connection, you are armed for your daytime assignments as well as positioned to receive nighttime revelation from dreams. Because you will sleep deep.
Let me know what works for you! I’m praying for peace for you to move from not sleeping to deep sleeping, because that also means receiving Sweet Dreams, too.
I bless you with insomnia no more! Move from not sleeping to deep sleeping.
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