Can You Wait 5 More Minutes?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

When the Temptation Comes

It happened again last night.

I woke up around 11:45 pm. I only slept for 90 minutes and I’m already awake? Not good. Sigh.

I know the best thing to do. Relax, meditate on memorized scripture, pray. 

But sometimes I lack the self-discipline for that.

An immediate temptation instead?

Put in my earbuds, find a non-engaging podcast to listen to on my phone, and let it derail my brain into nothingness. It can take awhile to work. And sometimes the podcast topic is too interesting after all, and it keeps me awake. Or if I forget to set the sleep timer to turn the podcast off, it wakes me back up later.

Sometimes I suspect the whole process of trying to get back to sleep can actually keep me awake.

But listening to podcasts is just so tempting. And so easy. I don’t like waiting for sleep to come on its own good time.

Wait 5 More Minutes

It’s hard to wait for things we want. We’re accustomed to instant gratification. Amazon has spoiled us with “buy now.” Google gives us prompt answers to our queries. Apple music lets me hear my favorite song immediately.

It’s uncomfortable to sit in uncertainty. The in-between makes us antsy. We’d rather forge ahead with the quick thing than wait patiently for the right thing.

So when I’m tempted to jump in too quickly, I trick myself with this: Just wait 5 more minutes.

  • Instead of sending off the angry email in the heat of the moment, wait 5 minutes.
  • Instead of getting the 3rd slice of pizza because I’m still hungry, wait 5 minutes.
  • And instead of immediately reaching for the podcast when I can’t sleep, just give it at least 5 minutes. Relax my muscles, recite scripture in my head, and watch my breathing.

God can do a lot when we give him 5 minutes. When we turn off the urgency. When we release our grip on getting relief now.

Our emotions might shift. We might find something better to do in the delay. We might discover a better solution. We might find we can hold off even longer. The problem may even resolve on its own.

And if it doesn’t? Well, maybe we need another 5 minutes. Or maybe this time we just give in to the podcast to lull us back to sleep.

Either way, we don’t always need willpower to get through hour after hour.

Maybe we just need willpower for 5 more minutes.

Sometimes in the 5 minute delay, I actually fall asleep.

And stay asleep.

For much longer than 5 minutes.

Featured Post—Do This for 5 Minutes

Donna Bucher suggests a 5-minute bedtime ritual to clear our minds. Try using a night journal to unload your thoughts and quiet your mind before sleep.

“Writing down your thoughts at bedtime brings an end to the day. It draws a line between today and tomorrow. It gives you a new, fresh day upon waking and keeps today from spilling over into tomorrow.”

Read all of Donna’s post here, then share your own blog posts at the linkup below. 

Using a Night Journal For a Quiet Mind at Bedtime

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Do you have any hacks to help you move past temptations? (And if you have any tips for getting a full night’s sleep, please share!) Share your thoughts in the comments.

15 thoughts on “Can You Wait 5 More Minutes?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Barbara Harper

    This reminds me of our childbirth class. The instructor always had a new mom from her last class come back and share her experience. The one who spoke to us said that if she wondered during labor if she would have to go on for 12 or 20 hours, she felt tired and defeated. But instead she thought, “I just have to get through this contraction.” Taking each one as it came was doable. That’s something that has stuck with me ever since. Just living five minutes at a time helps with so much. Five minutes before having seconds, before posting a reply on Facebook, etc., is so helpful. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Lauren

    And here I thought I was the only one waking up for no apparent reason after only a couple hours of sleep. Ah, the perils of midlife!

    My go-to has always been to read for a while, preferable something on the dullish side. But when I mentioned my occasional sleep issues to my doctor, she said I was training my brain to expect to read in the middle of the night. I really don’t want to believe that, but she may have a point. Maybe next time it happens, I’ll try waiting 5 minutes instead!

  3. Nancy Ruegg

    Love that nighttime journal idea, Lisa. Thank you for the link! Sometimes reciting scripture or praying works, sometimes not. Perhaps they invite too much concentration, keeping me awake. I wonder if a breath prayer would help? Think I’ll try that for five minutes the next time I can’t sleep!

  4. David

    “Wait 5 minutes” is a very good idea, which I will definitely use. 5 minutes later I am busy doing something else and the urge is forgotten.

    In an insomnia attack, I have to get up. Read, write, have a snack, … the best thing is yoga. 3am is quite a good time for a long slow session. And then my whole body is singing out for sleep.

    Perhaps any habit that says “It’s bedtime, you will be asleep soon” will be effective. Bedtime journalling has worked for me (though after 5 minutes I’m just getting started). The best scheme ever was a 1/2 hour sesh: 15 mins free writing — has to be *about* something, has to be positive (eg why I like X); 15 mins reading poetry. Both of which I love but never have time for. And having to set aside 30 mins meant I intentionally went to bed early. Will be starting this again soon as I’ve just ordered a new book of pomes.

  5. Maryleigh

    So useful! Especially about the pizza and the five minutes! LOL – but really for so many other things! I am a goal setter – and that five minutes is a goal set that would work with the way I process!

  6. Laurie

    Wow, what great advice! I need to learn to wait 5 more minutes, especially with the pizza and the email! I have trouble sleeping too – I wake up and caan’t get back to sleep. I haven’t jumped on the podcast train yet. Maybe that would be a good idea. My kids love them! Someone (maybe it was you?) suggested praying for everyone I thought about during my sleepless nights and that has been working for me. Even if I don’t fall back to sleep, I feel like I am spending my time beneficially!

  7. Michele Morin

    Praying the examen has been a lifesaver for me. The combination of working to remember my day, framing everything in gratitude, and then peacefully turning it all over to God has been good for my brain and my heart.

  8. Ginger Harrington

    Oh how I have this problem of waking up and having trouble getting back to sleep. I usually get up and read. That’s when I get a lot of the research for my writing done. I love the idea of the night journal–though I think I’m awake due to hormonal causes. Just 5 more minutes is a strategy I’m going to use!

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