Everyone knows that sleep is part of our daily lives. But not a lot of people are focused on the importance of sleep and the challenges that can occur when we are not consistently getting the proper amounts. This article will shed some like on this topic and give parents something to think about.
“Now, blessings light on him that first invented sleep! It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap, and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even.”
~ Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605
Maybe Don Quixote pursued all of his windmills because he failed to get a good night’s sleep? Even students today hear the story and laugh about the man who rode his horse attacking windmills without fully understanding him. Sleep is a funny thing. When it comes our time, we all want it and some even beg for it and yet it still escapes us. It’s actually a scientific known fact that when we go without sleep for 36 to 48 hours, our brains will actually mimic the effects of someone who is legally intoxicated. However, in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives we forget just how important sleep is. We try to maximize our time by cutting out sleep. STOP!
Your body doesn’t just decide to say “I think a long nap would be nice. “When you get tired, it’s telling you that it needs time to recover and repair from all that you’ve been putting it through. As it stands, the average adult needs 7–9 hours of sleep every day. Children need more or less depending on where they are in the growth cycle. How much sleep do you need?
Negative impacts of too little sleep
Not getting enough sleep has a direct impact on your heart, your thought process, and your overall health. Here are 10 unnecessary risks you are taking when you don’t get the proper sleep. Our Maker created sleep to help your body, your mind, and your spirit heal. Choose to take care of the body God gave you. Spend time learning how to create healthy habits at bedtime for you and your children. Discuss the importance of sleep with them so they develop good habits. If your kids are having a tough time getting to sleep, there are many resources available to assist. Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing is one of the easier techniques to learn and teach your children. Muscular relaxation; where you tighten and then release certain muscle groups is another.
Healthy Sleeping Habits
Following are a few healthy habits to help you combat insomnia:
- Stop consuming caffeine by mid-day. Reach for an apple as an afternoon pick me up instead of a soda or cup of coffee.
- Turn all electronics off an hour before bedtime. The glow from the screen suppresses melatonin. Sleep.com lays it out in Challenging Ways Technology Affects Your Sleep.
- Create a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine. It helped when your mom did it for you, it helps your kids when you do it for them, so why wouldn’t it help you too? By creating a schedule, it alerts your brain to environmental triggers that say “hey, it’s time to shut down and sleep now.”
- For additional tips visit Sleep Foundation Organization
When You Can’t Sleep
Life is hard. Stress about the past and worry about the future seem to make their appearance most often in the darkness of night. Here’s one tip that has been of significant help to me. On a notecard beside my bed I wrote out Psalm 46. Whenever my eyes refuse to shut, whenever the past makes its ugly appearance or the future screams for attention, I pick up these verses and speak them into the darkness. God tells me to be still because He’s got this.
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolation he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”