Friday, December 25, 2015

Insomnia – an Exercise in Frustration

Insomnia, or being unable to sleep at night, is one of the most frustrating things I have had to deal with.

Overwhelmed by fatigue and so sleepy that I could barely keep my eyes open, I would crawl into bed at a good hour, looking forward to a good night’s sleep. My mind was at peace, content, even empty of thought - yet I would lie there, awake, hour after hour. Sleep simply would not come.

As this continued, I began to crawl into bed in an anxious state of mind. I knew I desperately needed sleep but was worried it would not come. This tension made sleep even more evasive. My heart raced, my mind developed a habit of glancing about fearfully, which often trigged panic attacks.

As insomnia became more frequent, I tried to wait patiently for sleep to come. Yet as the hours continued to tick by I became more and more frustrated. My body was telling me that I needed sleep. I was so tired that I could not keep my eyes open, so why was I lying awake hour after hour? I would pray, beg, and plead with the Lord to give me sleep, quoting scriptures at Him, trying to convince Him to stretch out His hand or speak a word over me to put me to sleep. Then, after lying awake for five or six hours, frustration would blossom into rage. I lost count of how many times I shook my fist at the ceiling and said, “Jesus, why do you just sit there! Can’t you see that I need sleep? Why don’t you act? Don’t you care?”

As well as getting angry with God, I became enraged with my mind and body. What was wrong with them, couldn’t they see what they were doing to me? I was so tired and sleepy yet my useless, stupid mind simply would not shut off! It was as though my body conspired against me, and I hated it, I wrote in my diary.

Following these sessions of rage against God and myself, came anguish, repentence and guilt. I knew I should not react like this, but I needed sleep!

Eventually the insomnia became so bad that for five days I would fall asleep when the sun came up, and on the sixth, sleep would not come at all. On those days I felt robbed, cheated, betrayed. When I rose, I felt dirty and unclean. Then the cycle started again.

Finally, due to a number of factors, I fell into strong depression towards the end of 1989. Panic attacks afflicted me 24 hours a day, my mind never ceased to churn through terrifying fearful thoughts, and insomnia continued to afflict me.


Attitudes We Cannot Afford to Have Towards Insomnia

As you can see from what I have shared above, the ways I reacted to insomnia made it worse. These negative reactions of fearing or fighting it released negative adrenalin into my system, elevated my anxiety levels and made it harder to sleep. What a vicious cycle – insomnia begets tension and fatigue, which in turn make insomnia worse, which causes further tension and fatigue.

Here are some reactions we cannot afford to have towards insomnia:
1. going to bed fearful that we may not sleep
2. becoming frustrated when we cannot sleep
3. worrying how this lack of sleep will affect us tomorrow
4. letting the frustration boil over into rage


Helpful Attitudes Towards Insomnia

Here is a list of what reactions we need to have towards insomnia.

1. when we go to bed, be prepared to stay awake all night
2. be content to stay awake all night instead of getting frustrated or angry
3. recognize that resting contentedly all night in bed, even without sleeping, is still beneficial
4. if we don’t sleep tonight, there is always tomorrow night.


Some Things that May Help with Mild Insomnia

In my dealings with insomnia over the decades, I have learned a few tricks that can help alleviate mild insomnia.

1. a glass of hot milk, or a bowl of hot cereal, taken immediately before bed, can be helpful
2. if still awake two to three hours later, have another glass of hot milk or cereal
3. regular exercise is crucial. This may be going on brisk 30-45 minute walks three times a week, or doing aerobics, swimming, jogging, etc. Working out with light hand-weights several days a week also helps. (Small note - avoid the above types of exercise near bedtime!)
4. eat a good, balanced diet, with lots of fruit. Drink plenty of water
5. if you must have a nap during the day, make it a 15 minute power nap, no longer. Set an alarm.
6. listening to soothing or relaxing music immediately before going to bed can also be helpful.

Another point I would like to make is that we humans have a tendency to take on too many responsibilities and get involved with too many activities. Sometimes it is good to take a step back, sit at Christ’s feet and wait on Him, and then prayfully examine our life. Are we doing too much? Are there some aspects of our life that are placing us under pressure unnecessarily? Are there some things that we can quit or that can be put off until next year? Frantic, stressful lifestyles can cause insomnia or make it worse. I learned this lesson the hard way. (Twice…)


Severe Insomnia

If insomnia has become so bad that we cannot sleep night after night, (this is typical for those suffering from depression), seek medical assistance - we must not struggle through it by ourselves. A doctor can help determine insomnia’s causes (there are many different causes) and recommend medical treatment. For someone suffering from strong depression, sleep is a necessary part of the healing process. I am so glad that after three to four months of trying to cope with depression and insomnia on my own, I finally saw a doctor and went onto anti-depressant medication that included a mild tranquilizer. The combination of the medication and being able to sleep again were important factors in dulling depression’s effects, which helped me to concentrate on the task of recovery.

It was not until seventeen years after insomnia began to plague me that I discovered that I was suffering from complex partial epilepsy. This typically begins to become apparent in one’s late teens, and I believe this was the primary cause of the insomnia. (However, the way I reacted to it during the first few years made it much worse.)

I no longer take anti-depressant medication, only epilepsy anti-seizure meds. On most nights, I fall asleep easily, but several times a year I still have those sleepless nights. Instead of getting frustrated or angry, this is what I say to myself when it happens, “If I stay awake all night - that’s fine. I’ll make myself comfortable and snuggle up in the blankets. If I fall asleep eventually - great! If not, that’s fine too. Resting all night in bed is still beneficial.” I submit my mind to Christ, dwell in His peace and take refuge in His presence. I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances, including those sleepless nights.

Philippians 4:12-13 ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’

Colossians 3:15 ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.’

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Special thanks to a reader for reminding where to find this verse!)

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  • 84 comments:

    1. I think this is a very timely post bro. Peter as many people are perhaps suffering from insomnia because of their worries secondary to our economy.
      Sometimes, I'm that way because I've been working nights for 19 yrs. now. So on my days off, I happen to wake up sometimes middle of the night and would be up til wee hours. Much later, I had learned to just talk to Him in my prayers. Nights I can't sleep, I consider it now as my private hour with the Lord. I always carry Philippians 4:6-7 in my heart and that helps me to stop anything that might trigger any stress or worry, and by God's grace just have the peace that comes from the Lord. Enough to lull me to sleep :)
      God bless.

