While driving across town earlier, there was a recurring theme on the radio. The D.J.’s kept talking about sleep problems and various techniques callers used to help with sleep issues. I began to think about how prevalent sleep issues really are in our society.
How often do people have trouble sleeping? All the time. I know I struggle with it. Then again I have young children, one of whom still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night. A full night’s sleep is a rare treasure.
So often I hear of people who wake up during the night and can’t fall back asleep. Or, they lay down to go to sleep and their brain won’t shut off. (Psst, I’ve also been one of these people many, many times.) We’re so jacked up worrying about our to-do lists, our day, what we forgot, what we can’t forget, the world, that we can’t shut it down long enough to get much needed rest.
I read articles about screen time this and that affecting sleep patterns. The full moon can keep us awake. And not to mention these crazy times we are living in. The news might be the worst thing to read when you’re struggling to sleep. It’s enough to make anyone need sleep meds.
Then I think of my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas. There’s that scene where Rosemary Clooney’s character can’t sleep, so she goes to get a sandwich where she runs into Bing Crosby. Upon learning she can’t sleep he sings her a song.
“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”
Wow. Right?! This simple advice is so powerful. Have you tried it? The best part – it actually works. When laying in bed at night and my worries start to get a hold on me, I stop and count my blessings one by one. I think of each blessing, no matter how small, and I hold it in my heart and smile. I take a deep breath and thank God for that blessing. Then I think of another, and another, until I fall asleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, I just do it again. Even if I don’t fall asleep right away, the time spent being awake is much more pleasant, and I feel better when I wake up.
“When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”
This is such a profound reminder that no matter how big our problems may seem, they could always be worse, so it is a blessing that they are what they are. I am betting you there are pharmaceutical companies out there bankrolling on our money problems keeping us up at night, so they make more sleeping pills. Yet, if we spent more time counting our blessings instead of our worries, perhaps we would need fewer pills.
“I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds”
And my greatest blessings, and ironically the ones who give me the most worries, I thank God for the most. When I can’t sleep for worries of their health, their futures, their general wellbeing, I stop and just give thanks for them. I give thanks for their smiles, for their sweet spirits, for every moment I’ve had with them. They sleep blissfully unaware of their mother’s worries. They have no idea I lie awake thinking of them. Yet I imagine they can feel my love as I count them as blessings which helps us all sleep better.
So, if you’re struggling with sleep, have anxiety or other worries keeping you awake, try this one trick, and may you slumber peacefully as you count your blessings.
And if that doesn’t work, let Bing sing you a lullaby here.
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