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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Insomnia: The Miracle of the Mundane

   If you really study the miracles recorded in the Gospels you will quickly realize that Jesus did not use a protocol or formula. Sometimes He spoke and at His word someone was healed.  Other times he touched people to cure their disease.  On one occasion He used saliva and mixed it with dirt to cover a blind man’s eyes.  Believers sometimes have trouble believing that something is from God unless it involves the supernatural and the extraordinary.   But God can be in it—even through a natural means.  When it comes to sleep and rest, God can also use the natural and mundane—especially when it is internalized by faith.
   This graph which breaks down the causes of insomnia suggests that almost one-third of cases of insomnia are caused by poor behavioral habits.  Medicine calls this poor sleep hygiene.  In other words almost thirty percent of cases of insomnia can be relieved by healthy bedtime habits.    Perhaps there is a simple habit that God can enable you to change that can help you sleep better.  Here are some helpful sleep hygiene tips that may help you rest better. 
    1.      Establish a consistent bedtime rhythm—boring is good. 
    2.      Exercise daily—but not before bedtime.  Most studies show that people (especially women) who exercise in the early afternoon have better rest.
    3.      Avoid drinking a lot of fluids before bedtime (to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom). 
    4.      Do not eat right before bedtime—better to rest on an empty stomach. 
    5.      Never use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex with your spouse.   In other words, don’t do anything that would help your mind associate activity with bedtime (ie surfing the web, texting, paying bills).
    6. Avoid lights when you sleep--this stimulates your brain to wake up.

Here’s another little tidbit that may help you wake up more refreshed in the morning.  We cycle through different stages of sleep through the night that last about ninety minutes each.  If you awake during the deeper stages (REM) you can wake up tired.  If you wake to an alarm you want to time your wake up when you are cycling into the lighter stages of sleep.  Check out this clock to help you determine exactly when to go to bed:  http://sleepyti.me/wake/