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    2. Thanks for the comments, RCUBEs.

      What a wonderful perspective to have towards insomnia - a private time with the Lord.

      Thanks for sharing that verse too, I was looking for that very verse to upload to the post, but ran out of time and pasted Colossians 3:15 in its place. Thanks to you, I'll now go back and pop Philippians 4:6-7 into the blog.

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    3. Thank you for writing about insomnia, Peter, and your personal victory over it. It gives me hope that the Lord will pull me through my own difficult bout of insomnia. By His grace alone do we get through the days following sleepless nights! Another verse that I find helpful when I am lying awake at night is Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God." That He is present and sovereign is a comforting, calming thought. Blessings to you!

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    4. No brother Peter! Thanks to God for reminding you through me :)

      That verse makes me strong despite the different trials I face, especially when my father was dying of colon cancer. We had joy in our hearts despite that predicament so to God be the glory! Have a great weekend!

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    5. Hi Tara,
      Thanks for sharing another wonderful scripture that the Lord uses to comfort us through these storms. Praying that the Lord will help you during your insomnia troubles, and lead you to recover from it too.

      Sorry to hear about your father, RCUBEs, yet also for the hope you show that even in the midst of such hard times, God can give us His peace and joy throughout them.

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    6. Peter, I also suffer from insomnia intermittently. Like you, I would get angry and frustrated, and decided if I have to stay awake all night, I may as well do something constructive. So now, I read, write, or crochet. I get up and make a nice cup of tea then jump back into bed. If someone suddenly comes to mind while I'm not sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, I take that opportunity to pray for them. Taking charge of insomnia instead of allowing it to take charge of you, brings a sense peace and contentment.

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    7. Thanks for sharing how you take charge when insomnia strikes. Turning those nights into something constructive, and even memorable - that's great.

      God bless :)

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    8. Well done Peter, and thanks for overcoming. I draw strength from your strength and that is awesome. Sleep, depression, anger, poverty, conflict, ... whatever its name, I am reminded that the name of Jesus can and will overcome. At His name, every other name must bow.

      Thank you. And thanks for responding to one of my comments on an earlier post. Saying you'd keep me in prayer lifted me up, and I have felt better this week. Again, thank you.

      - LJ

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    9. PS. I appreciate RCUBEs' comment and her reference to Phil 4v6-7. Blessings to all your readers; may they continue to draw strength from you even as they help to renew your strength.

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    10. Hi Lilly,
      It has been my honor to lift you up in prayer, and thanks for sharing that you have been feeling better this week, praise the Lord for His strength available through His wonderful name. :)

      ReplyDelete
    11. Peter, thank you for sharing in your victory. I too like Rcube's approach to this.
      Again, dear one, thank you for sharing from your heart. Blessings.

      ReplyDelete
    12. I have not had too many bouts of insomnia, but initially, it is most frustrating. But then, when I realize God is still in control of my life even at night, I say , well, perhaps He wants me to pray for someone, so I wait to see who comes to mind and pray..or come down to my computer to write or read a book.

      Many times there were physical causes, like caffeine after lunch...but sometimes there was 'stuff' percolating that would not rest until I poured it out in writing...

      Again, thanks for sharing the principles you've gleaned form your journey...

      ReplyDelete
    13. Thanks Sita for sharing how you were able to overcome insomnia.

      I really appreciate how readers have shared on this post how God has shown them practical, profitable ways to deal with insomnia when it strikes.

      ReplyDelete
    14. Have been there many times - though for me, I generally fall asleep fine, but wake up after an hour or two and sometimes can't get back to sleep. This is wonderful advice and a blessing to me. Philippians 4:6-7 is an absolute favorite of mine. Thanks, Peter.

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    15. Such wonderful advice, thank you.

      ReplyDelete
    16. Peter, thank you for sharing your personal experience and practical guide. I am so glad I did google search by "insomnia, pray, God" and found this blog!

      I have been suffering from insomnia for 2 months now. Though my family doctor recommended it, I too have a fear of, and feel guilty about taking anti-depressant medicine (Your Jan.22 entry helped me).

      I cling to Philippians 4:6-7 (and Psalm 34) these days, and I know God is training me, I do pray and read the Bible more seriously and frequently. But I am so desperate and my prayers are turning into begging and negotiation with God, and thanksgiving part is scarce or missing.
      God, please forgive me. You are so patient and loving. Thank you for leading me to this blog today, the blog of hope and encouragement!

      ReplyDelete
    17. Hi Chieko,
      Thank you for sharing what you have been going through.

      I can relate to your feelings about taking medication, there are so many negative views towards it that are completely wrong. Severe insomnia needs to be treated, and I praise the Lord for medications that can treat it. Being able to sleep again was such an important part of my recovery from depression.

      Good on you for digging into and relying upon God's Word. If you drop by this blog again, can you please drop me an email (you can contact me through my complete profile). Otherwise, please read the two blog entries:

      08. Understanding Depression to Cast off the Confusion
      09. Breaking the Fear Cycle

      Hopefully these can help you to get past the stage of being desperate.

      God bless,
      Peter

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    18. Dear Peter,
      Thank you for creating this blog and sharing your personal experience. I've been blessed by what I have read on your blog. God Bless You!

      ReplyDelete
    19. Thanks! I too have psychophysiological insomnia or learned insomnia. I'll definitely continue reading your blog. I'm HC from Singapore. Thanks for sharing and God bless. We'll continue praying for each other! I'm Chinese-Singaporean.

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    20. oh my goodness. i have never read ANY description that so perfectly describes my experience with chronic insomnia. THANK YOU for taking time to write this, and thank you for all the work you've done to recover! it's hope for we sleepless ones!

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    21. 2.30 am...which is clearly why i have found myself at this post.
      I never thought of it like that, being prepared to get no sleep at all.
      it makes me incredibly irritated and nobody understands it around me, which makes me look like a frustrated, red-eyed... and it stimulates depression, in turn giving me stomach cramps...
      But I actually learned from this post, so God bless you and thanks.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Dear Fearfully Made,
        As you said, insomnia really is such a frustrating, irritating experience.
        So glad the post could be helpful :)
        God bless
        Peter

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      2. I was in a car accident and almost died 8 months ago. I have severe TBI and brain damage. I need sleep to be well enough to try to go back to work. I cannot sleep. God knows this. I am running out of savings and the person who hit me was underinsured. I have no family or friends. I am on the street if I cannot get back to work. I cannot work if I cannot sleep. Where is GOD? I served Him my whole life. I am in agony.

