There is no doubt that many people struggle with good and healthy sleeping habits. To be sure, some of the problem (if not much of the problem) has to do with our late night use of technology. To be sure, yet again, we also need to make certain that we don’t oversimplify the problem. There are many reasons why we don’t sleep well and our chronic lack of sleep can be a good indicator that something else is going on physically or spiritually. In these cases, we need to seek more counsel from people who know more than we do.
Over and over again, I hear students say that they try to fall asleep watching Netflix. Others will try going to sleep and once they toss and turn on their bed for a short amount of time they give up and turn their phone or TV back on.
I my experience I am seeing many people who are getting an average of 4-6 hours of sleep each night while studies show that those same people should be getting an average of 8-10 hours per night. It comes as no surprise to me that many of these people are the ones who struggle with anxious thoughts, endless stress, and even lust. Part of the reason why they aren’t getting sleep is caused by their anxious thoughts, endless stress, and due dates coming up. Unfortunately, it can seem like an endless circle where stress causes lack of sleep which causes more stress which causes more lack of sleep. I have had to learn that one of the earliest questions I need to ask when counseling someone is how much sleep they have gotten in the past several weeks.
To be clear, our children’s sleeping issues come from a variety of causes. We need to be careful saying that it is a one-to-one result of “bad parenting”. Sure, there are many helpful tips that we can implement but at the end of the day it is our children who must fall asleep for themselves. There are many reasons why we can have bad sleeping habits and if these are overlooked for a long period of time then they can cause further problems down the road.
Paul tells the Romans Christians in Romans 12:1-2 that we should present ourselves as “living sacrifices”. This means that the totality of our lives (body and soul) should be given to God as our spiritual worship. This includes our sleep. We should not pride ourselves for being able to stay up all night getting work done as if we are the most productive people in the world. Neither should we pride ourselves on getting 2-4 hours of sleep and fighting through the day like nothing is wrong with us as if we are Superman or Superwoman. One of the best ways we can worship God is to lay down our heads on our pillows and trust that He is good, He is sufficient, and He will provide for us. There are many nights where we have to fight to relax. There is a reason why God made us as creatures who need to spend a third of our lives sleeping. Think about that for a moment.
The following article is one of the more helpful articles I have found that dives into this topic more while also giving helpful tips for us to sleep better and help our children sleep better. Here is an excerpt:
In the Psalms, David shows that peaceful sleep is an act of trust and a sign of humility. “I lie down and sleep,” David said, “I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (Ps 3:5–6). He also said, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8). Getting a good night’s rest shows that we know God is in control and will watch over us when we are at our most vulnerable.
Sleep is a sign of trust and humility. But it’s also a spiritual discipline. As D. A. Carson says,
Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need.
Like most spiritual disciplines, to be most effective sleep requires both a change in attitude and a change in habits. Here are a few things I learned and practical steps I’ve taken to better develop the spiritual activity of rest:
Get enough sleep — There are a number of factors that affect the quality of your rest, the most important being how long you sleep each night.
The amount of sleep a person needs varies from individual to individual and changes over the course of their lifetime. But if you’re like most people, chances are you’re not getting adequate sleep to be fully rested.
Here is the average number of hours of sleep, based on age, a person needs every day:
-6 to 13 years of age: 9 to 11 hours
-14 to 17 years of age: 8 to 10 hours
-18 to 25 years of age: 7 to 9 hours
-26 to 64 years of age: 7 to 9 hours
-65 and older: 7 to 8 hours
For the full article, click here.