Do you lay in bed and count sheep?
And then recount, only to find that sleep doesn’t come that easily?
Maybe after a tiring day all you want to do is rest your mind.
Instead, your mind won’t let you rest.
Sleep is a foundational pillar to health. When we have trouble sleeping, our day is harder and processes are slower. To get back to sanity, a good night’s sleep might help significantly.
If you’ve been feeling less like yourself and more like a zombie, then there might be sleep problems. Here’s a list of symptoms that might ring a bell:
What are the Symptoms of Lack of Sleep?
1. Moodiness – You don’t want to lash out at friends and family, but it can happen when a body is not fully rested.
2. Digestive upset – A good night’s sleep brings restoration to the digestive system therefore lack of sleep means the maids on the night shift did not do their job completely.
3. Memory lapses – Forgot your keys? Your phone? Your wallet? Try to catch a few more Z’s at night so you won’t lose track of your valuables as a result of sleep deprivation.
4. Mental fatigue – The vicious cycle of fatigue happens when lack of sleep causes health issues that contribute to more fatigue. Nip it in the bud with a good night’s rest. (Be sure and watch my video or listen to the podcast on insulin and cortisol – when balanced, these two hormones bring restful sleep.)
5. Weight gain – Can’t sleep, let’s eat. Too often sleepless nights lead to late-night snacking. After a while, this pattern can lead to serious weight gain.
6. ADHD in children – Studies show that many children misdiagnosed with ADHD actually are struggling with insomnia. Try to get the kiddos to bed and actually asleep to see if their focus improves.
What are the Benefits of Sleep?
A good night’s rest affects every aspect of your health. In fact, quality sleep can help every organ function better.
The first step to improving sleep quality starts before you get in bed. It starts with your after-dinner snack (don’t try to tell me you don’t have one). Make sure the amount of time between eating last and sleeping is 3 hours.
This helps the body to have enough time to repair.
The repair process is like a maid. All systems start cleaning to rid of toxins that build up during the day. Through the evening and into the morning, the digestive system, liver, kidneys, and lymph glands sweep your system clean. This delivers more beautiful skin, healthy digestion, and better mental function.
To improve this process, try to increase your fiber intake. Fiber is the toxin removal king! On the contrary, without much fiber, your body won’t get much cleansing done.
Repair, remove, refresh, and reset!
To get to these cleansing benefits, it’s important to get great sleep quality.
10 Steps to Achieve Better Sleep and a Better Life
These steps are helpful for both children and adults. In fact, children especially need regular sleep habits for their mental and physical development. If you put them to bed, but they don’t fall asleep for hours, these steps might help.
Try out these sleep tips to help you and your family get the rest they need!
1. Prioritize Sleep
Coffee cannot substitute a proper night’s sleep. The only way to get the healing benefits of sleep is to actually do it! Aim for 8 hours every night, especially in seasons of high stress.
Children, depending on their age, need 9-12 hours of sleep each day.
Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
2. Eat for Deep Sleep
Sugar and alcohol are just two examples of food that can make it hard to sleep at night. Even if you’re avoiding the trigger foods, restlessness can happen as a result of eating late at night.
3. Have a Wind-Down Time
Turn off the lights in the evening. Even your laptop or phone could be causing issues, so download apps to dim the blue light from these devices.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, lord make me dwell in safety.
4. Remove Electronics
Keep bedtime and work separate. In fact, try to remove all devices from your bedroom if you can. At least avoid phone usage in bed, which can interrupt sleep patterns.
5. Don’t Go to Bed Angry
Ephesians 4:6 teaches us to be mindful of our interactions with others. If you have bitterness in your heart, relaxing might not come as easily. Seek peace with others so your mind can be at rest in the Lord.
6. Time Your Naps
If you’re addicted to naps, it could be getting in the way of good night’s rest. Instead of cutting them out, just set a timer for 20 minutes and don’t nap past 3 pm. The body creates a sleep pressure that builds through the day and napping past 3 pm will inhibit this pressure and delay going to sleep at night.
7. Eat Healthy
Your body can’t get what it needs at night if it doesn’t get what it needs in the day. Keep a regular eating schedule. Have small proportions of limited and natural sugars.
8. Exercise Daily
Just like kids need to run around and get tired out, so do you. Make it a social activity and walk with some friends, or have some alone time to process your day. Either way, exercise is helpful for the body and mind.
9. Sleep Instead of Stress
Have you ever noticed how situations look so much better in the morning? Let your mind continue running all night long, while your body is sound asleep. The phrase “sleep on it” didn’t come from nowhere.
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds.
10. Supplement Wisely
A good multivitamin makes all the difference. Namely, getting Vitamin D and some gut healing supplements will benefit. You might even need your vitamin D levels checked. Try out Directlabs.com or requestatest.com to evaluate your levels.
Here is a video on this topic to learn more about these tips on how to sleep better:
If you would rather listen to the video content, check out this podcast episode on this topic. Listen, download, and share it with your friends who may benefit from these tips!
