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There are many common life experiences we share as women, and sometimes life is less than glorious. That’s when we need a little inspiration to get us through the day. Welcome to Common to Moms, where we find motivation for meaningful living on our every-day journey as women, wives and mothers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Now I lay me down to...

Sleep! I hope the hint makes sense now. A picture of Audrey Hepburn in a sleeping mask = a post about sleep. :)

Some of those who have lived with me can tell you that I used to have no trouble falling asleep. In fact, I had trouble getting into my pajamas BEFORE I fell asleep. There was one particular night in college that I fell asleep as soon as I sat down on my bed. Apparently I left the bedroom light on, sat down on top of my bed, kicked one shoe off and fell over in sleep without even letting go of my bag. I awoke to find my oh-so-kind roommates standing over me giggling, with a camera, about to immortalize this proud moment in my life. Luckily, I woke up before they could take any pictures, but they have never forgotten how I fell asleep mid- sitting down on my bed.

Maybe I lived in a state of over-exhaustion in college that enabled me to fall asleep so easily, but since then, falling asleep has not been so easy! Thanks to some disturbances outside our house while I was pregnant with Melody, I began to worry when I laid in bed at night. What would happen if our neighbors had a party after the baby was born while the baby was sleeping? Would it wake her up? How would we react if someone broke into our house when the baby is born? Do we let them take everything and hope they are not interested in the baby? Or try to phone the police? Or cry in desperation 'You can have anything, just don't hurt my baby!' The scenarios I could come up with were endless- crime, natural disasters, domestic disasters (home fires, etc) and they began to come to life in my thoughts as I lay still and pregnant trying to find sleep.

There have been other times in my life where things like excitement about a new job or a new phase in life, or even stress has kept me from sleep. But this is different. Fast forward one year after Melody has been here and I still often find myself having difficulty turning off the flow of paranoid and crazy thoughts at night! Before you go thinking I am a truly insane person, know that during the day these things don't bother me. They also didn't bother me before I had a daughter. It seems that having a sweet, wonderful, helpless little creature (a baby) attached to my life and my heart has brought out a bit of an over-protective monster. :) My mother has always said she has difficulty sleeping when kids are in the house and now I truly understand her. However, I am fairly determined not to live out my life raising children in a paranoid, sleep deprived way.

I have tried thinking about many things to get myself to fall asleep: prayer, journaling, going to bed earlier, going to bed later. Still I am not able to lay down for long without thinking that every sound I hear must be someone in the house or a fire from our dated heating system. While going to bed earlier rather than later helps, there are only two things that seem to really work for me.

First, I have to check my attitude. This may seem strange because the desire to protect my daughter and my family is a good thing. However, the only thing that brings me peace deep in my heart is to remember that all of us are only here on Earth for a short time and none of us is immune to death- so why am I acting like we can be? No matter what happens, whether we live or die (whether we are robbed or not), God will be with us every step of the way. He will guide my actions in a crisis and He will protect my daughter whether she is alive on Earth or lives with Christ in heaven. Even just typing that seems like a downer, but really it's not. It is a peace-giving truth. One that makes my blood pressure lower just a little. :)

Second, I have been reading a book right before falling asleep. In the past I have tried to read other things before I go to bed- my Bible, a spiritual help or self-help type book, Jane Austen or other fiction. None of these things help me wind down before I sleep. My Bible and other spiritual guidance books tend to make me start thinking about deep, big picture ideas about life while fictional books are just too hard to put down. I wind up staying up all night trying to finish a book because I love to read!

Finally though, I have found the perfect book to help me fall asleep. It is a book called Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller. (He is also the author of Blue Like Jazz... Someday I will learn how to post a link to the books I am talking about.) This book for some reason is the perfect aid to help me sleep. Something about the descriptions of the cross country journey he takes and the mild mannered tone in his humor and thoughts about God has a calming effect. After reading a chapter or two, I feel very peaceful. I might have a smile on my face. And I can put the book down, cozy up to my pillow, turn the light off and fall thoughtlessly into sleep.

But soon I will be finished with the book, and what then?

So here is my question:

If you are a mom: Did it get more difficult for you to sleep once you had a child? Did worries about your child keep you up at night? If so, have you moved past that? How?

If you are not a mom: What kinds of things are keeping you up at night these days? What helps you to fall asleep at night? A certain genre of book? Prayer? Benadryl? Something else?

I'm looking forward to hearing your replies! Can't wait to discuss this throughout the week!

Love, Rachel


  1. I changed my comment settings, so anyone should be able to leave a comment now! Let me know if it is working for you.

  2. bnfrederick@hotmail.comMarch 22, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Oh the irony!! I was lying in bed awake tonight(!) trying to sleep, mind racing. Then I thought to myself "oh yeah, I haven't read Rachel's blog yet today. God definitely has a way of syncing things up!

