I’ve been cautiously waiting to share this until all of my “research” was in. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet and would like to share the results with you, my friends.
I’ve shared before on here that I struggle with terrible nightmares. I have for a very, very, very long time. Even with sleep medication, I am often awakened in the middle of the night and rarely can I go back to sleep. I hate them. I hate those nights.
But a curious change in my bedtime routine seems to have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of nightmare nights that I have.
For most of this year, I’ve used the audible feature on the YouVersion Bible app for reading the passages for the day in the Read the Bible in a Year plan. I’ve always hated to be read to. Hated it. But for some reason this year I found it enjoyable to listen to scripture before I went to sleep. Me–enjoying somebody reading to me–nearly unbelievable, but it’s true.
Then one night about 4 months ago I discovered that with this YouVersion application, I can go to a book and have it start reading that book (like Philippians) and it will continue to read chapter after chapter for a specified amount of time or chapters. I’m not really sure when it cuts off, because it eventually puts me to sleep.
But the break-through I have experienced is that in listening to God’s word before I go to bed and particularly as I go to sleep, my experience of nightmares has decreased significantly. Now I may only have one night a week where I am roughly awakened in fear, as opposed to 2 or 3 nights. And a couple of times it’s gone as long as a week and a half and two weeks.
I had a friend who once suggested that I read scripture before sleeping, and I tried a few times. When it failed to work, I gave up. But now I see that he was right, it does help–I just had to find the method of reading (or listening) that worked for me.
This has answered some pretty deep prayers that I have prayed. I still hate the nights I am awakened and the fear is still great on those nights, but sleeping well for the first time in much of my life is literally life-changing. I honestly did not think God was listening. I honestly did not think He would answer. I certainly didn’t think He would answer in this manner. But He has, and I am so grateful.
I’ll continue to keep my spreadsheet to watch the trends. Maybe a day will come when there will be no more nightmares, or maybe they will come around only occasionally. But for now, this feels like tremendous progress. Tremendous.
Here’s the really funny/amazing thing. As I was sitting here writing this, my phone “dinged” with a tweet. I glanced at the phone to see that it came from @CSLewisDaily, which sends out a daily quote by my favorite author. I have chicken skin, because I’m not kidding, at all—the quote for today (right as I am writing this) is as follows:
“Nightmares don’t last.” C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady
Wow. Whew. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and cautious hope. And joy.