Do you sleep well?

Are you getting enough sleep? I’m hearing “No!” to those questions a lot. Then there are others that say “Sleep is for the weak!” That’s foolish. Only God doesn’t need to sleep (Psalm 121:4). A Lancet study showed that a lack of sleep has the same effect as being over the drink drive limit We need a rhythm of work, rest and play to keep the doctor away! When I’m not getting enough sleep, I can’t concentrate well, I’m definitely more grumpy (and that doesn’t bless my family), I’m less creative and I’m less generous. Sleep is important. Getting the right amount is important.

Here’s some Scriptures that are so helpful around the issue of sleeping well…

Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” – I was given that as an insomnia suffering child and have declared it as a promise many a night to help me sleep.

Proverbs 3:24 “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet

Jeremiah 31:25-26 “For I will satisfy the weary soul and every languishing soul I will replenish. At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.”

Ecclesiastes 5:12″Sweet is the sleep of a labourer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep” – It’s so hard to get to sleep after a big late night meal!

Too much sleep and lie-ins that are needed because of poor routines are a bad thing in Scripture!

Proverbs 6:9 “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man.”

How can we sleep better?

Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening –  caffeine is a stimulant and so is not conducive to getting to sleep. In the UK many of us have a hot milky drink to help us sleep. Interestingly my Italian uncle-in-law refuses to drink a cappuccino in the afternoon, as he doesn’t want undigested milk in his stomach when he goes to bed! It’s the caffeine not the milk Uncle David!!!

No screens an hour before bed. Stop checking your phone – the light on the screen reaching your eyes intensely is tricking your brain in to thinking it is daytime. Dim the lights and read a book (and not a tense thriller that gets your brain working) and  NO screens!

Exercise earlier. Don’t go to the gym just before bed. All that adrenaline is coursing through your bloodstream keeping you awake. 3 hours before bed is about right!

Routine – routines are great. Going to bed slightly earlier means you can get up earlier and there are many studies that show more productive people are earlier risers. Going to bed at roughly the same time every night is a helpful routine to get into. Michael Hyatt has done a great blog on becoming a morning person

Notepad for thoughts – Having a pen and paper means you can jot down any thoughts that come to you while you are trying to get to sleep. You can then not dwell on them. I heard someone say recently – sleep like a Calvinist, work like an Arminian! What they meant is sleep well because God is in control, work hard because God wants to use you as you abide in him! Worrying doesn’t help us get to sleep, so jot down that thing you are pondering over and forget it until morning.

Notebook for dreams – God loves to speak to us! It is our inheritance to hear God’s voice (John 10:27) and the Spirit loves to speak to us in our dreams (Acts 2:17). There are lots of types of dreams from eating too much cheese, to dreams flushing out the dross of the day, to demonic dreams to scare us to God speaking! I have found a youtube video series by Autumn Mann so helpful. Charles Goll’s book Dream Language was also brilliant.

There are many other helpful factors like darkness, room temperature that will help us sleep better.

Lastly pray for going to bed – claim the promise of Psalm 4:8 and let your dreams be sweet and from the Lord.

Over to you, what has helped you sleep better?

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