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      3. I don't know if you are sleeping yet, but I just want to let you know I read this, and really felt what you said.

        Delete
    22. I am the father 6 kids ages 2-9 yrs old, and I am currently suffering from horrible anxiety with some days of depression in the mix also. I work shift work so I am unable to establish a regular sleep routine and the insomnia is horrific! I usualy sleep 2-4 hours the days/nights I'm working then I'm off to work another 12 hour shift and repeat the process. IT IS SO FRUSTRATING! It flares all my emotions up and almost makes it impossible to concentrate on anything.

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      Replies
      1. Hi Jcar
        You've got a very hectic work schedule there! Is there anyway you can get it to become more regular? (I'm guessing no.) At any rate, please try to go to bed each time acknowledging that the rest will do you good, whether you sleep or not. Frustration is your enemy, so you need to work at replacing it with acceptance, and that will restore a lot of peace to your life.

        Have you spoken to a doctor? They may be able to find something to help you sleep that suits your schedule. Also have a talk to them about the emotions/concentration, as these sound more a result of depression rather than insomnia.

        God bless
        Peter

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    23. Great inspiration. I have suffered from Insomnia for the last year or so and anit-depressants and anti-convulsives have not worked. I try to pray for God to take me but I guess he is not listening

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    24. Dear Anonymous,
      It certainly seems that God is not listening, but that is not the case. In such situations we should not ask Him, "Why have You allowed this to happen to me, why won't You stop it?" But instead ask Him, "Lord, what is it You want to do in this situation?"
      Please try to put into practice accepting insomnia instead of fighting it, and please also try your doctor again. If one med doesn't work, there is usually another choice.
      God bless
      Peter

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    25. Thank you for this blog. I have struggled with insomnia on and off since the birth of my third child, nine years ago. God has always delivered me after a week or so of sleepless nights, but each time it happens, I get so discouraged. I start the same cycle of panic, frustration, resentment, and guilt.
      During the days God gives me strength to get through life. As a wife and mother of three active kids, life goes on whether I sleep or not! God's grace is amazing...even when I'm up all night God gets me through the next day. I've learned to depend on his strength during my weakness. I have to admit that, my emotions take a rollercoaster ride. I find myself trusting His sovereign plan for my life during the daylight hours, then night falls and I dip into frustration that He won't deliver me. I found a verse in Job yesterday that perfectly describes my struggle with insomnia. Job 3:25-26 says, "For the thing I feared has overtaken me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes." He says again in Job7:4-5,"When I lie down, I think; when will I get up? But the evening drags on endlessly and I toss and turn until dawn." Job is a great example of endurance through great trial. I am learning to be content with the plan God has for me. I wish it did not include insomnia, but He has used these times of trial to show me what is in my heart. To ask myself if I 'm strong, or just spoiled. I pray that, like Job, I would submit to God 's will for my life. I also struggle with the guilt of taking medication to help, but I've come to recognize that God provides this "way of escape " so that I can bear the burden. I need to swallow my pride and take the sleeping pills during those long strings of sleepless nights. I can honestly say, although I hate my insomnia, God has used it to break and mold me into a better Christian. It deflates my pride and self sufficiency and causes me to draw closer to God as my only hope and deliverer. I know this season of insomnia will pass, I pray that I will weather the storm with a good attitude and a thankful heart. It is so comforting to know that others have the same struggles. May we continue to comfort one another!

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      Replies
      1. Thanks so much for sharing with us, CDawn, and I recognise your cycle oh so clearly, having been through it so many times. And isn't God wonderful, how He uses these times to speak to us and strengthen us. (Though we'd wish He would find an easier way to do so...)

        Please do not feel guilty for the medication, you need your sleep, especially being a mother with three kids. If you had diabetes, you would not feel guilty for taking the meds, so please try to view it like that. I praise God that such medications are available to us today.

        Thank you for sharing the scriptures from Job too.

        God bless you
        Peter

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      2. This was really encouraging, I have suddenly started struggling with this myself and have gone two or three days with no sleep, it's affecting my work which I need to keep me in a house. Sleeping pills haven't done anything for me and I am constantly worried about my future. I am learning to cast my cares upon the Lord, but sometimes it's a struggle

        Delete
    26. I am suffering from insomnia right now (for a few weeks already) and as I read your lines I find myself in it. Also the getting angry part. I always feel so powerless in these sleepless nights, so tired but still unable to fall asleep. I also wonder why God is now placing this heavy burden on me, I sometimes wish at night the Lord would just pour his peace on me, but nothing happens. Well, I have to keep on praying and hoping that any of the medications helps. May God bless you!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Dear Matthias
        Insomnia certainly can be the most frustrating experience about. However, please really take to heart the importance of not letting it make you angry. If you are having a sleepless night, remind yourself that it is still resting and beneficial, even an opportunity to chat to Jesus.

        I am sure your doctor can find something to help you sleep, also, you may consider examining your life to see if there is anything that is placing you under undue pressure.

        You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

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    27. This blog is a real answer to prayer. I've been so worried and felt despair and it's only been 3 weeks for me. I've had anxiety attacks and then the insomnia set in. Same story, I lie awake for what seems like hours without sleep and then I eventually take 1 or half of an Ibuprofen PM which puts me out for the rest of the night. On certain nights I can't face another sleepless night so I take the pill before bed and sleep through the night. I've emailed my doctor because I don't want to become dependent upon something to help me to sleep. I've also joined an 8 week anxiety/panic group which really touched my heart. People are hurting and it changes my focus from myself to "what can I do to help others" praying for them during the sleepless hours is a comforting thought. God has a purpose and a plan for each of us. I know that. I get fearful because in 45 years I have never encountered insomnia and sometimes the enemy tells us it will never pass. However, I stand on God's word that says "Weeping my endure for a night(s), but joy cometh in the morning" Thank you Jesus for all the precious promises and all the encouragement of my brother's and sister's on this site.

