‘In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.’
‘I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
At this I awoke and looked around.
My sleep had been pleasant to me.’
Sleep is God’s gift to renew us each day. How was your sleep last night? Did you awaken this morning refreshed ready to face a new day? A good night of sleep is good for our physical health and mental wellbeing.
For some, there will be times when the pressures and demands of life bring sleepless nights, and there are various medical conditions and other things that can interfere with our sleep. However, the vast majority of us may not get sufficient sleep due to lifestyle choices.
The latest research on sleep suggests that most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. There is evidence that getting less than 6 hours sleep has long term health consequences.
Good sleep can be helped with good habits around sleep. Thinking about what might help us improve the quality and amount we sleep is something we can all do. Here are some tips that could help:
1. Habits around going to bed at the same time each night
- Have a consistent routine in the evening in the lead up to going to bed and stick to it – for example, you clean your teeth, put on your pyjamas and head for bed – this will mentally reinforce that it’s time for bed
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each day – even on weekends. This will reinforce your body’s sleep cycle
- Ensure that your bedtime/sleep routine allows you to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
2. Habits around winding down before bed
- Begin winding down after your day approximately 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime
- Turn your devices to Sleep mode or do not disturb an hour before bed
- Think about things that help you relax and build some of these activities into your winding down schedule. For example:
- A warm bath or shower – water can help you relax
- Gentle stretches to help your muscles relax
- Listen to some soothing music
- Reading a book
If you want help and a structure for building small habits into your life, you will find our online course Press On: Building resilience and mental wellbeing enormously helpful and practical.