If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
Years ago when we were in business, Cheryl and I went through a difficult season in life. We had had such success, but times got hard. Dealing with employees, cash flow, banks and trying to increase sales so we could make payroll made for many sleepless nights. It was distressing. I was frustrated. And, because I couldn’t sleep, I was less productive during the day.
I’ve grown a lot since these days – and from these days and I’ve come to believe, unless there are health reasons why you cannot, we should be able to rest at night. I wish I had known then what I know now.
Over the years, I have learned a few secrets of sleeping better each night.
Here are 7 ways to sleep more soundly each night:
Exercise during the day
Sometime during the day, make yourself physically tired. Exercise not only works the body – it frees the mind. It helps you prepare to relax. There’s a power in physical activity which cannot be ignored. I try to exercise at least 5 days per week. During the sleepless days of business I mistakenly thought I was too busy to take the time – which was foolish on my part.
Eat healthy foods in adequate quantities
I’ve learned, for example, greasy foods don’t set as well on my stomach. You’ll have your own foods which don’t make you feel as well as you could. Also, if you eat too little you’ll wake up hungry. If you eat too much you won’t settle peacefully. Find the right quantity of food and discipline yourself to eat the right amount. This usually means eating until you are satisfied, but not stuffing your stomach. And, eating early enough for food to settle. We even find walking after we eat helps us rest better. Finally, for this point, staying adequately hydrated seems to help me sleep better.
Put your day to bed
This is huge. For me it means reviewing my day and preparing for tomorrow. I spend a few minutes reflecting on what took place, what I can change and what I can’t, and then looking over my calendar for the next day. It mentally says “This day is over. A new day is coming.”
Even on weekends or when I’m out of town I keep pretty much the same schedule. Occasionally I’ll need to “catch up” on some sleep, but most of the time I’m in bed and out of bed (without ever using an alarm) at the same time each day. Once it becomes a habit it’s not so bad – even getting up early. Seriously. We moved time zones in the last few years and there was another adjustment to make. Now my goal is 7 hours sleep a night. I can tell a difference when I don’t get it.
Invest in good bedding
Don’t be cheap when it comes to your mattress or bedding. I’ve learned you get what you pay for with this expense. Shop for quality, as well as price. There are mattress experts. Rely on them.
Write it down
Journaling can be a release from the day. Share your thoughts, concerns, fears and dreams. Get them off your chest then lay them to rest. (No rhyme intended, but it works.)
End with a release to God. Regardless of how stressful the day was give your burdens to the Burden-Bearer. I’m not trying to be cruel – just factual, but if worry is keeping you awake at night, you have a faith issue bigger than a sleep issue. I certainly did in the hard business season. Remember, Gid is on His throne – even as you sleep. (If you fall asleep while praying God won’t mind. Didn’t you enjoy watching your children fall asleep?)
There will always be exceptions when you still can’t sleep – sickness, sick children, etc., but it shouldn’t last long without impacting the rest of your life. And, if necessary, see your doctor. The older I get the more I realize how important sleep is for overall health and productivity.
Try some of these and let me know how they work for you. I’m praying you learn some secrets for better sleeping.
Do you ever have trouble sleeping? What tips do you have?