Yesterday's winner of It's no Secret is Denise J. Congrats, Densise, please send me your address.
Here's two more tips to help us get quality sleep. These are well-known, but often ignored.
Control the lighting. Our bodies are designed to respond to the setting of the sun by slowing down and resting. Instead we turn on bright lights and stare into lit screens for hours after dark.
As the evening wears on, dim the lighting. Put the computer away an hour before bedtime. Turn off overhead lights and the TV. And if you read before bed, use a small lamp or book light. I've got many of the lights in my home on dimmer switches.
Need help waking up gently? Do the reverse, let it grow gradually brighter in your room. If your windows have closed curtains at night, look into an alarm clock like this one. I have something similar and it lets me set it to gradually dim until it goes out at night, then it gets gradually brighter before hitting full-on at my set wake time. I like that much better than a jolting buzzing alarm. (bare windows have the same affect)
Relaxing Sounds. Play relaxing music in your bedroom. I have a small stereo in mine that holds 2 CDs. It will play one, the other, or both back to back and then cut off. I switch out the CDs every few weeks but most of my favorites have ocean sounds. The sound of water and waves is research-proven to induce relaxation.
Lots of people sleep with a fan on for white noise to quiet their mind. I have a ceiling fan that's on all but the coldest of nights.
Note, sleeping with the TV on is not quite the same. Unlike the constant rythmic sound of a fan whirrling or waves rolling, the sound levels on TV shows and commericals rise and fall. So do the light levels in the room when your TV is on. While you may remain asleep through that, your body is often registering those changes and your rest may not be as deep.
There are places online to find soothing sounds. Need to generate some white noise? Try simplynoise.com. Need help falling asleep? Pzizz is an interesting concept to check out.
Bottom line: Unless we have very young children in the home waking us, it's probably in our power to get better rest. We’ve just got to make it a priority and stop giving it last place on our list. It really comes first as the beginning of the day.
It helps to recognize that rest is God’s gift to us – one through which we can give honor back to Him.
Need more convincing? Want to develop of theology of sleep? Try this article.
Sweet dreams tonight.