Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I am trying to bounce back from some very stressful events in my life and they are not over with yet and the item that I am most focused on right now is sleep.
I am also a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in my ward and this coming Sunday we will be studying Elijah.
In 1 Kings 19:4
Elijah becomes so discouraged that he wishes he could die, a very real symptom of depression. What does he do?
When the Lord made the world, he blessed and even hallowed the day that He rested. Not the days that he worked! The Lord values rest. The Lord knew that if we worked, worked constantly we would never come to know the Lord. To really know the Lord we must work, but then we must take time to rest, to ponder, to think, and yes to even sleep.
So many of the spiritual events in the scriptures have come about in dreams of the night. Daniel and the angel Gabriel, Dan 9:22
Moroni came to Joseph Smith in the night.
Mary and Joseph were warned to flee to Egypt in the night
The Lord communicated with Samuel in the night.
Daniel received the answer to King Nebuchandnezzar's in a dream a "night vision"
Even in your own life I am sure that you have had those elusive thoughts that answered a very pressing question in your life come to you in the night, when all was still.
Consider this thought:
"Consider the revelations and instructions that have come forth in dreams...That can be another good reason for young mothers, and perhaps not so young, to go back to bed in the morning after they get their husbands and children off to school and work. They are not being lazy- they are gathering more information. They are dedicating their lives and even their sleep to the Lord," Wendy Watson Nelson, Change your questions, change your life Deseret Book, page 228
Going back to Elijah, an angel appears to him and asks him to eat. If we want better sleep we should make sure we are eating healthy and correctly. The Angel did not have to tell him to exercise, because in Elijah's day, all he ever did was walk. But taking an evening stroll down to the stop sign and back will make both you and your dog happy and you both will sleep better because of it.
But notice that in sleep all was still. How many times in scripture are we asked to be still, Why because the Lord speaks to us in a "still small voice."
Even if we do sleep, will we be able to get those elusive answers to prayers if the ipod is playing loud rock music in the background?
or if the TV is blaring the late-night show?
or if we are surfing the Internet instead of relaxing'
Here's my plan. create a bedtime ritual that involves slowing down, bathing, brushing my teeth to prepare for sleep.
Write in my gratitude journal, read the scriptures and pray and let the Lord know that I am dedicating my sleep to Him.
I have purchased a sleep mask to make the room dark, and ear plugs to drown out noises. After I crawl in bed I do one last mind sweep to ask the Lord to help me forgive the negative that happened that day and ask the Lord to help me let it go never to return and replace those thoughts with a positive emotion. I will breath deeply and let the air out slowly relaxing my body as it comes out.
I concentrate relaxing each and every muscle in my body. If I am having a hard time getting my mind to shut off, some times it replays things over and over again, I will get up, go to my journal and do what I call a power dump. I will write down each and everything that is on my mind, everything from all that I have to do tomorrow, what I don't want to forget to pick up at the store, and anything else even negative things that are still floating around in my mind. I will then once again say a prayer and go to bed.
I try not to think of negative emotions while lying waiting for sleep to come. Instead I sing to myself hymns or primary songs, or scriptures so that my last thoughts are thoughts before falling asleep are thoughts of the Lord.
Usually that is all it takes. I read that if we need medication that we should do so carefully. Start with the least amount of medication and then work up. If you can't get to sleep take one dose of Bender and see if that helps.
The next night if the Benadryl hasn't helped you may try a dose of Nyquil
If they don't then the next night work up to Advil or Tylenol PM
Only use the medications on those worst nights when there has been a lot of stress. Don't use them every single night, as they will disrupt your sleep patterns.
Only if the OTCs are not working should you ask for a prescription to help you. and only use the medication on the worst nights. You want your body to learn to go to sleep on its own without medication. Besides, many times you wake up groggy on those meds. I am not sure how much you actually dream with them, so how restorative is your sleep going to be when you are taking meds?
I am letting the Lord know that I am serious about this and I am making it a matter of prayer.