According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 22% experience insomnia every, or almost every night.
That’s a lot of people staring at the ceiling or watching infomercials at 2 AM. And lack of sleep is no joke. Just a few of the effects of sleep loss include:
- Weight gain and inability to lose weight
- Impairs cognitive processes (makes you dumber)
- Reduces sex drive (well that should get your attention)
- Contributes to mood disorders (I know I’m no prize when I’m tired, but we’re talking about clinical depression and anxiety)
- Causes poor judgement (drinking Monster at midnight is awesome!)
- Accelerates the aging process (and it shows!)
- Leads to serious health problems (think heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes)
The Bible talks about sleep and rest hundreds of times. It is impossible to fulfill your daily to-do list, let alone your divine calling if your body and mind aren’t fully charged. Just like a low battery, you tend to run out of juice and perform poorly. Who can rely on anything (or anyone) with a faulty battery?
I know- you’re thinking, “I’ve heard all this and don’t like watching blender commercials at 3 AM, but what can I do? I’ve tried everything.”
I doubt it. Just as with other health concerns, people don’t want to make lasting changes to their lives. They try something a time or two and revert to the same old habits.
Here are a few simple tips:
- Walk it off. (Or run, dance, swim…) Make sure your body is as tired as your mind.
- Limit the uppers and downers. A cup of coffee in the morning may be fine but not afternoon. It might seem like booze will make you drowsy but it can really disrupt your sleep.
- Shut off your devices. While they charge up, so will you.
- Pray. Turn your overactive thoughts and worries into a conversation with God.
- Don’t nap so your body begins to really need sleep at night.
- Use good scents. Essential oils are truly helpful. Rub on a little lavender or diffuse some Peace and Calming to unwind. If you (or the person next to you) snores, peppermint oil on the schnoz is often extremely effective.
- When you can’t sleep, get out of bed and read (Bible is always a good choice) or bake or something that will keep you engaged (besides TV and social media interaction) for 30 minutes, then back in the sack for 30 minutes. Repeat until you fall asleep. It’s useless to stay in bed longing for sleep for more than 30 minutes. After a few nights of this (remember no naps!) you are probably going to be sleep-deprived enough to nod off during an episode of Homeland. This method can really reset your sleep pattern!
God wouldn’t include “sleep” and “rest” in so much of His book if it wasn’t important. Take it seriously and make the changes necessary to honor the sacred temple your body is meant to be.
Have you dealt with sleep problems? Do you have any stories or tips you could share?