Yesterday we talked about the effects of exercise for improving our mood and outlook. Other factors affect our physical and emotional well-being:
2. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule – we have heard since we were old enough to remember that sleep is important. It is not just sleep itself that is important, but the consistency and the quality of sleep that is beneficial.
By maintaining a consistent sleep schedule (i.e. going to bed about the same time every evening and getting up about the same time every morning – even on weekends), you help your brain repair and regenerate itself, and replenish the chemicals which help stabilize our mood, our hormones, attention and concentration, etc.
Sleep also offers the chance to turn our concerns over to the Lord and regain His peace: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Who doesn’t want to dwell in safety?
Anxiety is often a step-child of the blues. Our thoughts turn inward and we become concerned and fearful. Yet God has offered sleep as a time of short respite. “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24).
So often, we become encumbered with our plans and to-do lists, which are only veiled attempts to control that which we have not surrendered to God. To control more, do more, achieve more, we rise early and stay up late, to the detriment of our physical and emotional being. “It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2).
Sleep is a gift from God to refresh and sustain us. “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3:5).
Will you receive his gift?
It also seems to be important to have a good sleep environment, and as I understand it, this is where many people fall short during winter.
That includes not too-warm a temperature, and neat surroundings…make the bed every morning, change the linen regularly, don’t stack the nightstand with pill bottles and ‘stuff’. For some reason those housekeeping duties are forgotten in winter…latent depression, maybe?
An automatic coffeemaker, set to have the brew going by reville, is good too. Nothing like the smell of strong coffee to help make the transition from sleep to wakefulness.
A question – don’t know if this is something you’ll be covering – I have heard that timed exposure to full-spectrum sun lamps can help a lot. True, or since discredited?