Minute #601: Insomnia

Do you suffer from an inability to fall asleep? Do you know someone who complains of waking and not being able to doze off again? Experts estimate that up to 70 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia, a medical condition in which sufferers experience an inability to fall or remain asleep. Health-care costs associated with insomnia total $42 billion each year. The shelves of pharmacies are full of over-the-counter remedies which make claims of being the best, safest remedy for this widespread problem.

Some may say it’s hormonal and others consider the problem neurological, but the simple and most common cause of sleeplessness is worry. A person who is concerned about an important decision will often toss and turn throughout the night, imagining the many potentially negative outcomes that are possible. It’s quite understandable that a person concerned about a serious health issue, or perhaps a financial concern, will lose sleep. For others, a major purchase such as a home or car may be the cause of insomnia. The challenges of finding a mate for children and then having to pay for the wedding and set up the new couple in a comfortable starter home have kept many parents awake with stress at a time that should be filled with joy. True, these are all valid concerns.

Rabbi Moshe Sherer, z”l, the leader of Agudath Israel for over 50 years, once quipped: “I sleep like a baby — I wake up crying every hour.” His lack of sleep was caused by concern for the welfare and the future of the Jewish people. That’s what is really worth worrying about.

Can’t sleep? Try and reboot your concerns to issues that concern Klal Yisrael. You’ll still lose sleep — but for the right reasons.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will be rewarded to see its salvation (Taanis 30b). It does not refer to the mourning for the physical Jerusalem, precious as that is to our people. Jerusalem stands for the glory of our nation in the days when we possessed the ancient grandeur of mind and character, when the presence of G-d was felt by the nation. (Harav Avigdor Miller, Simcha Minute, p. 41)