As we continued on a Psalms of Ascent series, Pastor Craig shared a highly practical message with us. Here’s the recap he posted on his blog.
It’s no secret that being tired can lead to a lot of not-so-nice consequences. Everything from automobile crashes, to poor work performance, to foot-in-mouth statements, to giving in to temptations, to health issues are all traced back to not getting enough peaceful sleep.
But did you know that sweet sleep is something God wants to give you?
Psalm 127 says, “God grants sleep to those He loves.” Guess what? God loves you, and wants you to have a peaceful night’s sleep!
Here are some benefits to getting solid sack time:
- Muscles are repaired—the body “turns off” muscles during sleep so they can repair themselves.
- The hormone leptin, that regulates your appetite, is adjusted.
- Your blood pressure is lowered.
- Your heart rate is lowered.
- The energy-producing cells we all need are restocked.
- Your immune system is re-energized.
- Memories are consolidated from short-term memory banks to long-term memories.
- The hormones that allow you to concentrate are replenished.
- Your “database” of decision-making options is re-calibrated.
- Bottom line—you get healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
All of this God wants to give to those He loves. “God loves me, so I’m going to sleep peacefully tonight!”
The problem is we often sabotage God’s blessing of sweet sleep by our own poor decisions during the day. So here are seven things you can do to cooperate with God’s blessing of sleep:
- Reduce stress. Stress causes your body to release cortisol, which prepares your body for fight-or-flight. This means when you’re trying to quiet down for the night, your body is still screaming, “Go, go go!” Stress is mainly triggered by worrying over things outside of our control, so check out what Jesus said to us about not worrying—Matthew 6:25-34.
- Reduce late-day caffeine. Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, so if you are pouring it into your body late in the date, you might fall into bed exhausted but the caffeine is keeping your brain buzzing. As a result, you don’t have the normal deep sleep patterns.
- Eliminate emotional caffeine. Arguments with other people release cortisol and adrenaline in your bloodstream. If these disagreements are happening later in the day, your body is fighting against God’s plan for your tranquil sleep. So take care of any disagreements quickly (Ephesians 4:26).
- Exercise. Getting some movement into your daily routine flushes cortisol and adrenaline from your bloodstream.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time. There’s a reason God made the sun to rise and set at predictable times. Your body also functions best on a predictable schedule.
- Reduce “blue lights” close to bed time. The blue light waves of dawn tell our bodies to stop releasing melatonin, the sleepy hormone. The red light waves of dusk tell our bodies to increase melatonin so we can go to sleep. But when we’re staring into the blue light of our phones and tablets, our body is being sent a conflicting signal.
- Pray. Two great passages you can pray before bedtime are Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24. Claim those promises of sweet sleep!
God loves you. He wants to give you the blessing of peaceful sleep. If you’re going to sleep peacefully tonight, make sure you are not sabotaging what God wants to give you.