Step 7 Rest

Lady sleeping in a white bed.

Rest and Mental Health

Enough restful sleep is essential to mental, physical and emotional well-being.  And of course, if we are compromised in any of these areas, our spiritual health will inevitably suffer. Our bodies need this time to repair, detoxify and recuperate and our minds need the time to process events in the form of dreams. Not sleeping enough and at the right times have a hugely detrimental effect: The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that women working the night shift had a 400% higher risk of developing cancer.  According to another study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep, not sleeping a minimum of 7 hours per night leads to a decreased attention span, depressed feelings, difficulty processing ideas, increased weight gain and a compromised immune system.

Since sleep is so important, here are a few tips that will help combat insomnia and ensure better quality sleep:

  • Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, you cannot catch up on sleep.
  • Sleep gained between 9 at night and 2 in the morning is the most healing, these are the magic hours.
  • Avoid stimulants and depressants like caffeine and alcohol.
  • Set the right temperature – around 65 degrees F seems to be optimal.
  • Don’t have late or heavy suppers and avoid any high or simple carbohydrate foods.
  • Don’t drink too many fluids before bed.
  • Take part in aerobic exercise during the day.  (Interval training is the most effective)
  • Add 2 cups of epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oils to a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Make sure your Vitamin D, tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, B-6 and unsaturated fat levels are adequate.
  • Keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night – even on weekends.
  • Do not use any screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Use natural sleep supplements such as oat grass tea for nervous exhaustion, hops tea for overactive brains, red clover tea for ladies’ hormonal imbalances, and valerian, passionflower and camomile tea as general inducers of drowsiness.
  • If your job is too stressful and affecting your health, try to make a change.
  • Lie quietly for 20 minutes without changing position.  Tossing and turning wakes you up further.
  • Focus on breathing slowly and rhythmically and say:

Lord, I’m grateful for every breath I take.  I surrender to you with every breath I release.

(Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. And Ps 37:7-8 (7) Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied with [an evildoer]who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes. (8) Let go of anger, and leave rage behind. Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil.) Shorten this to:

“I am grateful” (in-breath), “I surrender” (out-breath)

  • Set aside one day each week for rest and restoration. (Ex 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”) The word “Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “day of rest” and God set the pattern for the Sabbath rest in Gen 2:2 when he ceased from His work of creation in order to rest.