Archives For sleep

I’m Giving Up Crazy for Lent

Chris —  March 20, 2014

Over the past six months or so, my life has been subsumed by “The Crazy.” It started with just being busy. Then it became crazy busy. Then it was just The Crazy.

The Crazy is that thing that wakes you up at 4 am because you’re afraid you forgot to send an email. The Crazy is feeling in your legs that makes you bounce out of bed because you’re afraid that you’re already late and things are going to fall apart. The Crazy is that sense that you had when you woke up that you never really slept.

The Crazy is what drives you to drink a third cup of iced coffee at five in the afternoon. The Crazy is the million worries yelling at you when you’re supposed to be having a conversation with the person in front of you.


The Crazy is blowing off bills because you don’t want to think about them. The Crazy is when you don’t return a friend’s call because having friends now stresses you out. The Crazy is the sense of dread and shame that keeps you from being able to sit and read scripture or pray.

If you come from a high church tradition, you could probably tell me a whole lot about Lent. I know there’s something about fasting and another rule about eating fish. I’m a low church, free church Protestant who happens to think the Liturgical Calendar might be a good idea.

Continue Reading…

How To Go to Sleep at Night

Chris —  February 28, 2013

When I set my goals for 2013, I made “Become a Morning Person” a top priority.  Let me be clear: I am, and have always been a night owl. I love the long conversations in the dark and the quiet loneliness that gives me space to do the silly things I’d never do in the sunlight.  However, to reach my other goals of 2013, like finishing the MAGL and improving this blog, it was going to take a new level of discipline.  After a few early mornings where no amount of expresso seemed to be doing the trick, it became clear that I was going to have to sacrifice a few things.

Man Waking to Alarm Clock

For the time being, I’m trying to say goodbye to hours of surfing the internet after sunset.  I’ve stopped sticking around to close down parties that have already been stale for a few hours.  But that’s easy part.  Actually going to sleep is the hard part.  Here’s seven tips I’ve picked up that have helped me get a good night’s rest.

  1. Go to bed tired.
    There’s no better feeling than a good night sleep a hard day’s work. But that’s hard to get if you’re a 21st century knowledge worker.  Part of the reason I have trouble sleeping at night is that my body isn’t always tired.  So, during the day, do whatever it takes to get out, and wear your muscles out.  You’ll feel better the rest of the day, and sleep better at night.
  2. Make a list.
    Ever lay in bed worrying about what you have to do the next day?  Just as you start to drift off, the next thing, floats into your head.  Part of the reason is that we have so much going on that we can’t keep track of it all.  So, to get this under control, take a few minutes to create a list.  Take a glance at it before you call it a night, and congratulate yourself for all the things you accomplished.
  3. Clean your room.
    The world around you shapes what’s inside you.  Take a moment to pick up your socks off the floor and make your bed.  When the end of the day comes around, you’ll lay down in a peaceful setting.
  4. Hide your electronics.
    Our gadgets are addicting.  I will surf for hours and not even realize I’m doing it.  Just having the gadgets in my room will make me want to use them.  Put your laptop and iPad in places you can’t see.  If you don’t (yet) have the discipline to stay away from them, leave them in another room when you call it a night.
  5. Create a peaceful setting.
    If you live in a city, or share your space with family or roommates, chances are, they’ll be making noise that will distract you from drifting off.  To cover the noise up, I use Songza, because of it’s sleeping playlists and sleep timer. If you share your bedroom, you might consider purchasing some sleep phones to keep from distracting others.
  6. Relax your body.
    Unless you’re naturally laid back or some kind of yogi, you probably are storing stress and tension in your muscles.  When you lay down, you have trouble staying still, breathing and relaxing.  Invest some time and money in learning muscle relaxation and breathing techniques.  It’s amazing how quickly you will feel better.  Despite it’s cheesy name, I’ve found Christian Relaxation tapes to be a great way to calm down and reflect on scripture.
  7. Pray.
    So much about going to sleep at night means being at peace.  To the extent you can, this includes being at peace with God.  The prayer of Examen is one of Ignatius’s, whereby you review your day and present it to God.  If you’ve never done the Examen, this audio file will walk you through it.  You’ll learn a lot about prayer and feel more at peace with God and the world.


Sleeping Well

Chris —  June 18, 2009

sleep-learningSleeping well has always been a problem for me.  Since I was a kid, my ADHD brain has kept moving a million miles an hour, even when I’m covered up and the lights are off.

The most I’ve ever consistently slept well was the summer I spent interning with Dry Bones.  The combination of 100 degree days and emotional outpouring to our homeless friends gave me a magical ability to fall asleep as soon as my eyes closed.

Since arriving in Hong Kong, I’ve gone to sleep between 8-10pm every night.  I’ve tried to stay up and read or journal to no avail.  The sleep is restful, although far from sound, and I wake up about 4-5am for an extended quiet time.

Why is it that my sleep patterns have suddenly changed?  Well, I’m sure that jetlag and spending the day hauling books around plays a role.  But I also believe that part of it is due to having spent the day serving God.

Most of the time, I lay in bed thinking “oh yeah, Father…how are ya?”  But having spent my day ensuring that follower’s of Daddy’s Son have books to read makes my bedtime prayers sound more like “we did pretty good today, huh?”  Living on mission helps me sleep well.