    My thoughts were of my house. I found myself dreaming about how organized/well decorated my house could be and wondering if I could truly be that person who carried a duster around, and whole-heartedly held to the statement "a place for everything and everything in its place" **picture me in a 50's housewife dress with vacuum cleaner in hand**. Then I wondered...why am I thinking about this? I mean is my life really more fulfilled b/c my house is tidy or nice looking? It helps to have order in life but should I be investing my thoughts and grading my self worth based on my house? Also, I have been thinking a lot lately of how Jesus told the disciples to leave EVERYTHING (house, family, possessions) and follow Him. To be honest, I really don't understand that, or maybe in reality I understand it, but don't do it. I'm still trying to find where the balance is in my own life. Definitely still "in process".

  3. bnfrederick@hotmail.comMarch 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    So in answer to your second question processing my thoughts via blog comment/writing actually helps me clear my mind enough to fall asleep:D. Goodnight.

  4. Wow Britt! That is so funny how that worked out last night! I'm glad you came to post:) Thinking about decorating and organizing my house is on my mind at night a lot too. (spoiler- there will be a post about that later!) I'm glad coming to the blog helped clear your mind! FYI- I finished my book and now am back to falling asleep without it... For a few nights it wasn't so bad and then last night, I had a difficult time falling asleep again. I did read a magazine article about falling asleep today and one of the suggestions was to "unplug" from technology (turn your phone, computer, TV off) for an hour before you go to bed. Then you can have relaxing family time for an hour (they suggested reading to your kids, getting things ready for the next day) and then you would be thinking warm fuzzy thoughts I guess when you fell asleep. It sounded like a good suggestion, but it would definitely be hard to unplug at night since that is my "me" time! However, I think they are right about the needing about an hour to wind down. Food for thought!

  5. I would agree with the "unplugging," but am also guilty of not doing it. :) I have a really bad habit of doing homework or writing (creative, not journaling) before bed. I will often do so until I "think" I'm tired enough to go to sleep, but it ends up backfiring! Usually I am very good at suggesting books, but since I haven't read Blue Like Jazz I'm not sure I could help you. But what about listening to audiobooks or sermons? Sometimes that helps me, but don't choose a pastor/reader who shouts or whispers - you'll turn it up when they whisper, then the shouting will wake you up :p. Fortunately, my pastor is pretty even-keeled - nice for helping me fall asleep, but bad news if I go to church too tired!! You can find our podcasts at citylight.podbean.com. Also, have you ever tried Melatonin? Don't take it if you are breastfeeding, but it is all natural - no drugs. I don't take it very often, but whenever I do I wake up feeling very well-rested and haven't noticed any side effects.

  6. Are you one who likes to re-read books? I have the same problem reading fiction at night. However, I've noticed that if its an old favorite I've read many times I don't have a problem putting it down since I know what's going to happen. Instead I go to sleep with a smile on my face thinking about the part I get to read the next night!

  7. Danae! Thanks for reading the blog! It's funny how we work on things up until bedtime and then expect just to be able to drift right off to sleep isn't it? :)

    For me, listening to things to fall asleep is out since Christian is there too (he would kill me if I tried to do that!) and earphones and sleep aids are not okay right now. I would be afraid that I wouldn't hear Melody if she needed something in the night if I was sleeping too soundly or had my ears covered or listening to something. I'm glad though the Melatonin and listening to sermons is working for you. I will have to check out your pastor though- I always love hearing new people speak!

    Thankfully, the last couple of nights have been okay falling asleep for me, so I will keep everybody updated on how it's going.

    Oh and I actually love to re-read books, but in some cases it is even harder for me to put down because I can't wait to get to the good parts! :) Love the suggestions though- you are thinking hard for me!

    Love, Rachel

  8. Ugh! I wrote a long post and then the computer ate it.

    Yes, I have trouble sleeping as well. The doctor says it's my body "preparing me" for having an infant. Right now, my solution is to fall asleep to something like a stupid TV show or movie that will just keep my brain from running too crazy. But I wake up a lot through the night. I think it's because my dreams are so vivid now. At least that's my best guess!!!

    - Ashley

  9. Ashley, that stinks that your computer ate your post! Don't you wish it was like word and you could save along the way? Haha!

    Stinks how our bodies "prepare" us for a baby, right- it's hard enough once the baby comes! Can't we get rest before hand? :) Maybe advice to those trying to get pregnant should be, get six months of GREAT Sleep before conception- it will be your last for awhile! :)

    I agree it is nice to lose yourself in something that doesn't take too much brain power occasionally. As moms, I think our brains run on overload quite a bit. (God made us to be amazing creatures- capable of thinking about and taking care of so much!) I am praying for you and your new little one on the way! :)

    Love, Rachel