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What Keeps You Up at Night?

I have always been an intense thinker. As a child, perhaps 8 years old, I remember lying in my bed trying to understand infinity. I could not get my mind around something being endless. Everything physical in our world seemed to be finite in some way. The only things that seemed infinite were those dealing with the more spiritual and less tangible things.

I recall processing certain Bible verses and trying to understand the fear they raised in me. A fear of never being good enough.

Sleep is a mysterious and sometimes elusive thing for me. I can be so tired I cannot keep my eyes open, but let my head hit the pillow and my brain comes alive. Once I am asleep, I sleep well. It is the getting there that can sometimes be a problem. Now, sit me on the couch in front of the tv in the middle of the day and I can nap like no other.

I was going to seep with music, then I tried guided meditations (I listen too intently), but overall, silence is still my favorite sleep aid. (I did do well listen to someone reading in Korean because I could not understand a word of it! 😂) My daughter suggested I take melatonin but I hate ingesting things I don’t know much about. Chamomile tea can sometimes help. The problem for me, I think, is how to shut off my brain.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about people that find it important to forgive anyone they held a grudge against before they die. It seems odd to me that one would not want to ease that burden in life rather than in death. It makes me wonder if that is another religious construct or if their own thoughts weigh heavy on their mind at that time.

Of course I also – I won’t say worry – but think a lot about the final tally and outcome of Covid-19 and what that will mean to life as we know it. We are already seeing so many ramifications it boggles the mind to think what might lie ahead – especially for my children and grandchildren.

My days are filled with uplifting and delightful thoughts, conversations and positivity. But this habit I have of thinking deep thoughts at bedtime is something that has been with me my entire life. Maybe it will always be.

I always feel fairly relaxed, although my physical therapist tells me how tight my muscles are in my neck and shoulders. Maybe I am not as relaxed as I think.

So I ask you, what keeps you up at night? Are you an over-thinker like me, or do you sleep like a baby?

40 thoughts on “What Keeps You Up at Night?”

  1. I do my best thinking in the middle of the night. Always have. It’s the stillness of that time that appeals to me, knowing no one will interrupt my musings. I guess it’s odd now that I think about it, but like you I’ve always been like this.

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  2. The mind’s going all the time, then there’s the getting comfy thing, and how Hubby is doing. Pain keeps him awake, and my concerns for him have me checking on him if he ends up sleeping in the lounge where he can sit up, which helps. Then I get the occasional ear worm in my head.
    I have to be totally exhausted to sleep as soon as the lights are switched off. However, when I do sleep, my conscience is usually clear. I know I’m loved, and he who loves me knows he’s loved back.

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    1. Di, I understand the concerned for your husband. With my vertigo, I am constantly changing positions and often have ended up on the recliner so I can be upright. A wedge pillow has helped. How fortunate we are when we can say we know we are loved. I can do the same.

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        1. I know people who always sleep in a recliner. I slept on the couch for weeks at a time. It is nice to get back in the bed, though. Hopefully he will be able to find a solution that allows him to get the healing rest he needs. I am glad you have each other.❤️

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  3. For most of my life, I used to read a book in bed before going to sleep. Sometimes, I would be thinking about what had happened in the book too much, and had trouble getting off to sleep. I stopped doing that almost 15 years ago, and now rarely have trouble sleeping. The problem is that vivid dreams regularly disturb my sleep now and often wake me up, as they seem so real.
    Once I have woken up, sometimes at 3:30-4 am, I do find it much harder to get back to sleep again.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Usually the only time I have vivid dreams I remember is when I am startled awake or when I am on medication that makes me drowsy. Those 3-4 am wakeups are the worst. Vertigo has made the process of falling asleep much harder, but the physical therapy really seems to be helping.

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  4. Where do I start? I fall asleep easily enough but often am wide awake between 2 am and 3 am. My mind runs through a “to-do” list of everything from “take the laundry out of the dryer” to “finish the presentation for work”. Melatonin doesn’t work for me. Sometimes if I turn the light on and read for 15-20 minutes, it’s enough to take my mind off the list and I get back to sleep. Other times, I just have to resign myself to a sleepless night.

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  5. I usually don’t have too much trouble falling asleep unless there are some pressing matters on my mind. My problem is being able to sleep through the night. It’s rare when I can make it through an entire night without waking up several times.

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      1. I’ve gone through phases (not lately) where I only slept a hour or two a night. My mom says she doesn’t sleep well either, my sister as well. Some people use melatonin or CBD as a sleep aid. Melatonin puts me to sleep but doesn’t keep me there.

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  6. I often have trouble falling asleep and am definitely an overthinker. The only thing that works for me is to count backwards from 900. I chose that number because in overthinking I was worried I would run out of numbers before I fell asleep. When I forget where I am, I reset to 900. I have no idea why it works, but it does.

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  7. I could easily relate having been an overthinker and a night owl since childhood. The only exception was when my kids were young and I worked full time and was exhausted much of the time. Now that I’m retired, I can be tired physically but the mind is busy thinking about my adult children or replaying or rehearsing a converstaion which might never happen. Reading something easy and escapist helps distract me and mindfulness practice where I repeatly bring myself back to the present moment works sometimes. None of that works when my husband’s snoring gets loud and I have to go to the other room and listen to a mediation. Naps are nice.

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  8. Maggie, you and I may have had similar religious experiences in our childhoods. My family members were devout church-goers, good-hearted people, (mostly) loving and kind. But their theology emphasized “getting everything right.” Their eternal salvation seemed to depend upon it. As a child, I was plagued with (1) the knowledge that I wasn’t good enough, (2) the fear that my flaws condemned me to hell, and (3) the surety of my inability to EVER measure up.

    You wrote: “I recall processing certain Bible verses and trying to understand the fear they raised in me. A fear of never being good enough.”

    I have left behind the belief that my eternal salvation depends upon my ability to measure up but rather upon my acceptance of the Savior who paid my sin debt.

    I too fall asleep during the day if I read or try to watch television. Once I fall asleep during the day, I sleep for much too long–2 or 3 hours. As you can imagine, that interferes with my going to sleep at a normal bedtime.

    The things that keep me awake at night are those things I dislike but have no ability to change: the behaviors of certain people close to me, Covid and its aftermath,corruption in high places, and my own lack of self-control in certain areas of my life. (I suppose I DO have the ability to change that last one, but I won’t go down that rabbit trail.)

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    1. Debbie, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I remember being taught we followed a jealous God and that jealousy seemed to translate to anger. Everything was a threat of punishment, even if not verbalized. My family were good,people, too, but they taught what they learned.

      The worries these days are many and I understand all too well the struggle with self-control. In times like these, we just need to be kind to ourselves.

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I appreciate those who read and I enjoy your thoughtful comments.

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