Five Minute Friday scribblings

Tired: When We Live On Too Little Sleep

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TIRED. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

TIRED

I suffered with insomnia for the first six years of our marriage. Two to five hours of sleep was my norm. One day, I was so tired, I drove home from somewhere and didn’t even remember going through a couple of major intersections.

I don’t recommend driving when you’re living on so little sleep. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do, even when we’re tired. Don’t we?

In this season of life, there’s way more stuff to do than time to do it. For the last number of years, I’ve caught my bedtimes slipping closer to when the clock hands point straight up. I still wake up at o’-dark-hundred, though. I’ve held my list as more important than sleep.

I don’t think that’s how God wired us. He knows we need rest. He’s created us to need it if we want to thrive.

The thing is? When I live a lifestyle of not-enough-sleep, I miss out. I drive through my days without really experiencing them. I survive, but I’m not thriving. And I don’t remember the important things.

I miss out on time loving on my boys, time connecting with my husband and friends. I’m too tired to really focus on the important. Instead, I tend to choose dealing with the urgent, so I can mark that next thing off my to-do list.

When I’m tired, I am shorter-tempered with my boys. Less compassionate when they’ve had a tough day. I miss the nuances in their body language. My husband is patient with me, but he sometimes worries about me when I’m not sleeping enough.

There are seasons when we simply have to push through the tired. But something or someone is sacrificed when we live that way. Sooner or later, our bodies will demand rest. And we’d be wise to give it.

In this, my fiftieth year, I’ve been working to sleep more. I’m choosing rest over to-do’s. It’s when I am rested that my body feels best, my mind functions at it’s best. And I’m most attuned to the things God wants to show me in the world around me.

Tiredness tints my days in gray. Being rested colors my days with brightness and joy.

I eventually got a handle on the insomnia and began sleeping normal-people amounts again. And with that came more clarity in my thinking, more intimacy with my Father, and more joy with my people.

What about you? How does tiredness affect you? What helps you stay rested?

Click to Tweet:  When I live a lifestyle of not-enough-sleep, I miss out.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Tired

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36 thoughts on “Tired: When We Live On Too Little Sleep”

    1. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets cranky with my kids when I’m overtired. It’s hard to stay rested as our kids grow older and need us in different ways. But I’m learning it’s as (if not more) essential to stay rested with teens as it is with toddlers. 🙂

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  1. So much THIS: “Tiredness tints my days in gray. Being rested colors my days with brightness and joy.” I think there’s a reason God rested on the seventh day. Blessed to be your neighbor this week.

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  2. I’m working on that too… to not do my to-do list but to rest when I need it. It’s better for me you know? and therefore better for my family.

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    1. It’s such a tricky thing to get it into my head how important rest is. I do really well for a few weeks. Then something throws me back into the old thought/behavior patterns and I have start all over again re-establishing the habit. Maybe I need to broaden my mindset and remember how good it is for my family when I have enough rest. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Annette!

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  3. Beautifully said and illustrated, Jeanne. One error I must point out…seeing your picture, I think you meant ‘thirtieth year’ rather than ‘fiftieth’. Typos will creep in.

    I don’t really sleep these days. It hurts too much. I try to find a place where I can rest, lying on my left side and using a dog as a pillow, where there is a place of peace.

    It’s enough.

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    1. Thanks friend. I pray for you each night that you will get some rest. I can picture a dog being your pillow. That’s love right there–staying still to help another rather than moving all around. And believe me, my body reminds me—Often—that it’s walked this earth for fifty years. 😉

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  4. It is so true that we were meant for rest. I battle this cultural lie that needing to sleep means that I’m weak rather than that I’m human, that I should be able to do it all without needing to recharge at night or (God forbid!) take a nap in the afternoon. Thank you for this important reminder.

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    1. Bethany, I’ve tripped into believing that lie too. But, as I’ve grown older, it’s held less sway over me. It’s good to embrace the truth that we are human, and that we weren’t created to be able to “do it all,” isn’t it? God set the example of rest for us. We need to heed that. And, if it makes you feel better, I take naps some afternoons too! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    1. Lisa, the right amount of sleep is the key. 🙂 If I sleep too much, I never really wake up, and need naps. Crazy huh? If I don’t sleep enough . . . well, let’s just say that a prolonged period of not enough sleep makes for a not-very-nice person. 😉

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  5. great post jeanne:) altho’ i’m wired for to do lists, i had to grab sleep, or enough of it to function. i get seizures when i don’t get enough sleep:( and i wanted to drive! fortunately, back then, i didn’t have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. menopause was the time that gave me trouble sleeping for the first time in my life! at least it gave me more sympathy for those who had trouble with it!
    so interesting that we consider sleep and rest unproductive, yet without it, our bodies and brains just can’t function well at all can they?

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    1. Martha, you have an added reason to keep sleep as a priority. Being able to drive is pretty important. I’ve dealt with insomnia on and off since I got married (not sure what the trigger was…), but I’m dealing with more difficulties falling asleep as I work through menopause too. I think we need to align our perspectives about sleep and rest with God’s. I know mine is out of whack, at least sometimes. 😉

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  6. Beautiful Scripture picture! My heart goes out to you, dear Jeanne. Insomnia has bit me too many times in my younger years. It’s a lot better now; however, I never take a good night’s sleep for granted–it’s gold to this gal.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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    1. I’m with you, Wendy. I still deal with times of insomnia, but nothing like during those early years of our marriage! I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to navigate it when it comes to visit. I don’t take a good night’s sleep for granted either. It’s the best!