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      Replies
      1. Hi Anonymous,
        Thank you for sharing what you've been going through, and praise the Lord that He has answered your prayers through this blog. It is also very good to see the practical steps you have taken to help deal with anxiety, such as joining the group and being in contact with your doctor. May I recommend that you also read some of these articles on this blog:
        How depression causes its symptoms
        Facing symptoms instead of dreading them
        Breaking the fear cycle

        May the Lord Jesus continue to guide you and comfort you with His presence.
        Peter

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      2. The reason why i cant sleep is because satan and is demons yell loud voices and put fearful toughts in my mind and then my emotions are all over the place because of is fearful thoughts cuasing sleep distrubtion and cemecal embalace he is also to blame for my mental illness and depression

        Delete
      3. Dear Baseballrod,

        If you are hearing voices at night, I would recommend that you see a mature pastor or counselling service at a Pentecostal church, and share with them what you are going through.

        Please note, however, that sometimes 'loud voices' in our minds may simply be our own mind magnifying fearful thoughts. Once the cause of the anxiety is dealt with and we are receiving treatment for anxiety/depression, that will stop.

        Lastly, if after seeing a minister/counsellors, voices do not stop, please see a professional health worker, such as a psychiatrist, as there are other causes of voices in our head, not just spiritual causes.

        God bless
        Peter

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    28. Peter-
      Your post allowed me to cry- happy tears. I felt guilty for being angry at God about not sleeping the way I want to. Your post has given me a different perspective and I look forward to using your suggestions when needed. Thank you!

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      Replies
      1. Hi Myanna, that's great :)
        There are more good suggestions in the comments by the readers on this page too.
        God bless
        Peter

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    29. Hi Peter,


      How long did your insomnia last? How many hours per night were you getting?
      Did you start to develop any bedtime anxiety because of the insomnia?


      Thanks!!

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      Replies
      1. Dear TJL,
        Before I was severely depressed I used to go to bed relaxed, and sometimes very sleepy. At first it was on random nights that insomnia would come, but eventually, 5 out of 6 nights I would fall asleep at dawn, and then sleep for an hour. (When I was severely depressed, I was anxious all the time.)

        The insomnia came and went over about four years, until I was put on anti-depressants which included a mild tranquilizer. Note that it is important to go to bed ready and happy not to sleep, knowing that even resting all night without sleeping is good for you. This way you can go to bed without anxiety. However, if having a lot of problems with insomnia, don't hesitate to see your doctor.

        God bless
        Peter

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    30. I'm new here. I've been awake for 6 days, slept on the 7th day last night. Strange, "On the 7th day, I rested." I found your blog because I Googled, "God's plan for insomnia." This morning as I'm trying to figure out what's subconsciously bothering me, I prayed, meditated and came across a message saying that God needed me to not to just have a light sleep, but a fall on your face almost in a coma sleep in order to communicate with me in my dreams. We're all so busy all the time, doing too many things in one day and then when we think we've slept, it wasn't really "sleeping" --- it's partial sleeping not even getting into the third rem stage, which is so important. I truly believe that God talks to us in our dreams. I have been having a hard time "connecting" with HIm - communicating with Him so this was needed. While going through the insomnia, I was agitated, irritable, GROUCHY, CRANKY, I was ---- what everyone wanted to run away from. I was crying so hard that it was like my actual soul crying. (Sounds strange I know...) I felt this overwhelming heaviness that I couldn't explain. And now, after 8 hrs of sleep, I feel 'light' again with a new attitude toward things that were much different than last week. So maybe, it's not so much that God wants us to be awake so we can pray (which would be nice), but it's so we can crash and fall asleep on the third rem stage in order to communicate better with Him. ......? Just a thought.

      Your tips are wonderful, by the way. I have used chamomile, lavender and meditation videos on YouTube which have helped greatly, but the best thing that has helped me? (Not good for the waistline but wow) --- ice cream!!! :) Someone suggested that to me and boy I was happy and I fell asleep like a baby! Not sure if it was from the tryptophan or the inability for my liver to break down sugars, but it worked!

      Hope you're sleeping soundly. Thanks for posting this. It helped me a lot.

      Deb

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      1. Thanks for dropping by, Deb.
        And so glad to hear that the tips have been helpful. But ice-cream? Wow, that's awesome (and a new one to me too) sounds so much more fun than hot tea, lol.
        And yes thanks, I've been sleeping like a brick most nights, insomnia only strikes a few nights a year now, praise the Lord.
        God bless
        Peter

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    31. Praise God. I've been dealing with chronic insomnia for months now. it has made me depressed, anxious and sad. i even told my hubby today like i feel like where is God. i will try to not get fustrated and focus on God. thanks for the wonderful post, i now know im not alone.

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      1. Dear Anonymous,
        You are welcome :)
        I'm convinced you can put these techniques into practice with Christ's help, and rob insomnia of its sting. The comments after the article have some good advice too. Have you seen a doctor about the insomnia as well?
        God bless
        Peter

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    32. Dear Peter,

      I am trying to do exactly what you have said, be positive expect to be up all night, I have tried medications and they worked for a couple of days, but I am starting to be crippled with fear. I am in counseling and growing tired. Taking Xanax at night has stopped working and the anti-depressant in the day seems to make the anxiety worse. I feel like dying.

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      Replies
      1. Dear Anonymous,
        Please remember that fear is a deception, it has no power. Keep in front of you the hope that you can get through this.

        If you are concerned with your medications, please see your doctor as soon as possible and share your concerns with them. However, please note that some medications take a while to start working. Some anti-depressants can take from 2 to 6 weeks to receive their full effect. But as I said, if you think they are making you worse, see your doctor as soon as you can.

        Can you please also read these posts, for they may be of great help to you in learning how to overcome the fears:

        How depression/anxiety causes its symptoms

        Facing depressions symptoms instead of fearing them

        Breaking depression's fear cycle.

        Please fix your eyes upon Jesus, and ask Him to take your hand and lead you through each day.
        Hang in there,

        God bless
        Peter



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      2. Peter,

        Thank you for the articles and many others. I have been reading them all, but I must say that when I read it happened again to you, I grew quite discourage and panic set in. The thought of dealing with insomnia for the rest of my life is causing fearful thoughts. Please tell me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have be going through this for fours years (anxiety and depression) and only in the last two months has insomnia hit me. When the meds didn't work I freaked out, anxiety is worse than its ever been and I dread the evening hours. I have a little boy and teach little children. Today I am at work with no rest and my nerves feel shot. I am willing to do whatever God wants. Help!

