Sleep is highly underrated.
College students brag about pulling all-nighters as they cram for finals and post endless arrays of selfies on Snapchat and Instagram. Party-goers slink into work with bloodshot eyes, popping handfuls of ibuprofen, telling co-workers of their all-night adventures on the town. Teenagers (and many pre-teens even) brag about sleepovers where they stay up all night playing video games and eating foods laden with high fructose corn syrup.
It amazes me how many young mothers I know complain about insomnia, but when asked if they were up all night with their babies, reply, “Oh no. She/he sleeps like an angel all through the night. I just couldn’t pull myself away from Facebook and the game I play on my phone.“
Sleep is God’s gift to us. It is good for our bodies, minds and souls. The act of sleeping literally helps restore our hearts and blood vessels. Lack of sleep significantly increases chances for getting heart disease, diabetes, stroke and myriad other potentially serious health conditions.
Like most bad habits, sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on many aspects in life. (There’s a reason it has been used as an extreme, cruel form of torture and military interrogation.)
Consequently, benefits of adequate sleep are many and far-reaching.
Many sleep-deprived people resort to chemicals and commercial medications and drugs when they are desperate a little shut-eye. I shutter to think of the long-term damage caused by such aids.
Through the years, I’ve found several natural means for promoting a good night’s sleep. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Abstain from caffeine (and heavy eating/drinking) after dinner hours.
- Drink sleep-inducing herbal teas, such as chamomile and mint, an hour or two before bedtime.
- Use pure, top quality essential oils such as lavender, orange and valerian. (Always research first, as some oils may have adverse effects on children, during pregnancy or in connection with certain health conditions.)
- In addition to using topically, place a few drops of the above mentioned oils in an aromatic diffuser at bedside.
- Never ever, ever charge cell phones, laptops, tablets or other electronic devices in the same room while you sleep. (Sometimes, making this one change is all that is needed!)
- Refrain from too much mind clutter before retiring for the night. Avoid loud, chaotic movies, music or activities. Instead, enjoy quiet reading, journaling or prayer time.
- Make sure you’ve expended enough physical energy (i.e. Get plenty of exercise!) during the day.
Basically, replacing mind-busy-ing stuff with peace-enhancing stuff is key to getting restful sleep, night after night.
If the first thing you think or say when you wake up in the morning is how tired you are or how awful you feel, you might want to give a few of these ideas a try. Sleep is meant to be a blessing that revives us and strengthens us so we can greet a new day with vigor and joyful anticipation.
A new year is just ahead. Why not make “get better sleep” a primary goal?
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.