Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In the morning, when I rise ...

What's on your mind, first thing when you wake up? Do you wake refreshed and raring to go? Are you sloughing off dreams? Grateful the insomnia of night is past? Full of new ideas and plans?

I read today about things some people do in their sleep: eating, texting, and walking around, to name a few. In the morning, they have no memory of what they've done. The kitchen is littered with wrappers, their friends are texting back ??? , doors are unlocked, and there's mud on their shoes.

People with music in their heads find themselves waking night and day with tunes and rhythms. I improvise, focus in on a looping song, or conduct with my feet. On mornings after I've been attentive to God, I wake with hymns or choruses scrolling. Most of the time I'm not even zoned in to the music: it's just there. I tune in some mornings to find out how the night went by.

Studies show that women sleep more lightly than men and have more trouble falling back asleep. Meanwhile, men are noisier and more physically active during sleep. Great - he moves and she wakes up. That's the reason many couples begin to sleep in separate beds or rooms. (Separate duvets in the same bed in the same room works for us most of the time!)

So .... how do you improve your sleep and your waking mood? Begin to keep track of how you wake and what influences your sleep. Then work on minimizing sleep deprivation:
  1. Watch your physical intake. Chich foods, drinks, and eating patterns support deep and long sleep?
  2. Watch your mental intake. Sleep studies say that the blue screen light of electronics hinders sleep. Ban the TV, phone, or tablet from your sleeping area. And shut off the computer an hour before bedtime to let your mind relax.
  3. Watch your spiritual intake. Are you feasting on scripture as your last act of the day? Closing your eyes with a prayer of gratitude for God's presence and provisions? Or do you agitate your soul with unforgiveness, grinding through decisions made that day, or worrying about the future?
  4. Thank God for the night. He created humans with a pause to regenerate our bodies, souls, and spirits. Receiving the hours of sleep from His hands allows us to rest and renew ourselves in Him.
King David understood the rest only God could give, even when his enemies were in hot pursuit: "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)

His son Solomon wrote of the futility of efforts without God's help: "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves." (Psalm 127:1, 2)

To summarize the believer's life of rest and assurance, read Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

I wish you sweet dreams. And wise and rested risings in the morning!

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