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      3. Dear Peter,

        My last post reflected fear and desperation. I am grateful to report that even though I only received two hours of sleep last night I was able to lay in bed without fear and the panic was mild. Praise God! I am so thankful that he has given us a body of believers to lift us up and help us through the storms. God is good. Also I am going back to the Dr. to look at my other options. Thank you for the encouragement and I will pray for your recovery.

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      4. Dear Anonymous,
        Praise the Lord, that's a great step. The worse thing we can do is be fearful about insomnia, or fight it in anger. Calm acceptance is the way to deal with it. And there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once I was put on anti-depressants back in 1990, the insomnia pretty much stopped, so do not be discouraged. I am convinced that with your doctor you can work through this and find relief, so if the insomnia continues, please let them know and they can try something else.
        I'll keep praying for you.
        God bless
        Peter

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    33. Hi, I'm a 26 year old lady and been having insomnia for the past few years but it has gotten worse. I was diognosed with Anemia back in my teenage years which causes me to always be tired and sleepy, it has been traumatic to be able to concentrate on my studies. I didn't take it seriously back then, I was young but I often would worry about it. I started getting demonic attacks at night but at age 17(during my matric year) they worsened. I wasn't born again so I didn't know what to do. I went on iron supplements but didn't finish the dosage. I had the worse year because I would get attacked at night and not be able to sleep and during the day I would be so tired I'd sleep in every class. This caused my grades to become bad, I passed that year, I don't know how, It was God' grace...I started University and we moved to a new home and the attacks lessened for a while. At 20, I became born again and started living for Christ. The attacks became worse and so did the sleepiness and tiredness during the day. The more I grew in the Lord the more I learnt to pray against these demons that were coming at night. I knew now that I had authority over them. I would rebuke them everytime they came,ev en though I would be scared. Nights for me were always filled of fear, but not anymore....So demonic attacks have stopped, I don't remember the last time I got attacked at night. But my sleepiness worsened to a point where I would pass out anywhere(in cars, taxis, class, even walking on the road,etc) and I would wake up seconds or minutes later not knowing when I fell asleep because my eyes were not sleepy at all...A times I wouldn't get a warning yet sometimes my body would get hot and that's when the sleepiness would start...I went to my new doctor who also told me I'm anemic and gave me meds(which I never finished because I struggled taking meds)...

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    34. in 2010 I was 23, I lost my dad in a car accident. That's when my sleeping patterns changed. I was going through a lot(relationship problems, stress at college) and so I even tried to committ suicide and landed in hospital but God healed me and deleivered me from dat spirit that had been tormenting me for years. To this point I don't have thoughts of suicide and if a suggestion comes to my mind I quickly shut up the enemy with the Word and what God says about my life...But eversince then I had not been able to sleep,It started out being 1 or 2 hours but has worsened since then...I use to thing the problem was in my home because my family had opened a door through the occult because they were not all born again and those spirits would torment me. My mum also went through insomnia and attacks after her husband(dad) died,there was no peace at home at night...But I prayed unceasingly and fasted...I graduated and went to other colleges after that to further my studies, but it never worked, until one day God told me to go to Bible College to study His Word(last year)...at College It was a struggle concentrating in lectures and going home to sleepless nights(and some demonic attacks-these were not as bad as the previous ones and were not regular)...I then shared this with my spiritual leader and brought her to my home. God revealed a lot, we repented and shut the door of the enemy and anointed our home with oil,we cast out every wicked spirit...That week I had the mosp peaceful sleep I hadn't had in years, until...the insomnia started again the following week,and it was frustrating but I persevered...This year the Lord told me to go back to Bible College, I moved out of home and rented nearby my church(which is the same place we have College)...My life has change tremendously since then,I still become sleepy and pass out and Insomnia has gotten worse these pass days(which is what lead me to this site). I hate not sleeping, I can't focus and I feel robbed of my rest. We've been doing a deliverence course called Possess The Land and Insomia is one of the effects of Passivity. The enemy uses Deception(James 3:15-17) and Passivity(insomia being one of the symptoms of a passive mind)...So I was really encouraged by your posts about not worrying and taking scripture and using it to strengthen you when insomnia attacks...I thought that If I pray or get prayed for it would go away immedietly, I believe that God does not want his children to stay sick and insomnia is a sickness like any other. But I now know that it has a lot to do withe mind, so healing will be gradual and as long as I renew my mind with the Word by:(College notes) 1. Examining the source of my thoughts, 2. Bringing every thought into obedience(2Cor 10:5, 3. Set my mind free from flesh(Rom 8:7), 4. Be responsible to renew my mind(Rom 12:2) and 5. Let repentance have its perfect work...beacuse a disturbed mind is harmful to spiritual life(Isaiah 26:3; Phil 4:6-8)...I haven't been renewing mind everyday and I've been so moved by all your posts, how positive you are and have chosen to stay that way so that it does not depress you. I will do the same from now on( even though I know the next day I'll be dead tired and sleepy through lectures) but I choose today to have the mind of Christ(1Cor 2:16)...I will not quit Bible College because of this minor thing and I will rest in God even through my restlessness...I thank all you guys and thank the Lord for what He has helped me understand....please read more about Passivity,the root of Insomina,in a book called Spiritual Man by Nee Watchman, which talks about the 'mind of a man and how the enemy uses it' in depth...Thank u and God bless u...From 26 year old Bible College Student

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    35. I have had insomnia for the last 2 years. I beleive it is being caused by a surgery I did 20 years ago and removed my Uvula. My throat has deteriorated to a point that it affects my nighttime breathing. I've tryed pills and machines to no avail. I am afraid of going back to surgery

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    36. I recently had bronchitis. the doctor gave me a kenalog 40 injection(corticosterod) I have had a lot of side effects including insomnia for 28 days. I have prayed to Jesus to take this poison from my body. Last night I was in a group pray to help me. This morning I had an e-mail from Med Web saying that lack of B12,B6 AND OTHER VITAMINS CAN KEEP YOU AWAKE. With all of the med. I was on I had stopped my vitamins. SO we willsee if this works.Like everyone else I DO NOT LIKE SLEEPING PILLS, BUT HAVE TO SLEEP. GOD BLESS

