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Question and Answer | Healthy and Biblical Relationship with Sleep

How can we, as Christians, develop a healthy and biblical relationship with sleep?

God’s Word provides several beautiful examples of rest, even from the beginning of creation. For example, we see God modeling rest after He created heaven and earth in seven days. “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Gen. 2:3). So, what are healthy ways to cope with insomnia? How can you maintain a good night of sleep and restoration? There’s a term called “sleep hygiene” that hints at this good balance. Just like we take care of our daily needs, brush our teeth, or eat nutritious meals, we should take steps to improve our sleep health as well. Here are a few ways to practice “sleep hygiene”:

1. Develop a sleep schedule. Set your clock to get up at the same time every day, and go to bed the same time each night. Even if you cannot sleep, use this time to rest your body. Rather than trying to make yourself sleep, use the time to reflect on your day and God’s goodness (Gen. 2:2; Josh. 1:13–15;
23:1; Matt. 11:28–30).

2. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine and turn off your electronic devices for half an hour before you sleep. Use this time for prayer or Bible reading (Ps. 146; Isa. 26:3–4).

3. Identify and reduce obstacles to sleep, for example caffeine, long naps, or excessive use of screen time before bed (Matt. 17:20).

4. Seek professional help. If insomnia persists over time or if you experience increased anxiety or depression, I would urge you to seek professional help.

Remember to seek out professional help for chronic sleep disorders with your primary doctor or licensed counselor. Finally, remember that during sleepless nights we can rely on God’s Word, especially when our souls are weary (Ex. 33:14; John 14:27; Prov. 3:24; Ps. 91:1–13; Ps.119:114).

BY Dr. Valencia Wiggins, PhD, L.P.C.

Valencia Wiggins grew up in Ohio and graduated from Wheaton College. She earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology at Wheaton Graduate School, and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Walden University. She has taught at Moody Seminary for four years. In addition, Dr. Wiggins works in private practice as a clinical psychologist. Her clinical work includes sexual abuse, trauma, grief and loss, eating disorders, family issues, depression, adolescents, and women’s issues.

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