YES, GO TO SLEEP!
By John Blake, M.A.
Have you ever looked forward to an exciting day and knew you needed a good nights sleep, but you could not go to sleep? The harder you tried to go to sleep, the more frustrated and wide-awake you were?
During sleep the body slows down. The heart works slower, the body has time to re-build. The carbon dioxide (a waste gas you breathe out) level goes up a little in your blood. Hopefully, your stomach also has a rest.
All day and night your brain gives off different types of electric waves. In the deepest part of sleep, your brain gives off taller and slower waves than when you are awake. The light sleep waves are similar to the awake waves.
Sleep has several parts: Deep sleep, light sleep, and a "REM" sleep. REM sleep is very interesting because that is the time when you dream. REM means "Rapid Eye Movements". We all have rapid (fast) eye movements while we sleep. Sleep starts with light sleep and then goes into a deep sleep, then into REM sleep with fast eye movement while you dream. Then back into a deep sleep. This happens about three or four times each night.
Scientists have experimented and wakened people during their REM dream time trying to stop the eye movement. But the brain would try and make up for it later with a longer time of fast eye movement. The same thing happened when they tried to stop the deep sleep.
During sleep the brain seems to need the dream time to sort out things. Dreams can be about our childhood or things that happened that evening, etc.. There is much we do not know about sleep! But, we certainly need sleep and scientists are now finding how important sleep is for good health! Children and youth require more sleep than adults. We seem to need less sleep as we reach old age. People have different requirements in the amount of sleep they need. Some people need even more than eight hours of sleep a night. Others seem to do well on only six hours of sleep.
If you are not getting enough sleep you may:
- Go around "half asleep" and not be working at a good speed.
- Get upset easily.
- See the discouraging side of things instead of the encouraging side.
- Have little enthusiasm and look lazy.
- Get sick more easily.
WHAT IF YOU JUST CAN'T GET TO SLEEP?
- Do not get upset about not sleeping. Do not look at the clock. Decide that you are going to rest, that you are going to enjoy 'just resting', and then relax, sleep will probably come.
- A warm (but not hot) soak in the bathtub may help you get ready to sleep.
- If you want to get to sleep quickly, do not watch or do exciting things just before bedtime. Try to avoid getting into arguments or working on things that bother you a lot. Slow down before bedtime.
- Do not drink coffee, tea or chocolate and then expect to sleep. Coffee, tea, and chocolate have a stimulant that helps keep you awake. Some types of Herbal Tea are excellent to help a person relax. Hot milk can help, but is not best as a regular habit.
- Do not go to bed on a full stomach. Your stomach needs to rest and you sleep better without a lot of food in your stomach.
- Do not lie in bed worrying about all the things you should have done, or things you need to do tomorrow. Sometimes I make a written list of the things I need to make sure I don't forget tomorrow, and this helps me know I'm organized for the next day, so I don't have to worry about it now.
- Try to avoid thinking about exciting plans or serious worries. Put them in God's hand for the night and leave them there!
- Sometimes I have wakened in the night, and can't get back to sleep because of worry. A thought has helped me. I have made up my mind that God does not expect me to face the worrying problem now, so I consciously try and put it into His care, and in the morning, when I'm ready, we can work on it together. I can rest assured that God does not expect me to try and solve the problem in the night when He wants me to be sleeping and resting in Him! On several occasions, my wife has given me a neck massage, and usually that has helped put me to sleep again.
Perhaps the greatest help for sleep is to be able to "rest in the Lord". It is great to be able to put ourselves fully into God's hands for the night. Give yourself fully to Him as the Lord of your Life, trusting He will lead and care for you. Leave your problems with God. Ask God to forgive all your sins. Then we can trust God to care for us. If we fully do this, He will then not allow anything to happen to us that is not in His plan for us.
As we give our lives fully to God's control, we can always trust that God will never let anything happen to us that is not for our future good. The same as a little baby trusts its mother with confidence to sleep in her arms, so we can trust our Heavenly Father's tender loving care for us as we sleep in His care!
Try thinking about some of these promises listed below when you can't sleep!
A GOD YOU CAN TRUST AT NIGHT - AND ALL DAY!
Words cannot describe the peace and joy enjoyed by the person who takes God at His word. Trials do not disturb him. Self is crucified. Day by Day his duties may become more difficult, his temptations stronger, his trials more severe; but he does not weaken; for God give Him (Her) strength EQUAL to the need! Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our troubles! He knows us all by name....Every person is know to Jesus as if he were the only one for who Jesus died. The heartaches of everyone touches His heart. The cry for aid reaches His ear. ...He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us that we have no idea about. Those who accept the one principle of making the Service of God Supreme, will find perplexities vanish and that God opens a plain path before their feet. Our heavenly Father measures and weighs every trial that He allows to come to those who believe Him. He considers the circumstances and the strength of the one who is to stand under the proving and test of God. God never permits the temptations to be greater than He has the power ready to give us to resist.
REMEMBER... JESUS WATCHES THE TEST:
God has always tried His people in the furnace of affliction. It is in the heat of the furnace that the impurities are separated from the true gold of the Christian character. JESUS WATCHES THE TEST; HE KNOWS WHAT IS NEEDED TO PURIFY THE PRECIOUS METAL, SO IT MAY REFLECT THE BEAUTY OF HIS LOVE.
2 Corinthians 12:9 BBE1 "And he said to me, My grace is enough for you, for my power is made complete in what is feeble. Most gladly, then, will I take pride in my feeble body, so that the power of Christ may be on me."
1BBE: Bible in Basic English, University of Cambridge Press