Important Pillars of Whole Health: Sleep and Rest

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these, I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when the day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.”  (Max Lucado)

Most people do not know that sleep is as important as nutrition.  Part of being fearfully (with great awe) and wonderfully made is our circadian rhythms. These rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. They have a significant influence on our health, such as hormone release, eating habits, digestion, body temperature, and mental functions. 

Rest is individualized and can look different for everyone. However, it is also vital for a healthier immune system, reduced stress, increased concentration, and improved mood and metabolism. 

“The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowds. He will not allow us quietness.” Elisabeth Elliot

Our culture and lifestyle have impacted our ability to get quality rest and sleep. Often seen as an inconvenience to our schedule, they should take a higher level of priority in our day. God has given us these functions for a purpose. He wants us healthy! Although sleep is one of the most obvious forms of rest, health professionals identify seven types of rest that can contribute to your health: physical rest, mental rest, social rest, creative rest, emotional rest, sensory rest, and spiritual rest.  Are you getting rest in all or most of these areas?

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” Ps 23:1-3

Focusing on sleep comes easier for some than others.  Here are some helpful tips for good sleep hygiene:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake time, even on the weekend.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime (e.g., avoid bright lights and excitement)
  3. Avoid long naps in the afternoons if you have trouble sleeping at night (this may depend on any medical condition you have – consult your doctor)
  4. Exercise daily. Speak to your medical team about the appropriate amount and type of exercise for you.
  5. Evaluate your room. Keep your room cool (60-67), free of noise that disturbs you, and free of bright lights.  
  6. Sleep on a comfortable bed and pillow (free of allergens)
  7. Avoid technology with bright lights (blue light) in the evening before bed. This might mean reading from a book rather than a tablet or phone. Equally, when able, get some sunlight during the morning. 
  8. Avoid caffeine after 2:00 or 3:00 pm. Avoid alcohol and heavy meals in the evening. 
  9. Wind down. Spend the last hour before bedtime doing a calm activity. Some references suggest not doing strenuous exercise for 3 hours or less before bed.
  10. For some people, if you can’t sleep, you can try going into another room and doing something relaxing until you feel tired. However, we are unique, and this may wake some people up further!

Referenced from the Integrative Pain and Science Institute

                              “Be still and know that I am God! “Psm 46:10

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” Psm 3:5

Please note that the above information is for education purposes only and not as evaluation and treatment specific to you. Consult your medical team if you have trouble sleeping.

The Wellness Resource Team wishes to thank all those who volunteered at the Wellness Festival last month. Thank you for your time!