Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

On sleeping through the night

Some people, so I’m told, sleep soundly all night long. Others, and I know not the statistics for they do not change my life one bit, do not sleep soundly all night long. For about 45 years I slept soundly through the night. In my late 40s, though, a nightly or bi-nightly trek to the bathroom began, and it shows no sign of relenting. I wonder sometimes where it all comes from. My doctor gives this — the nightly treks — a diagnosis: “aging.” Sometimes doctors have the cleverest categories.
One of my friends had a home-made remedy: “If you don’t drink after 7pm,” he affirmed with a strong conviction, “you’ll not have to get up.” Kris and I have tea about 7pm, and it is not likely that we’ll change that custom for I’d rather get up in the wee (or pee) hours of the morning than give up our tea. But, to make the point clear, even when I have had nothing to drink the nightly trek continues, as if now by habit. I wonder, as I said above, where it all comes from.
Now we’ve got another problem. Our little dog, Webster, a Bichon Frise, is himself (to use my doctor’s category) “aging.” Now he wants to get up at night to go outside to do his business. He lets us know by clicking his toenails on the wooden floors. He assumes, rightly, that we’ll hear his clicking. About the time he gets to the bedroom door, he shakes himself furiously, and sometimes (“aging” again) so hard that he slips and falls down.
Here’s the problem: Webster has no interest in coordinating his nightly treks with my nightly treks. One would think that my waking would disturb his sleep enough to wake him into considering our mutual relief. Which raises the other problem: he can no longer hear. Again, “aging.”
The advantage, if there is one, of waking at night for such routine business is that it gives me the chance to say the Jesus Creed or the Lord’s Prayer or the Jesus Prayer a few times. What amazes me is that these nightly interruptions no longer carry any force in the day: I don’t seem to need as much sleep, so whether I sleep soundly all night long or not so soundly doesn’t seem to matter. At about 5:30am the body says, “Time to get up, big guy, and get on with what the Lord has for you this day.” When I get up, Webster is still sleeping. He prefers to sleep soundly until about 6:15am.

Comments read comments(17)
post a comment
Cleve Dawsey

posted January 27, 2006 at 6:42 am

Last year, sometime around April, I started waking up around 1 or 1 thirty in the AM. Now, I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night occasionally, but it went on to the point I had to ask the doctor about it. He prescribed a sleep aid which was so potent I actually had to break the capsules up and take it in smaller doses. I only had one refill, so instead of taking that I occasionally took two Tylenol PM. I began to fear for my liver so I quit that and began taking two Benadril. The point is I have not gone to sleep unaided for over a year and a half.
I would certainly appreciate any help or advice from anyone who has walked this road before. I perhaps should mention that last year was especially stressful. I had changes in my job (switched from a church staff position to news director at a radio station), went through Hurricane Katrina. That’s all behind me though, and I still wake up around 1 although with the Benadril I go back to sleep. We have a sleep disorder clinic at the hospital nearby, and I wonder if I should look into that.
Any suggestions?

report abuse

Duane Young

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:41 am

I am grateful that with age I need less sleep and quite naturally awaken during the wee hours–otherwise I would be deprived of this delightful and stimulating experience–of sitting at your feet, Scot, and enjoying a new kind of fellowship. It has been, and continues to be a delight. Beats watching and listening to “talking heads” by a mile.

report abuse

Scot McKnight

posted January 27, 2006 at 8:05 am

As a pastor once introduced me, “He’s got the kind of doctorate that doesn’t do anybody any good,” I can only recommend that you see a sleep specialist. I guess if waking up means staying awake, then it is one thing; but if waking up (as it is with me), laying awake for a 30 minutes or so, then it is simply a transition between the cycles and rhythms of sleep.

report abuse


posted January 27, 2006 at 8:21 am

I would kindly recommend that those with sleep issues see a good Homeopath. They treat the root issue within one’s individual body Chemistry. Your issue may be quite different from the next person’s, and quite possibly very simple to correct.

report abuse


posted January 27, 2006 at 3:18 pm

hehehehe… I never think of praying the Jesus prayer Lord’s prayer or repeating the Jesus Creed on my nightly treks… i’m too busy trying ot avoid obstecals in the utter darkness since we live in a ‘remote’ area with no outside city lights or street lights… (i really need to get a new bulb for our night light!!!!)

report abuse

Dan Reid

posted January 27, 2006 at 3:21 pm

Scot, let me recommend my solution–exercise, with lots of perspiration during the day. See, the deal is that you are a get a bit dehydrated but don’t really know it. So on nights after a “big sweat” running my trail up the mountain, I don’t wake up until the alarm goes off at 5:00. On the other nights, it’s a broken night’s sleep. This is the “natural” solution to this aging problem. And don’t carry any of those silly water bottles around during the day.

report abuse

Scot McKnight

posted January 27, 2006 at 3:25 pm

How does dehydration result in my nightly trek?
No water bottles for me; tea and coffee.

report abuse

Scot McKnight

posted January 27, 2006 at 4:16 pm

First, there are no mountains in Illinois
Second, if I ran up a mountain I’d spend the next 3 days with ice on my knees and wouldn’t sleep through the night anyway.

report abuse


posted January 27, 2006 at 5:30 pm

I wish I could sleep through the night…or just get up because of a bladder break. No, it is my children who have reminded me in the middle of the night that I lack grace and patience, and most of all that I am not God, the One who never slumbers nor sleeps.

report abuse

Ron Fay

posted January 27, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Sleep is overrated.
– Insomniac

report abuse

Kerry Doyal

posted January 27, 2006 at 10:03 pm

thanks for giving me something to look forward to . . .

report abuse


posted January 29, 2006 at 7:36 am

Right with you Scott!
A weefree night is long gone!

report abuse

Dan McGowan

posted January 29, 2006 at 5:04 pm

This is not related to your issue – though I think that aging thing is part of the issue… maybe 5 or 6 LESS sodas during the day, hmm?? But my issue has to do with snoring and sleep apnea. After far too many years of snoring and keeping my wife awake, not to mention my (apparently) frequent jolts awake due to not breathing (ugh) I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor who told me what I already knew – I snore and I stop breathing. So, I now sleep with a CPAP machine. It sounds a lot worse than it is… but it’s so great!! Finally, after all those years of groggy-ness, I now sleep all the way thru the night and wake up far more refreshed than I ever did before!
Oh yeah, and sometimes I have to go potty, too…

report abuse

David T. Koyzis

posted January 29, 2006 at 8:51 pm

I haven’t slept straight through the night in years. But, as I’ve come to see it, I have centuries of sleep ahead of me (to quote one of Hitchcock’s films), so I’m not going to complain. One of the apparent benefits of ageing is that I do not need nearly as much sleep as I did when I was younger. So getting up in the middle of the night doesn’t really impair my ability to function during the day.

report abuse

David T. Koyzis

posted January 29, 2006 at 8:53 pm

If God is the one who never slumbers or sleeps, and if we need less sleep as we age, does that mean we progressively become more like God? :-)

report abuse

Scot McKnight

posted January 30, 2006 at 12:20 am

And David that also sounds like divinization or apotheosis in Orthodox theology — maybe that explains it.

report abuse


posted January 30, 2006 at 1:38 am

What a great dog Webster is! He must bring you a lot of happiness. :)

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.