If you need help with sleeping, you’re not alone.
Good sleep has enormous benefits for our mental health, productivity and more. This video called “Sleep is your superpower” is a great overview of why it’s important. We also know that God created it for our benefit.
But despite its importance, many struggle with sleep for a variety of reasons. In this post we’re looking at how you can have a better night’s sleep. Here are our top tips for falling asleep.
1. Spend time in God’s presence
One of the best things that can help with sleeping is spending time in God’s presence.
Sleep can be difficult when we are anxious or worried but there is no better place to be in this situation than in God’s presence. Philippians 4:6 says that when we are anxious, we can present these things to God, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Whilst our circumstances may not change, God is enough to help us deal with them and give us peace in the meantime. The Holy Spirit will supernaturally give us peace and calmness if we ask for it.
One way of having regular focused time in God’s presence is using the Glorify app. Our audio devotionals, guided meditations and calming instrumental music are ideal for helping you dismiss distractions and enter God’s presence.
2. Take time away from screens
Many of us look at our phones before bed. We’re tired, it’s easily accessible and we can soon find ourselves scrolling through social media as the last thing we do at night. This can often result in poor sleep.
It’s widely acknowledged that blue light from screens can affect the quality of our sleep by reducing the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Interacting with apps that provide an endless stream of information can also overstimulate the brain when it should be winding down. This writer explored the benefits that come when we stop using our phone before bed.
So how do we break this habit? One way is to remove screens from our bedrooms or set time limits on apps to remind us to switch off. If we are using our phone for an app like Glorify or a podcast, we can make a habit of switching it off as soon as that specific item has finished.
3. Stick to a schedule
Another thing that is proven to help improve sleep is sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. This means waking up and going to sleep at similar times every day.
If you’re used to mixing it up, having intermittent lie ins or staying up late, this is going to make sleeping difficult. Younger people and students can often have varying schedules during the week. Those who work will have a consistent schedule during the week but a different one at the weekend. This inconsistency can have some negative effects.
A more consistent schedule might be difficult to stick to initially and you might find yourself struggling to go to sleep or get out of bed. The key is persistence. If you make it a rule and stick to it, eventually it will become more normal, and your body will acclimatize to the change.
4. Think about food and drink
What we eat and drink can also have an impact on the quality of our sleep. It may be obvious but drinking too much caffeine during the day, especially nearer bedtime, will overstimulate our nervous system and make it a lot more difficult to sleep. Even if we think we can sleep after having caffeine, it’s probably not going to be the best sleep.
Alcohol can also have a negative effect on our sleep. Studies have shown that it can disrupt and alter our natural rhythm that prepares us for sleep. The main thing is to keep an eye on how much we are having and if we are really struggling, consider cutting it out completely.
When we eat also matters. Eating too soon before bed can disrupt our sleep so it’s best to try and leave a few hours before sleeping to give the food time to digest.
5. Create a restful environment
Something else that is key to a good night’s rest is the environment we are in. Where we sleep should be a safe space that we feel comfortable in.
This looks like different things for different people, but a stable temperature and a comfy bed are universal needs. As far as temperature goes, having our rooms a bit cooler is not a bad idea for most people. Our bodies naturally cool during sleep so the heat we need will be provided by the duvet or quilt we’re using.
We may want to change the light levels in our rooms too and see if there’s anything we can do to limit noise. That said, a bit of background white noise can help some people get to sleep. Whatever your preference, look at adjusting your surroundings to see if it helps.
6. Seek medical help
It’s possible that the issue can’t be solved by simple life hacks. Some people unfortunately do have a form of sleeping disorder which can be treated with medication.
Others may benefit from therapy or physiological examinations to try and identify and fix mental, neurological or physical conditions that prevent you from having good sleep.
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to do something about it. God has given us tools and expertise to help us in our times of need. Sometimes professional help is what’s needed to overcome difficulty in our lives.
Some other ideas to help us sleep
There are other things we may want to consider. A good exercise routine is bound to make us sleep better, although it’s best not to do it before bed. Reading a book before bed is helpful because it gives us something to wind down with that isn’t a screen. Plus, depending on what we’re reading, we may find ourselves nodding off pretty quickly!
Whatever you try, know that God is always with you. Psalm 139 has some great promises including “You know when I sit and when I rise” and “You hem me in behind and before”. These should give us comfort while we rest.
Anything that is bothering us or keeping us from sleep is something we can overcome with God’s help. We hope the ideas above are helpful in your pursuit of better sleep.