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7 Easy Tips on How to Sleep Tight

Here are 7 easy tips on how to sleep better and feel more rested.

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For Christmas, I received a vacuum cleaner from my husband. But not just any vacuum cleaner. It’s a robot that vacuums the floor all by itself. Maybe you’ve seen this Roomba “iRobot” in the store. Before buying it, James asked some of our women friends if it would be taboo to buy your wife an appliance like a vacuum cleaner as a Christmas gift. They assured him that the Roomba would be a dreamy gift and I agree.

Except for one thing.

My husband programmed the Roomba to go off at 6:30 a.m. and let me tell you, that thing is noisy. Beep, beep, beep, BEEP!!! For you morning people, 6:30 a.m. is nothing, but I am not a morning person. I am a “sleep as long as possible, 7:00 a.m. is plenty early” kind of person.

So since Christmas, my morning slumber has been interrupted by a robot. Now I realize the robot is doing chores for me, so forgive me if I sound ungrateful. It’s just that I love sleep so much.

Just ask my husband. He asked what I was writing about.

“The value of sleep and rest,” I replied.

“Oh, you’re good at that,” was his sarcastic response.

Yet in the age of sleeping pills and insomnia, I take that as a compliment! According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, more than half of Americans are sometimes unable to fall or stay asleep, and about one-third of us experience sleeping problems every night or almost every night. Carol Ash, medical director of Sleep for Life, a sleep disorder treatment program in Hillsborough, New Jersey, says, “So many people are sleep deprived. We’re living in an unprecedented time of sleep debt.”

Why has sleep become so elusive to the average American?

For starters, there are those pesky physical problems. When I was pregnant with my daughter last year, I had to get up four or five times a night to go to the bathroom. Once I waddled back into bed, the baby’s kicking would start. Not to mention the indigestion; this was by far the worst offender. I heard that if your baby has a lot of hair, you’ll have some serious indigestion. Let’s just say my baby came out with dark, thick hair like Elvis and I believe that old wives tale to be true!

Now there were other times in my life when I couldn’t sleep because my brain wouldn’t turn off. For instance, lists danced in my mind before going on a road trip to Zion National Park in Utah. Things to pack for the baby, for the kids, for snacks, for entertainment in the car. I pictured what outfits I should bring since the weather could be in the high 50’s or the low 20’s depending on the time of day. My in-laws were coming and I fretted about what kinds of foods they would enjoy. I aimed to be a supermarket on wheels because my husband isn’t one to stop at a drive thru. Plus our family motto is: “Be prepared.” We needed enough food and drinks to survive a blizzard!

All these details crowded my brain and I couldn’t sleep. And if I don’t sleep, I’m not happy. And if Momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy, right? So let me share my personal #1 cure for insomnia. It involves no medication and it probably won’t cost you a dime.

I listen to podcasts or books on tape on my iPod. Instant tranquilizer. I put my earphones in and listen to something positive and soothing. Many nights it’s the Daily Audio Bible podcast. A man named Brian reads from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. He has a wonderfully rich voice and he knows how to pronounce all the hard names like Jeconiah and Shealtiel. I’m usually asleep before he gets to the New Testament reading. I also enjoy listening to Joel Osteen’s podcast because he’s so positive. My stress melts away as I listen to messages like “God’s Hand is Outstretched Toward You” and “Program Your Mind for Victory.” If I need some new sleepy time selections, I just borrow my husband’s iPod and listen to something about business or history and I’m out like a light in no time.

Before I had an iPod, if I couldn’t sleep I would launch “the secret weapon.” The secret weapon was a recording of the Bible in King James language and style on cassette. Just ten minutes of “thee’s” and “thou’s” and the peace of God would lead me into restful places!

So maybe the next time you have trouble catching your zzz’s, you can try listening to something soothing to lull you to sleep. Here are a few other sleep tips I’ve read before and found helpful:

7 Easy Tips on How to Sleep Tight[lead]1. Don’t Stare at the Clock[/lead]

If you’ve been lying in bed for more than 20 minutes and you’re still wide awake, get out of bed. Don’t do anything ambitious like clean the kitchen sink. Just move to another room and pick up a book or magazine to read until you get sleepy. Write someone a letter (not an email). Don’t watch TV or else a few hours later, you might still be glued to the tube.

[lead]2. Make a To-do List Before You Go to Bed[/lead]

If your mind is frantically racing about all the things left undone from the day, grab a pencil and paper. Write down the things you need to do. Are you worried? Write that down too. It could be something like, “I’m worried about my job interview tomorrow. Lord, please help me to do my best.”

[lead]3. Keep a Bedtime Routine[/lead]

Kids aren’t the only ones who need rituals like a bath, brushing teeth, and story time to settle down. Adults need that sense of closure as well. After you wash your face and brush your teeth, maybe you can read a brief devotional or pray with your husband before turning off the lights. Spend a little time to wind down each evening.

[lead]4. Don’t Drink Caffeine or Alcohol Late in the Day[/lead]

If I’m at a party and have a cup of regular coffee in the evening, I pay a price for it. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

[lead]5. Exercise Regularly[/lead]

When your body is healthy and fit, sleep will come naturally. If it’s been a while since you last worked out, try exercising again. Chances are you’ll sleep wonderfully because you’ll be exhausted in a good way.

[lead]6. Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary[/lead]

Decorate it in a way that pleases you. Use your bed for relaxation, not as a center for work, bill paying, or any other stressful activity.

[lead]7. Take a Sunday After Nap[/lead]

The last thing I want to extol is the virtue of a Sunday afternoon nap. I think I have enjoyed a Sunday nap ever since I was a teenager which equals about 1,200 naps to date. I don’t regret one of them! Lord knows I would be a much grouchier person without that weekly nap. Researchers say that napping improves your productivity and mood. That’s why I don’t feel guilty about snoozing in the middle of the day. I know I’ll be more productive and nice the rest of the time.

I suppose as long as I get eight hours of sleep a night and that weekly nap, I can handle being woken up by a vacuuming robot even at 6:30 in the morning!

[This article is drawn from our archives. It first appeared here on Ungrind on April 17, 2010.]

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Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com.

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When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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7 Easy Tips on How to Sleep Tight

by Arlene Pellicane time to read: 5 min
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