Rest and recovery is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. So how can we improve the quality of our sleep and get more Vitamin Zzz? Here are a dozen ways to rest easier at night:
1) Don’t sleep too much during the day.
Solomon points out that one of the problems of the habitually lazy person is he is getting far too much sleep while the sun is up.
Proverbs 6:9-11: “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”
2) Get more active during the day.
Move more. Get some exercise. Find something productive to do. Break a sweat!
Ecclesiastes 5:12: “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.”
3) Unplug at bedtime.
Yes, this means that when it’s time for sleep, set down the smartphone or the tablet. Aside from the lighting, the over-sensitization will made it more difficult to relax. Notice how Paul urges a transition to a quieter lifestyle:
1 Thessalonians 4:11: “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you”
2 Thessalonians 3:12: “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”
4) Get ready for the next day, then put it away.
The verse from the earlier point about working hard ends with pointing out what can interrupt sleep – preoccupation with all that needs to be done – Ecclesiastes 5:12: “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.”
The last part of that verse could be referring to how greed can be infectious and disrupting (see I Tim. 6:6-10). But it also, in its best light, points out the heavier burdens of those who are in charge of a lot of responsibilities. If that’s the case, prepare for what’s important for the next day, then put it aside and get some rest.
5) Jot down anything that is on your mind that is Urgent or Important.
Can’t you identify with this explanation for how a soldier lost a prisoner: 1 Kings 20:40a: “And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”
Our restlessness could be because there was something we needed to do or remember to do, and we feel as if we’ve forgotten it.
Develop your own system for keeping track of what needs attention. When it occurs to you, “I’ve got to remember to….” Or, “I need to pick up….” Or you catch yourself telling someone, “Don’t let me forget too…..” THOSE are probably the moments when you should add that item to a list or calendar that you use to keep track of all those urgent or important matters. Write it out, put it down, and get some rest.
6) Listen to music.
This worked for King Saul in the Old Testament:
1 Samuel 16:15-16: “And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.”
7) Pray and meditate.
Prayer is when we say something to God; meditation is when we think about what God has said to us.
Psalm 4:8: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
8) How’s your diet?
It is well-documented that caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine interfere with nightly sleep. For example: Six Ways Coffee, Cigarettes, and Booze Can Affect Your Sleep
Take care of the temple (I Cor. 6:19).
9) Keep a clear conscience.
If regret or remorse is gnawing at your spirit, take steps to clear up your conscience about the matter.
Isaiah 48:22: “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”
10) Be a congruent Christian. Live out what you know to be right.
Don’t try to lead a double life. Let your lifestyle be consistent with what you truly believe and know to be right. When we’re doing the good and right thing for you and me and others, for now and the future, we can rest easier:
Proverbs 3:21, 24: “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:… When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”
11) Count your blessings.
Counting sheep? Maybe. Reflecting on all the good and joyful things from the day that have passed through your life? Yes!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ASV): “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.”
12) Get right with God.
All our best efforts to find rest are truly incomplete until we have found God’s love and our love for Him:
Psalm 127:2: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”