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    37. I love this blog! Thank you so much for making it. Many of these things are very helpful and applicable to my life--I feel like no one has described certain things I'm going through so well or offered such helpful advice

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    38. LOVE IT! thank you for taking time to write this blog. That does sounds like me :)

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      1. Thanks Anonymous, you're welcome. Hope it can be a blessing to you.
        God bless
        Peter

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    39. I know the original post is several years old, but I am so glad I stumbled on it and for all those who commented so I wanted to say thanks. It helps to know that I am not alone in the struggle and receive Biblical encouragement to help face it. I am generally a light sleeper, but I am a working mom who is now 39 weeks pregnant and the last nine months have been an up-and-down battle with sleep. I can feel really depressed when I go through weeks of sleeplessness. I am hoping that this is only a season (that I am almost through!). But I am also learning, through my own walk with Jesus and through resources like this, to be content, prayerful, and even thankful, trusting in the Lord when I don't understand and feel frustrated and weary. My prayers are being lifted up for others who share this struggle. Thanks again, Peter!

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      1. Hi Alison,
        Thanks for the feedback, so glad that the article has been useful.
        Praying that the Lord Jesus will continue to uphold you and lead you through this pregnancy, give you His peace in the times of insomnia, and restore your sleep soon :)
        God bless
        Peter

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    40. Thanks peter for your encouragement.im fa ing insomnia for a week now and its startinv to affect my focus so ill be starting my leave froM work by next week to see a doctor and hopefully get some meds to recover.

      God bless you peter

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    41. Brothers and sisters I have been dealing with insomina for a month. First it started out as an obsession of trying to obtain sleep but the fear grew the more sleepless nights I gained but sleep was still welcomed. This last week sleep had became a figment of lost. I want to control it now and I don't want to lose control. I want sleep but also I don't want it because I wI'll not be in control. That may make no sense. But that's how It feels. I know this is ungodly.I know rest to be the healing process of the body. The deeper the better. I want it but then fear it. I know that sleep is my connection with God! Thats how I use to see it. But now I don't know Peter. The anxiety of losing grip is getting to me. I haven't slept much. Monday, Thursday, A bit Saturday and a bit Sunday but last night I couldnt cope. The fear wasn't even intense. It was just a nagging thought in my mine that I would lose control. I know I sound stupid. I was never like this, I lost my job, my apartment, my income and even my car. I had to move back with my parents. Things are going downhill for me. The only thing keeping me going is the people around me. All of the men and women of God that Christ surrounded me with. So Peter, or anyone who reads this. Will I make it? I've been to the Doctor and she wasn't my doctor my doc was off that day but the call in doctor gave me a experimentAL drug called Belsmora. Read about it and I refuse to take it. Am 26 years old my Christian walk was getting so much better. For the first time this year and last year I was alive! I considered the past to be dung. All that mattered was now but then as life kept happening I kept losing a portion of myself. Now that is all I have in me. I hope you guys can understand it. Hopefully God will have mercy on me. Hopefully one of you will answer me very soon on what I need to do. I need help brothers aND sisters.

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      1. Dear Jonathan,

        Thank you for sharing what you have been going through.

        The first thing I would like to encourage you to do is to surrender every part of your life, especially your desire to be in control, to Jesus Christ. Trust Him to hold your life, and every part of your life, in His capable hands. Don't strive, don't fight, don't worry, just let go. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and then wait upon Him patiently, and let Him lead you and provide for your needs.

        Also, if the tablet this doctor gave you did not help, please go back to your normal doctor, or even a different one, to see what other options there are to help you sleep. You should also share with your doctor about your obsessive thoughts, anxiety or depressive feelings. They may have some concrete recommendations to make about your current condition.

        I also recommend that you read this article on insomnia a few times, until you can go to bed relaxed, ready and willing to stay awake all night if that's what happens. Going to bed anxious is the worst mind frame we can be in.

        And overall, please be assured that through Christ's help and strength, you most definitely can make it. Please read the Gospel of John and the Pslams, and focus on the ways in which Jesus comforts us.

        God bless
        Peter

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    42. Thank you for your blog. I have an intense fear of not being able to sleep. This started for me when I was a young child for some unknown reason. I had a really difficult time with the insomnia phobia when I was in my late 20's and it took me years to work through it. Now at 52 yrs of age, I had several sleepless nights and it's like I'm that panicked young child all over again. I know that reversing my negative sleep thoughts are the answer, but my hands are shaking and my heart is racing as bedtime approaches. So hard to stay calm and be accept that it may be another sleepless night. I also discovered Dr. Claire Weekes years ago, her advice has helped me many times. Insomnia is a huge test of courage and faith.

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      1. Dear Anonymous,

        Thank you for your comment. Insomnia can certainly be an imposing bugbear. However, I am convinced that with Christ's help, you can overcome it and continue getting those good sleeps. Please read this article each night before bed for a week or so, and also the comments following the article where readers have given helpful tips. The physical symptoms such as shaking hands and racing heart try to trick you into believing they will remain at that strength all night, but that's not true. They will fade away, they are only temporary. And the more you can go to bed in an attitude of being willing to rest calmly all night without sleeping, the faster those symptoms will vanish. And the sooner sleep will come. If not that night, then most likely the next.

        You could also get some counselling and prayer regarding the phobia, if you have not already done so.

        God bless
        Peter

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    43. Thanks Peter reading this in July 2015 and comforted other Christians go through this and its not just something wrong with me.
      My doc wont give me meds so i buy sleeping pills online which is expensive and illegal in the UK to sell and brings me to the dilemma of if i should continue using them. But not using them means very little sleep and even though i pray through it, it's not making a difference (though i fully know Jesus cares and is listening)

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      1. Dear Philip,

        You're welcome. I'm glad you have been reassured that you are not alone in this. Also, may I encourage you to see a different doctor (or more tha one if needs be), one who can find for you a suitable mediation to help you sleep.

