…truly he gives sleep to those he loves… Psalm 127:2b
When you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be pleasant… Proverbs 3:24
All scriptures ISV
As a Christian, sleep is yours for the taking—assuming, of course, that it’s time to sleep!
There is only one acceptable reason for a Christian to be unable to sleep when it is time to sleep. That single reason would be if it was God Himself keeping you awake—either to tell you or show you something, or calling on you to pray or intercede for someone about something, or He is keeping you awake to take care of something over which you have been assigned stewardship.
…And if it is indeed God who is keeping you awake, and you are being obedient to His call, then you can rightfully expect not to be exhausted or distressed or harmed as a result. (Check out Isaiah 40:31.)
The thing is, that’s rarely the case. The vast majority of Christians tend to be just like everyone else in the world in this regard, and that just shouldn’t be.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems. (And that’s an old study — it’s worse now.)
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 3 million cases of insomnia are reported every year in the U.S., and over two thirds of persons with sleep disorders have generally poor health as well. The second statement obviously presents a chicken and egg situation — is the poor health the result of the sleep disorder, or vice versa? The truth is, regardless of how it all started, the two conditions feed on each other.
But sleep can be yours.
It should be yours.
It is yours, for the taking.
You can’t overstate the importance of doing everything you can to create the best possible sleep inducing environment, especially if you’re having trouble in that department. Arguably, the four most important environmental factors affecting your sleep are light, temperature, your bed and pillow, and sound. Everyone sleeps better in the dark. If you don’t have a dark environment to sleep in, you can always use eyeshades. They’re cheap and easy to obtain. You should do everything you can to keep your bedroom and a temperature conducive to good sleep, which varies from person to person but is generally a little cooler than you would want it during the day. With the rarest of exceptions, you’re better off with the air little cooler and using a blanket. That can get expensive during the summer in many places, but do the best you can. You should have the best bed and pillow(s) that you can afford, (and paying a boatload of money isn’t always the answer. More on that later.)
The wild card in all of this is the sonic environment — the sounds around you. Unless you’re one of those people who could sleep through World War III, the only way to overcome that obstacle is by masking the sounds that are either keeping you awake or waking you up after you do go to sleep, and that’s where we can help in a big way.
There are clearly a number of things that you shouldn’t do if you either want to sleep or are having trouble sleeping. Almost everybody knows what they are — avoid caffeine, especially at night, don’t eat too close to bedtime, and a host of other things that are fairly simple to deal with. (We’ll give you more suggestions later.)