What About Melatonin?
After days, weeks, or months of sleepless nights, people reach for any supplement they can find.
Melatonin is often the first one people try. Yet, most people don’t realize melatonin is a synthetic hormone.
Before you attempt to add this supplement into your diet, be aware of the possible side effects or long-term health impacts.
Melatonin is popular, because it helps about 50% of people sleep. On top of this, it leaves a hangover as the body tries to complete the processing of the hormone into the morning.
On the contrary, it teaches your body not to make its own melatonin. This means you will become dependent on the supplement.
To avoid dependence, use it only once a month or once a week before hopping in bed.
Or, you can try some other options. My favorite is corn grass extract.
This extract helps your body make its own melatonin. You won’t wake up feeling sleepy from a melatonin overload. Your body will make its own with just enough for your needs.
With corn grass, falling asleep and staying asleep will be easier. You’ll even have deeper sleep and not be groggy during the day.
You’ll actually feel energized in the morning.
Try to take it before bed or in the morning if you find that works better.
A great website to buy corn grass can be found here.
How to Eat for Better Sleep
Many people suffer from a digestive issue that causes discomfort at night, especially in stressful seasons.
This can leave you laying in bed feeling uneasy.
There is relief!
Whether a short term or long term fix, avoiding certain foods might help relieve your pain.
My husband, for example, learned what caused his acid reflux. He was eating chocolate ice cream often and close to bedtime. Taking an antacid helped a little, but was only masking the symptoms.
When he realized that ice cream was the problem, he learned to eat it less and not late in the evening.
This took away the need for Prevacid!
His sleep improved because of a simple eating change.
Food Tips for Improved Sleep
- Avoid fats, onions, chocolate and spicy foods – You know your body best. Pay attention to these foods and any others that leave you feeling uncomfortable.
- Eat your largest meal at lunch – Filling up only a few hours before bedtime might stop the body from getting the best sleep. Try to make lunch your largest meal and save the lighter recipes for dinner.
- Finish eating 2-3 hours before lying down – Especially if you have acid reflux. Your body needs proper time to digest food before it moves to sleep mode. If you have issues with acid, laying down might cause heartburn.
- Have your head and shoulders elevated – I have a block of wood under the head post of my bed. The way you sit or lay in bed actually affects your sleep quality because it can relieve heartburn and also makes breathing easier for everyone.
- Sleep on your left side – Laying on the left can help with acid reflux, as well as help the digestive system and the lymph nodes.
- Avoid smoking – Smoking interrupts the sleep cycle. Especially if you smoke when you’re tired, the nicotine tells your body it’s not tired anymore (even though it is).
4 Issues that Lack of Sleep Causes
- Insufficient emotional processing – We find ourselves getting foggy-brained and easily overwhelmed. It’s hard for us to process our emotions when we haven’t gotten enough sleep
- Lower mental capacity – Lack of rest can lead to lower performance at work or ability to learn new information.
- Decreased memory – It’s hard to access our memories when our sleep quality is low.
- Less detoxing – If our bodies can’t detox properly, the toxins build up inside us and can cause dangerous inflammation
Rest is truly the body’s greatest resource for health.
And remember, quantity is just as important as quality.
Verses to Meditate On
The Bible talks about sleep because it matters to God. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. None of which can be healthy if you aren’t getting rest at night.
- Proverbs 3:24 – This verse tells us that when we have wisdom, we can sleep better! The verse says it will be “sweet” and we can fall asleep without being afraid.
- John 11:12 – The disciples knew that sleep helped people feel more refreshed. They knew that a good nap in bed could fix more issues than you might think!
- Matthew 8:24 – Jesus valued sleep, even though there was a ferocious storm. He showed his disciples how to rest in the midst of hard times.
- Proverbs 6:9 – This proverb shows the effects of sleeping too much. He calls them sluggards and warns them about the effects of unhealthy sleeping.
- Ecclesiastes 5:12 – When we work hard throughout the day, our sleep allows our bodies to rejuvenate. This verse talks about how sleep is good when we’re not lazy.
- Psalm 121:3-4 – It is good for us to sleep, but the Lord never does! He will watch us as we rest, and will give us peace when we have trouble sleeping. He cares for us!
- Matthew 11:28-30 – If we do not trust in the Lord, our sleep is not truly restful. He tells us to come to Him so that we can find peace–and sleep better because of it!
- Psalm 91:1-5 – The Lord assures us that we don’t need to fear the night. He protects us as we sleep. We rest knowing we can cast our anxieties on Him day or night.
Find Better Sleep – Your Body Will Thank You!
If you are not feeling great today – you might not be getting the rest you need!
Let your confidence in God give you some more good nights.
His design is for us to take care of our bodies. We can’t do that if we’re not getting the right amount of sleep.
Our bodies can’t repair if we lay in bed awake all night.
A good night’s sleep not only may help with everyday problems of functioning, it will help you be healthier mind, body, and spirit!