Friday, March 18, 2022

If You Are Sleep Deprived


BySarah Geringer 

This is what the Lord says:

Stand by the roadways and look.
Ask about the ancient paths:
Which is the way to what is good?
Then take it
and find rest for yourselves.
But they protested, “We won’t!”

Jeremiah 6:16 HCSB

Are you sleep deprived this week due to the time change? It always takes me a week to recover, and this spring is no different.

As I type these words on Thursday evening, I'm so sleep deprived my head is bobbing. The time change, bad dreams and unexpected drama have caused me to lose sleep all week. Even when I tried to nap today, the adrenaline and cortisol mixture brought on by stress kept my heart rate up, and I couldn't go back to sleep.

Many of us suffer from sleep deprivation. The CDC reports that over one-third of Americans aren't getting sufficient sleep every night. I'm sure this is due to a variety of factors, such as too much screen time, stress and overly busy schedules.

I wonder if many of us have self-induced sleep deprivation. Like the ancient Israelites, we know what we need to do to find rest, but we refuse it. This costs us much in terms of physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual health.

I'm looking closer at today's focus verse to know what to do about my sleep deprivation this week. Which is the way to what is good? What has worked since ancient times? What does God want me to do about my sleep deprivation, which has started to put up a barrier between me and him this week? Here is what is working for me this week.

If you are sleep deprived, you need to slow down. First, slow down your mind by meditating on a single verse of God's Word. This week, God has brought me back to my meditation verse of 2017, which was Isaiah 26:3. He's also reminding me to meditate on Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 46:10 before I go to bed or if I wake in the middle of the night. Slowly thinking through these verses quiets our minds and invites peace into our overworked neural pathways.

Another tip: You can also sing scripture-filled praise songs in your mind if you're too sleepy to remember a specific verse. 

Second, slow down your body. I am using breath prayers while I take deep breaths, which slow down my heart rate so I can enter a more restful state. You can get a free printable of my favorite breath prayers HERE. These simple prayers focus us on God and help our autonomous nervous systems settle down.

Third, slow down your intake. I have been reading clean novels before bed, rather than watching television, to tamp down my brain stimulation. While reading just a few pages, I find myself nodding off. I've also stopped eating or drinking at least two hours before bed to put my digestive system to rest, and this helps me settle into sleep. Slowing down your intake of anything stimulating can ease you into sleep.

It's important to remember that God cares about your body. He cares about how much sleep you get, because he wants you to be as healthy and energetic as possible for kingdom work. That's why I'm signing off now and getting ready to lay down for a little while. I don't want to stubbornly resist the rest God has promised me. I want to accept it so I can be more fruitful tomorrow and in the week ahead.

I hope these tips will help you get better rest. Enjoy your Sabbath - and you have my permission to take a nap if you need one!

Need more help for better sleep? Check out my popular posts on insomnia HERE.

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Have a blessed weekend!

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  1. I love your tips to get rest and sleep, especially the one about meditating on a verse! Thanks for sharing this very helpful post!

  2. The time change has affected me in the opposite way--I am falling asleep almost every time I get still this week. You wouldn't think losing one hour would do that, but I guess it's a matter of getting our internal clocks adjusted.

    However, I have had periods of not being able to get to sleep. It's so frustrating. You give great tips here. Sometimes I use that extended wakefulness to pray. Sometimes I'll set my audiobook timer for half an hour--that really helps me keep my thoughts from ping-ponging around, and often I am asleep before the time ends.

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips, and I'm praying your sleep gets restored soon, Barbara!

  3. Fantastic tips, Sarah! I've started reading biblical fiction novels, and they are a great way to end the day. I'm transported to ancient Israel, reminded of God's character, and fall asleep with such a sense of peace! I love every insight on this list!

    1. I love those novels too, Stacey! One of my favorites last year was Jewel of the Nile.

  4. Slow intake is a key for me. Reading before bed and trying not to eat anything after 7 PM I also take 10 mg of melatonin at bedtime.

    1. I've tried it a few's not a miracle pill, but it does help a little. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sarah, thank you for your tips. I had been feeling anxious and waking and I was led to Isaiah 43:1. I have been meditating on it and it has brought me comfort and sleep.

    1. Great idea to meditate on this powerful verse, Deborah!

  6. Sarah, thank you for your tips. I had been feeling anxious and waking and I was led to Isaiah 43:1. I have been meditating on it and it has brought me comfort and sleep.


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