By Jimmy Page, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28
Has your cell phone battery ever died? Mine sure has. Every night I plug in my cell so that it can recharge. But if it doesn’t charge long enough, its battery dies early. And a quick trickle charge in the car doesn’t seem to help at all.
The Importance of Sleep
Have you ever considered how sleep for your body is like recharging your own battery? When we don’t get enough sleep, we run out of charge. In his best-selling book, The Seven Pillars of Health, Dr. Don Colbert brings life-changing wisdom through revealing seven foundational pillars, one of which is the importance of sleep and rest.
God tells us in Proverbs 3:21-24 that sleep will be sweet for those who trust God and seek wisdom and discernment. And in Matthew 11:28, He tells us to come to Him for rest.
Sleep Helps the Body Repair, Recover and Regenerate
Restful, deep sleep is essential for good health. That’s when our bodies repair, recover and regenerate. Sleep reduces the negative effects from stress hormones such as cortisol, while growth hormone and melatonin are released to repair and build new cells and boost our immune system.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
By now, you have probably heard that seven to eight hours of sleep are required for good health. And in the case of growing kids, they actually need nine to 10. The trouble is that we are so busy, stretched and over committed that it seems impossible to get the sleep we need. According to the National Academy of Sleep, roughly 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related problems.
Don’t be one of the statistics. Do what you must do in order to get the sleep you need. Try incorporating the following 10 tips. They will help you get enough restful, recovery sleep each night.
10 Tips for Restful Sleep
1. PRAY. Asking for forgiveness for your sins and casting your cares on the Lord is the starting point. It helps you clear your conscience and trust God for tomorrow. Prayer gives us the opportunity to put aside worry and trust God in all areas of life.
2. UNPLUG ALL TECHNOLOGY. For years, I thought watching TV helped me wind down from a stressful day at work, but it actually does the exact opposite. Remove the TV and computer from your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from noise and distractions.
3. DECLUTTER YOUR ROOM. As I said, your bedroom must be a sanctuary. It must be free from clutter, loose laundry and junk. Otherwise, you will never fully shut off your mind from life’s chaos.
4. CREATE A COOL, DARK ENVIRONMENT. Darkness is required for the sleep hormone melatonin to be released. The darker the room, the better. And cooler temperatures help you get to deep sleep faster.
5. PLAY RELAXING SOUNDS. As you prepare for sleep, sounds of nature (e.g., the ocean or rain) can have a calming effect on your system. White noise can block out little sounds and help you relax. This can be especially helpful when you travel.
6. GET REGULAR EXERCISE. Regular exer-
cise reduces stress that can prevent you from getting restorative sleep. Just don’t do this right before bedtime. That may actually stimulate your central nervous system.
7. GO TO BED WHEN YOU’RE TIRED (and preferably by 10 pm). Each hour of sleep before midnight is like getting two hours of sleep, basically supercharging your sleep! If we go to bed before midnight, we typically enter into that deep, restorative sleep and repair cycle faster. When we force ourselves to stay up late or develop patterns of going to bed several hours after dark, we confuse our bodies and it takes longer to get into that deep sleep. Listen to your body. It will tell you when it needs rest.
8. LIMIT CAFFEINE. Cut it out all together or cut down on your consumption, especially within three hours of bedtime. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and prevents deep sleep.
9. GET A NEW MATTRESS. Finding the right mattress is just as important as finding the right pair of running shoes. It can make or break your night.
10. TAKE A WARM SHOWER BEFORE
BEDTIME. This helps relax your muscles and prepares your body for rest.
Sleep Improves Energy, Attitude and Overall Health!
Getting enough sleep will improve your energy, attitude and overall health. So start making it a habit today and watch as your life improves. You will have more energy and health for the fruitful life God has promised to those who love Him!
About the Author
For nearly 20 years, Jimmy Page was involved in various leadership roles in the medical fitness industry. As the former national director of FCA’s Health and Fitness Ministry, Page now serves as one of FCA’s 12 vice presidents of field ministry and is the co-author of the books WisdomWalks, WisdomWalks SPORTS and One Word That Will Change Your Life. He and his wife, Ivelisse, reside in Reisterstown, MD with their four children.
FCA in Kansas City
Interested in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? For local ministry opportunities and events, visit Metro Kansas City FCA at kcfca.org or call (816) 892-1137 or contact the National Support Center at (816) 289-0909 or (800) 289-0909.