        God bless
        Peter

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    44. teresabrackett855@yahooNovember 19, 2015 at 4:59 PM

      I to am suffering from insomnia, I just don't know why, it just started a week ago, I've always had trouble sleeping at night, I used to work 3rd shift but that was a year ago I'm unable to work now due to chronic back pain, I've always just been able to take over the counter meds but those aren't working anymore. I get so mad and angry and then I tend to snap at others in my home not meaning to, I beg God to let me sleep , but all I do is flop like a fish in water all night . I need some help.

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      1. Dear Teresa,

        Are you able to get a second opinion from another doctor? They may be able to recommend different pain killers, or something to help you sleep. I also recommend that you see an osteopath regarding the back pain, I have found them more helpful than physios or chiropractors.

        Regarding not sleeping, the most important thing is to go to bed fully prepared not to sleep, and not to fight or fear that, but welcome it. Remind yourself that merely resting all night is still good for you, and if you can go to bed with such an attitude, sleep is far more likely to come anyway.

        Lifting up prayers for you,
        Peter

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    45. I'm too suffering from insomnia. Initially i have a serious cough and i can't even lie down on the bed. I experienced around 4 days( night and daytime) without being sleep for 1 second. Now over one month, i cough less but my insomnia problem still very serious. It can be not even 1 minute that i can grab a sleep. Now every night go to bed also preparing awake for whole night. I'm losing my career......

      Jason

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      1. Dear Jason,

        I can sympathise with what you are going through. Have you tried an antihistamine that deals with dry coughs (even if the cough isn't dry)? I take an antihistamine cough syrup when I can't stop coughing due to sickness or allergy, and it has helped me to sleep.

        Hope things get better soon,

        God bless
        Peter

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    46. I'm reading this weeping and exhausted after suffering from Insomnia ever since I got saved in 2002. I can relate to everything everyone is saying, and I know how angry I get, with life, God, everything.

      There is a part of me that just cannot believe that this is of God or okay with him. Staying steadfast in the lord, prayer, faith, kindness, takes a certain level of physical and mental strength.

      When you're constantly in pain, foggy, aching, irritable, losing your memory and aging physically - taking pills to pass out, or to not to be in soo much pain as to not be able to do anything. There's often feels like there is no energy left for faith, love of God, prayer. It's like you're not actually living, you're just alive. At one point, all the medication I was on barely left me able to get a sentence out.

      When we are not of sound mind, how can we serve God, be diligent on our job, be patient and kind with our families and friends, not live on sugar/caffeine to get through the day? To be honest, sometimes believing and loving God makes this experience worse - because you do have scripture and you are expectant, and when it doesn't come or there is no word in your spirit that it ever will. You feel desolate. Hopeless.

      Non believers just deal with the physical element of this affliction, but believers also deal with to corroding of their faith as they weaken in every area of their life.

      I'm unrecognisable mentally and physcially due to suffering with this for nearly 15 years. I have no discipline and just try and get through to the end of the day. I isolate myself and often don't go out, and have often turned to smoking dope just to feel nothing.

      I've never been able to reconcile that this is from or okay with God. And even though I love him dearly, it makes me feel distant and often like he is not on my side.

      Part of me feels like I'm betraying God even as I write this, but I believe he know's everything that's in my heart - and there's a part of me that feels he's betrayed me... but I CANNOT believe that to be true, otherwise he is not God, and if I doubt everything else, I believe that.

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      1. Dear Stacey,

        Sorry to hear of your horrid troubles with insomnia, it can be such a terrible bugbear. Please note that insomnia is not from God, but He can use it for good in our lives.

        I can relate to your statement that non-believers just deal with the physical element of this affliction. But as Christians, we often hamstring ourselves in our reaction to it. We stress ourselves out trying to get God to hear us, trying to get God bring us healing and relief, and then our faith is damaged if it doesn't come. We blame God and get angry with Him, or wonder if He doesn't care.

        What we need to do is change our perspective. When the insomnia comes, don't ask God to end it. Instead, ask Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us through it. Instead of asking Him to end it, ask Him to use it for good in our lives. Everyone will go through hardships, believers and unbelievers alike. The Christian perspective needs to be that we have a massive advantage over sufferings than the unbelievers do, because we have Someone, our beautiful Lord Jesus, to comfort us, strengthen us, and help us through it. Have a read of the Psalms, and see all the hardships David went through, and how God comforted and helped him through it all.

        Hope this helps
        God bless
        Peter












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    47. There was once a small paperback book called, Insommia God's Phone, best book I ever read about Insommia. I wish many times I could find that book again because it was worthy of keeping and reading again.

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    48. Hi, I have been suffering from insomnia for many years (ever since I was in JC, which is the Singapore equivalent of high school). Thank you Peter for writing this blog. I, too, like many others, stay up night after night for seemingly implausible reasons. I also suffer from a mild to moderate anxiety disorder. It includes elements of OCD. During my sleepless nights, I often cry out to God. Sleep may or may not come. But I think it is important to do that. I enjoy the suggestions in this post and will try to put them into practice. Thank you once again.

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    49. Mark Angelico TiglaoAugust 18, 2016 at 3:02 PM

      Thank you for these. there's a lot of people suffering Insomnia even me. Philippians 4:6-7 is my Favorite too. I Hope God healed me for these situation. Help me GOD.You are in Control. Control my Life let the fear out of my mind. Restored me a new Mind and a new Hearth. <3

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    50. Wow, I am so happy that my sister found this blog! I have been suffering with insomnia for months/years now. I am on meds but want to get off them and sleep naturally but if I don't take them, I don't sleep. I hate to admit it but I have been on those praying morning and night asking God why, when are You going to deliver me from this insomnia, I can't handle anymore, why have you left me alone in this, etc. I dread the nighttime when it's time for bed for fear I won't sleep. I have anxiety terrible. I read in so many articles that you can get heart disease, heart attacks and even die early from lack of sleep. That is enough to make you anxious. I am 65 and want to live to enjoy retirement after working all my life. I try to meditate and do breathing but am fairly new to this so am waiting to see if it helps after doing for long time. I find myself getting angry a lot and very irritable. I was told I was depressed but I don't believe that is the case. If I AM depressed, it's from not being able to sleep without medication. Who wouldn't get depressed. I don't have any of the other signs of depression and my psychiatrist wanted to put me on an anti-depressant like I was on 4 years ago, but I declined. Didn't like some of the side effects and don't believe depression is the culprit now. Reading your post Peter and some of the others brought joy to my heart to know that there are others out there going through the same thing. I liked how you said to change the attitude and the way to pray - more in a positive light and not the negative. To accept what God has given me for whatever reason knowing that HE does hear our prayers and that I am NOT alone like I feel most of the time. I hope people keep posting things here. It has given me some hope. Thank you and God bless. Prayers to all going through this devastating disorder. Joan Posey

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      1. Dear Anonymous,

        Thanks for sharing what you have been going through. It is amazing how much changing our attitude to insomnia and depression actually helps. At the same time, if the meds help you sleep, please do not feel that you have to stop taking them. There is nothing wrong with taking them, and they are helping correct something in your mind or brain that is stopping you sleeping. I praise God for doctors finding such medications.

