34 Days of Favorites: Sleeping Habits

Okay, everybody, ready for some more weird favorites?! Here we go….

Sleep has not always come easy around here. Ben and I are completely opposite in our sleep issues. He falls asleep in about two seconds, but wakes up many times in a night.

I take a looooong time to fall asleep, but once I’m asleep, absolutely nothing will wake me up again. I am blissfully unaware of Ben getting up to answer the girls’ calls for nighttime potty breaks or bad dreams.

I consider sleeping soundly to be a great gift. But I’ve had my struggles with insomnia at different points in my life, which is one of the more miserable things I’ve gone through. I get a little bit crazy after being awake for too many hours. And I get really tired of myself by morning. Sleep is a good way to have a break from yourself.

Anyway. Once I am sleeping soundly, it appears as though I have some self-destructive habits. I clench my teeth like crazy, and without knowing it, move into positions that have resulted in pain and tension in my body. I used to wake up with wicked headaches every morning, until I started seeing a new chiropractor and massage therapist.

Which sounds very normal, but that’s because you haven’t met Nigel Jeffers. I’ve written before about his extremely unconventional methods. He has a suggestion for absolutely any problem you could throw at him. And all of suggestions are weird.

So when I complained to him about my headaches, he sent me out to buy a buckwheat pillow. (You can buy them for $30 at Dania Down.)

How do I describe the strangeness of a buckwheat pillow? It’s a little bit like sleeping on a bean bag. It’s very heavy (because it’s filled with grain), and once you get it molded into place for the night, it holds it’s position quite well.

This is what makes it wonderful. It provides excellent support for the neck, and since using it, much of the tension in my neck has been relieved.

I take it with me everywhere. I cannot sleep without my buckwheat pillow.

My other big bad sleep habit is lying with my arm up over my head. I never did this while I was awake, and I didn’t know I did it in my sleep, until Nigel asked about it. I told him I didn’t, but he was pretty sure I did, since my shoulders and neck were so tense.

And sure enough, after he started asking me about it, I would wake myself up during the night by putting my arm over my head.

So I had to go back and confess to Nigel that I had been wrong. But what on earth can be done to stop myself in my sleep?

Nigel’s answer was simple: Sleep with your arms in your shirt.


I felt like a complete idiot that evening as I stuffed my arms into my shirt. Ben thought it was hilarious. He liked to think about what I would do if there was a fire, and I was trapped in my shirt.

That first night was awkward. I kept waking myself up in a complete panic, fighting violently with my shirt, trying to be free. It took a few nights before I stopped waking up in a struggle, and then sleep was absolutely wonderful. I noticed a huge improvement.

Nigel said to keep sleeping with my arms in my shirt for three weeks, and then try going without it, but immediately, those arms popped up above my head again. So, back in the shirt they went.

I’ve tried to go without the entrapment method a few other times, but this is a stubborn habit which appears to be going nowhere.

So I sleep with my arms in my shirt every night. I’m so used to it by now, I really like it. It makes me feel all snug and cozy, to which Ben said, “I could swaddle your whole body in a blanket like a baby, if you like.”

No, thanks. We’ll just stick with the shirt.

It feels a little ridiculous even asking if anyone wants to try these favorites, but if you do, you really must come back and tell us all about it! If you have head or neck aches, I’m telling you – a buckwheat pillow and arms in the shirt. Tried and true Nigel techniques, right there.

And other weird but wonderful sleep suggestions out there? Feel free to share – obviously, I’m up for trying just about anything!

(To read more about “34 Days of Favorites”, click here.)

And, in case you missed some favorites and want to catch up, here are the links!

Body Brushing


New Camera

New Friends

Serious Music

Happy Music

Apple Cider Vinegar



TV Show



What Happens When We Worry

I have a new massage therapist. His name is Nigel, and basically, I pay him money to beat me up.

I have no idea why he uses the word “massage”.

I lie on a table fully dressed as this huge man chops at my body, and beats me with those little hammers that doctors use on your knees to check your reflexes.

I experience pain like I have never known. Childbirth seems mild, in comparison.

And yet I go back, week after week.


Because it is helping my body in dramatic ways I didn’t know were possible.

Nigel says that sometimes, in order to help people, he has to take them beyond what they can bear. If he stayed within their pain threshold, the body would never heal.

And so I am repeatedly taken over my pain threshold.

The other day as I was lying there with the tears and sweat flowing, trying my hardest not to scream as he chopped away, the thought that remained stuck in my mind was this:

I did this to myself.

All of the pain which I have to endure, is pain that I have inflicted on myself. I don’t say that in a “beat myself up out of guilt” kind of way, but rather a “let’s get real about what’s going on here, and take some responsibility” kind of a way.

Because here’s the deal: Whenever my muscles hurt really badly and I ask Nigel what causes that kind of pain, he says…


I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I have struggled with worry and stress for years.

Worry is sin. And all sin has a consequence.

These days, I am being reminded in a very physical sense what the consequence is for my worry.

But it gets even more serious than that. I came across an article awhile back that offered the following statistic:

87% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life.

I don’t share that to make you start worrying about what kinds of illnesses you are bringing upon yourself by worrying. I share it because it kind of amazes me that we’ve let it get to this point.

As Christians, we know that we’re not supposed to worry, or have negative, critical thoughts. But we continue to do it anyway, and it flows into every area of our lives.

I want to change. I’ve spent years trying many different things in order to improve my health, and yet what is becoming more clear to me all the time is that health is not the root of my problems, it’s worry.

Obviously, I do not have all the answers as to how to deal with that, because I’m still needing to get tortured by Nigel every other week.

But I have  found some really fantastic resources to pass on to you so that we can muddle through this together.  Be sure to check them out, and let me know what you think! (We’ll start a support group!) Or let me know if you have any other resources that would be great to share!

1) “Why Worry” – Sermon series by Andy Stanley (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three)

2) Thought Life” – Article by Dr. Leaf

3) “A More Excellent Way: Be in Health” – Book by Henry Wright