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  7. A few years ago, I started setting an alarm for 9:00 at night. No matter what we were doing, we’d stop and go to bed when it dinged. Now I don’t need an alarm but a habit had been formed. Sleep changes everything! When the girls are up or we’re sick or whatever, I know I’m not as good of a mom/wife/friend. It’s such a reminder that God really did create our bodies to rest!

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    1. You are so wise to set an actual alarm to remind you! I’ve kind of begun doing that. I have the hardest time getting to bed early when Hubs travels. There are things that need my full attention for completion and often that uninterrupted time comes after the boys have said good-night. However, I’m getting better at getting ready for bed sooner, and this is a help in getting to bed earlier. 🙂

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  8. “I’m choosing rest over to-do’s. It’s when I am rested that my body feels best, my mind functions at it’s best.” I’m so glad you wrote this. I completely know what sleep deprivation does to our most basic needs. Thank you, Jeanne, for describing how short we can get when sleep is missing. I’m glad you have rest and that you can avoid restlessness.

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    1. Erendira, thank you for stopping by! I suspect most of us have an inkling of what sleep deprivation does to us. Sometimes it takes humility and intentionality to make the changes to get more rest . . . and to be okay with the fact that we need it. 🙂 I’m getting there. I am not as consistent as I’d like to be, but I’m getting there.

      Have a good, restful weekend!

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  9. Great post Jeanne. I am currently going through a season of not enough sleep which is self imposed. I try to find pockets of time to myself and it’s at night when everyone’s asleep.

    I’m very snappy and shout a lot when I’m tired, then I feel guilty and awful about shouting at my children. I need to work at getting more sleep.

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    1. Sophia, it’s hard to change that habit of surviving on too little sleep, isn’t it? I get the finding pockets of time when everyone else in the house is asleep! I’ve done that too. I hope you’re able to get more sleep. I’m saying a prayer for you today. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  10. You’re right. Tiredness creates tunnel vision. You miss out on so much because you just simply don’t have the energy to notice it. I’m trying to go to bed earlier too this year. It helps!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jeanne. I agree that we’re not meant to move through life on autopilot, desperately trying to check things off our list. Your post made me think of that passage (which someone else shared in their FMF post) from Matthew 11, in the Message paraphrase: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I think that is physical as well as spiritual.

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    1. Jeannie, I’m so glad Jesus is there for us, just waiting for us to take Him up on His invitation to come to Him, hand over our weariness and rest in Him. There’s no better place to lay down our burdens than at His feet. I have always loved the challenge to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I would agree that this means physical as well as spiritual. Thank you for sharing this!!

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  12. This reminds me of a story: I, too, struggle with insomnia (have since I was a teenager; thanks for those genes, Dad). I’m a light sleeper as well, so adjusting to being in the same bed as my husband…well, nearly 12 years later, I haven’t. In our first year of marriage, I told my doctor that I couldn’t take it anymore and that he had to give me something. He prescribed Ambien. Just a few. Just enough to see if it would work for me.

    I took one and fell into bed, praying for sleep. Instead, I hallucinated. Or had a waking dream. Something. Thought I was being attacked. Punched Chris. Never took Ambien again.

    May you and I both learn to stick to good sleep schedules. 🙂

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    1. Oh, Marie. That must have been so scary to have those hallucinations! I’m hoping you’ve found other ways to work through the insomnia. I’m a light sleeper too. My husband and I have made adjustments so that we can both sleep. It’s not easy, but we work it out as couples, right? And yes, may we both learn to stick to good sleep schedules.

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  13. Oh, I don’t want to drive through life (in a fog or simply on auto-pilot) and not experience life….miss the beauty and blessing of the details. The small things. The every day. That picture of driving is a great one. Its so easy to go from point A to point B – so focused on the destination – and totally miss what’s all along the way! Thanks for the encouragement. Have a blessed week ahead….enjoying all the little things:)

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    1. Yes, Jennifer, it is far too easy to focus on getting from one point to the next and miss out on all the beauty and fun along the way. Being over-tired seems to focus my mind in that direction every single time. Trying to change that up. 🙂 I hope your week is a beautiful one, filled with delightful “little things” too! 🙂

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  14. “I survive, but I’m not thriving.” Too many of us are simply surviving, myself included. Jesus promised us life abundant not just in the hear after, but right now. I love how you ended this post, “Tiredness tints my days in gray. Being rested colors my days with brightness and joy.” I’ll remember this word picture. Thanks for this! Visiting from #91 at FMF.

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    1. I agree, Vicki. Too many of us are simply surviving. May we both be in the place where we see the bright colors in our days and not just the gray. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  15. Oh, I can relate sister. I have historically slept too much or not enough. I am someone whose mental state is sensitive to not enough rest. Yet, I have often tossed aside self care in order to check off my list. Now, I realize, if I am not healthy, it affects everything else. It is a challenge to change though.

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    1. Stephanie, I’m glad I’m not alone. I think. 😉 It’s too easy to set aside my need for sleep to achieve my craving for accomplishing. I’m learning (finally!) that sleep encourages productivity. Lack of sleep hinders it. It’s taken me long enough. 😉 You’re so right. If we are not healthy, everything will be affected by that. May we both be more intentional about getting the sleep we need. Thank you for visiting, my friend!

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