        I'm not sure what form of meditation you are referring to, but just in case, I would also advise against using any eastern religious form of meditation and breathing exercises. Meditation the Bible mentions is meditating on His word. Working your way up to taking a brisk 45 minute walk every day would be more beneficial, I believe, and infinitely more spiritually healthy. Going for walks is a great time to chat to and worship Jesus.

        God bless
        Peter





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    51. You cant do eneything about the devil and is demons to defend your self if your a unbeliever can you

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      1. Dear Baseballrod,
        To receive protection from unclean spirits, we must believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. When we do that, we are spiritually born again, and God's Holy Spirit comes and lives in our hearts. From that time on, we have the Name of Jesus to use against the Satan's kingdom, since the Name of Jesus is above all names and Jesus has all authority over all things, and we also have spiritual weapons such as His Word and the Holy Spirit, to use against the enemy.
        If someone is an unbeliever, they do not have any of the above help to use against Satan's kingdom.
        God bless
        Peter

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    52. After years of taking sleeping tablets i have been off of them for the past four nights where I have had about four hours sleep a night. I am so tired. Does anyone know how long it takes for natural sleep to come back? I pray to God to get me to sleep, I experience His peace but sleep is hard to come by so far

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      1. Dear Naomi,

        Did you come off the sleeping tablets gradually? Best way is to halve them for a week, and then to halve them two more times, if possible, again spending a week on each lower dosage. Then stop.

        Have you spoken to the doctor about the reason for the insomnia? If there is a biological/emotional cause? You may find it best to remain on the medication. There is no shame in taking them, I praise God that we can take tablets to help us sleep. If there is no biological cause, it could still take some time for sleep patterns to return to normal. Again, something to talk to your doctor about,

        God bless
        Peter


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      2. Hi, I had my last sleeping tablet on 4th November, it is now the 27th. So 23 days ago. No I didn't come off them gradually, (perhaps I should have)I just stopped taking them. After sleepless upon sleepless night, I decided to try a product called Nytol which can be bought in any supermarket. It is essentially an antihistamine called Diphenhydramine which causes drowsiness and therefore can be used as a sleep aid. I didn't use this every night, but really helped get me to sleep when I did. I don't think there was any biological reason for my insomnia apart from the fact that I kept taking sleeping pills which taught my body to rely on them for sleep. The reason for my stopping them is that I felt God wanted me to stop the things that were keeping me in bondage and sleeping tablets were one of these things. If I was not a Christian then I would have just continued taking them, for sure. Sleep is improving hugely thank God. Thank you for your reply, God bless.

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    53. Hi Peter thank you so much for this blog!
      I've been suffering from chronic insomnia for about 2 months now and it's really taken a toll on me. I'm a strong believer in Christ and I love the lord with all my heart. I had tears in my eyes reading all the comments on here because ever since I've been going through this I've felt so alone and frustrated, so it's brought me great comfort knowing that there's so many other believers in Christ that are going through the same hardship. Reading your strategies on how to cope when you're up at night has changed my attitude when I'm laying awake hour after hour. When my insomnia initially started I didn't sleep for a week straight it was by far the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life before I thought I was gonna lose my mind. Ever since then I've been able to manage with some days 3-5 hours of sleep on a good night. Usually it's 3 hours. I'll go to sleep at 10 and wake up at 1 am on the dot most nights. I don't want to go the doctor and get on meds because I really don't want to be on any it makes me feel extremely guilty like I'm not trusting in God to heal me and bring me through this. I don't believe I'm depressed maybe I am from not sleeping but initially when it all started I don't think I was I remember being fairly content with my life at that time. I've been taking natural supplements to help with the insomnia and I must say before taking and pharmaceuticals you guys should try some of the natural remedies. I currently take melatonin pills and valerian root over the counter and they do help. Also I drink lots of different teas to help calm my nerves. A cup of tea before laying down can help relax the anxiety a bit. Ultamately I'm praying God delivers me from this, I do feel like God has a great purpose for my life and he is using this to help me become closer to him, which I must say has made me a lot more dependent on god and has forced me to get in the word more and study it more and also to pray more and praise him more in the midst of the hurt and pain. Sometimes I do wish he could use something else to prune me but gods ways and thoughts are not like ours. I want to also mention that I also suffer from generalized anxiety and that's also part of the reason I can't sleep, I was even having really bad intrusive thoughts for a while and still do at times but I'm learning how to cope with it and rebuke those thoughts because I know they're not from God. Anyways it feels great to vent on here and I hope people keep posting on here every single comment helped as well as the original post itself! Thanks you so much!
      Sincerely Judith

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      1. Dear Judy,

        Thanks for the comment, and for sharing what you've been going through with insomnia. And especially how the article and the readers' comments have been encouraging. It's good to know we are not alone in experiencing these things.

        Note that some of the articles on this blog help deal with intrusive thoughts, so they may help you as well.
        http://cornerstonethefoundation.blogspot.com/2009/04/when-mind-is-minefield.html
        http://cornerstonethefoundation.blogspot.com/2009/02/dealing-with-fearful-thoughts.html
        http://cornerstonethefoundation.blogspot.com/2010/02/getting-new-perspective-on-depressions.html

        Also, I know taking meds to help us sleep is often seen as us not trusting in God. But may I assure you that this is not the case. Taking anti-biotics with and infection is necessary, taking ventolin with asthma is necessary, and at times meds to help us sleep and be properly rested so we can function properly the next day is necessary too.

        God bless
        Peter

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