Gratitude Day 642

Psalm 77:4 – I can’t get a wink of sleep until you come and comfort me. Now I’m too burdened to even pray!

I am a terrible sleeper.

And I have been since I was a young girl.

Often, it feels like Hubby Rick can be asleep before his head hits the pillow.

Me? Not so much.

I toss. I turn. I try to lie still. I try to shut my brain down from running a million miles. I have these “routines” that I use to try and help me sleep. Sometimes they work. Often, they don’t.

I can be dog-tired, climb into bed and instantly, be unable to go to sleep.

I have been to sleep doctors, tried various kinds of prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Something will work for a night or two. And then it doesn’t.

There are times when I can sleep a little better than others. And then, there are stretches when it’s really a struggle.

I’m in one of those struggle times right now.

Just about the time I want to get up, I FINALLY am able to sleep.

Recently, I ran across this article called “The 7 types of rest that every person needs” by Saundra Dalton-Smith MD. She talks about several things that resonate with me.

“Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.”

Amen. Even when I’m not sleeping, I really try to stay in the attitude of resting because I have always felt there was value in simply resting. But here’s where Dalton-Smith stretched my thinking:

“We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep – but in reality, we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.”

Ahhh, now I get it. I think there is a part of us that probably THINKS we need other kinds of rest. Some of us are simply better about making this part of our regular routine than others.

She then addresses seven kinds of rest:

  1. Physical rest – passive physical rest is sleeping and napping. Active physical rest includes restorative activities like yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help with our circulation and flexibility. Recently, a friend and I were chatting about feeling tight after running. I remember a long-time runner telling me that as we age, increasing stretching becomes more imperative for long-term health. And I now agree with him, whether you are a runner or not. I am a huge advocate for regular massage therapy and see this as truly part of self-care. Now if I would just become a bit more regular with stretching.
  2. Mental rest – We often think a vacation or break is what we need to achieve this. But there are other ways we can give ourselves mental breaks without getting on an airplane. Break your workday into 90 or 120 minute blocks and then take a short break. Journaling and list making provides me a place to dump things, so my brain does not have to remember them.
  3. Sensory rest – Maybe this is one that we’re finding more challenging these days. Bright lights, computer screens, background noise, multiple conversations can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. We need time away from all this stimulation. During the pandemic, many of us have spent more time using technology. And honestly, it’s too much. Get outside without your phone. Close your eyes for a minute or two. Keeping your cell phone in a different room than your bedroom at the end of the day. Give your senses a break.
  4. Creative rest – This is especially important for problem solvers or when someone is thinking of new ideas. It’s finding awe and wonder around us. Yes, it can be traveling somewhere that is breath-taking. But we cannot depend on just these jaunts to give us creative rest. Enjoy the outdoors. Display inspiration and images that you love and feed your soul.
  5. Emotional rest – Most of us have felt unappreciated at some point in our lives. Or when we are going through a particularly challenging time in our lives, we need more space to process our feelings and emotions. Yes, these are more than buzz words. The need for space to Just Sit There (J.S.T) is SO. IMPORTANT. Too many of us do not allow this rest in our lives.
  6. Social rest – While we have relationships that give us energy, we often also have relationships that are very draining in our lives. When I spend too much time on exhausting relationships, I quickly become exhausted. And as I type these words, I realize that I most likely am exhausting to someone else. Keep plenty of positive and supportive people in your life, even if this happens virtually. Make your next call to this person a video call so you can see the person’s face, if possible.
  7. Spiritual rest  – All of us need to connect to something beyond ourselves. We all need a sense of belonging, love, purpose and acceptance. Connecting within a faith community and/or other believers is SO. IMPORTANT. Adding a daily ritual of prayer, medication and spiritual reading is imperative for me.

So, what happens when we can’t sleep? How can we engage God in part of this? Sometimes, people feel that not being able to sleep means there is something else going on in their lives. While I think this can be true, I know there is more to insomnia than this. Do I always turn to God when I can’t sleep? Quite honestly, no. Do I wish I did this more often? Of course.

What I am trying to do these days is not get as frustrated when I can’t sleep. Ask God if there is something that I’m hanging onto that I need to off-load unto God. And then, simply rest. Try to stop my brain from being in overdrive and not expect myself to solve any time of situation in the moment.

For those of you who sleep is so easy, yes, I do envy you. Nonetheless, even if you sleep well, rest is still an important part of our overall well-being. I pray we rest well this week.

For a deeper understanding of rest and sleep, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – It is easier for us to focus on how much sleep we get than how much rest we provide for ourselves. I pray that we see both as important in our well-being and self-care. May we prioritize not only sleep … but rest. May we find rest in our spiritual lives with You. Amen.

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