Get the Sleep Your Family Needs
- Monday, May 09, 2011
Help your children manage their schedule so they sleep well. Work with your children’s school teachers to develop the best plan to manage their homework, limit their after-school activities, and make sure that your kids turn off their cell phones and TV sets well before bedtime so their brains won’t be over-stimulated when it’s time for them to go to sleep.
Work with your spouse to develop good sleeping habits together. Resolve arguments before bedtime, synchronize the time you both go to bed and wake up (as much as possible), and compromise on differences about how to make your bedroom a good environment for sleep (such as the temperature and the details of your bed, pillows, and blankets).
Go easy on sleeping pills. Try to avoid sleeping pills whenever possible. The artificial sleep that pills induce doesn’t give your brain the best quality of sleep that it gets naturally (in which it reorganizes itself to function at its best). Many sleeping pills can become habit-forming, training your brain to rely on them and preventing you from getting good natural sleep again. Instead of sleeping pills, try drinking warm milk before going to bed or after waking up during the night, since the lactic acid inside milk releases a chemical when warmed that triggers sleep naturally.
Sleep more to prepare for times when you must sleep less. When you know that you’ll have to lose sleep for a while (such as when crossing time zones when traveling), sleep as much as you can beforehand so your body will better be able to handle the temporary sleep deprivation.
Calm your mind through the peace that Jesus gives. Before going to sleep, remind yourself of the reality that Jesus is with you, and ask Him to give you the peace you need to sleep well. In prayer, express your gratitude for the blessings He has given you, let go of whatever grudges you’ve been carrying against people who have hurt you, and express your love for Jesus while enjoying His love for you. Breathe deeply, and as you exhale, imagine yourself letting go of all of your concerns and trusting Jesus to deal with them while you sleep.
Adapted from Sleep: It Does a Family Good, copyright 2010 by Dr. Archibald D. Hart. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill., www.tyndale.com.
Dr. Archibald D. Hart, a former dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, trained as a clinical psychologist in his native South Africa. Dr. Hart is now retired from full-time teaching but continues to teach two courses in psychology, as well as in the doctor of ministry program. His physiological lab research continues to examine issues of stress, depression, and anxiety. He and his wife, Kathleen, are sought after by church groups around the world to speak and conduct workshops on marriage, stress management, emotions, divorce, the hazards of ministry, and sexual behavior. Dr. Hart has published 26 books, including Stressed or Depressed(written in 2005 with daughter Dr. Catherine Weber). Dr. Hart and his wife have three daughters, four grandsons, and three granddaughters. You can visit his website at: www.hartinstiute.com.
Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor. You can visit her website at: http://whitneyhopler.naiwe.com/.
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