Sleep in Peace

To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.

Psalm 3: 4 – 6

Thank you for the healing gift of restful sleep.  As I trust in you, my sleep will be sweet.  Holy Spirit, I invite you to take charge of my sleep patterns.  Teach me how to unwind so I can maximize my sleep, and guide me to the correct number of hours for sleep. Lord, I release all fear, knowing you are the only true and living God, and you will work all things together for my good, for I love you and have been called according to your purpose.This knowledge alone frees me to release my anxiety and to sleep in peace.  I give it all to you because I trust you.  Thank you for being so trustworthy.  Amen.

The Proverbs 31 woman worked with eager hands, not exhausted ones.  Although the passage tells us she did indeed burn the midnight oil when the occasion demanded it, her ability to consistently perform at a high level would have required the right amount of sound sleep.  Tomorrow we’re going to talk about the importance of waking up and jumping starting your  day.  But before we do, we have to look at one of the major reasons people don’t get a great start each day.  They don’t sleep well at night.

Insomnia is now an epidemic in America.  Too many of us lie awake half the night,  wracked with anxiety.  If you think that doesn’t take a toll on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, think again.  Sleep deprivation is a critical factor in weakening our immune system and making us vulnerable to a broad range of ailments.  Researchers indicate that people need seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night.  For the record, research also proves that “catching up” on missed sleep doesn’t work.

There are several practical things you can do to prevent anxiety from robbing you of needed sleep.

Modify your eating habits. Ideally, you should eliminate caffeine altogether. At the very least, stop consuming caffeine by noon. You should minimize your sugar intake and eliminate all sweets and refined carbohydrates after dinner.  If you must have a treat, have it at lunch rather than dinner.

Create the right environment.  The ideal sleep atmosphere is dark, quiet, and cool.Several hours before bed, turn down the lights in your house to signal that sleep time is approaching.  It’s better not to exercise at night, particularly within two hours of bedtime. Your mattress should be supportive and less than ten years old.  For maximum health and comfort, be sure to wash your linens weekly. Use your bedroom for sleep only; do not pay the bills or operate a home business from a desk next to your bed.  Having those distractions so close to your pillow will surely interrupt your sleep.

Establish a nighttime routine.  Find a way to unwind.  Take a bath, read to your children, read a devotional, review your Scripture verses, drink a cup of hot lemon water, or do something else relaxing. The important thing is routine.  Do the same thing every night.  Always end your routine by getting into bed at the exact same time.  The routine cues your mind and body that sleep time is coming.  Make sure your nighttime routine excludes television.  Watching television in bed is one of the leading predictors of insomnia.  If you have a TV in your bedroom, you may want to consider moving it.

Engage in positive conversation. Many couples make the mistake of complaining about the day or disputing about the bills after the children are in bed at night.

You can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep by improving your diet, establishing a nightly routine,turning your concerns into prayers and choosing to think and talk about what’s right in the world rather than what’s wrong.  I promise you’ll see improvements in your spiritual, mental, and emotional, and physical health.  As a result, you’ll make better decisions, and be able to work with eager hands throughout the day.

Affirmation:  I lie down and sleep in peace.

Write out a proposed bedtime ritual along with some thoughts on how following this routine will improve your life. Now, go to bed on time, today and everyday!

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