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FIRST-PERSON: Restful holidays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–During the holidays, sleep and rest seem to be rare treats. The extra holiday activities and commitments added to the everyday schedule of life eat into the hours that most of us allot for sleep.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke researches the impact of sleep on every area of life. According to their studies, sleep is a vital activity necessary for good health. A healthy amount of sleep for the average adult is seven to eight hours a night.

If you choose to deprive your body of this necessary sleep, the loss will catch up to you with drowsiness, decreased resistance to illness, lack of concentration and mood swings. You may find that your relationships are negatively impacted, you are less able to make decisions and your emotions are erratic and often unpredictable. The lack of sleep takes a toll on every area of your life.

Consider these tips to help you get the most rest out of your sleep time:

1) Release the worries that occupy your mind. Worrying about your circumstances will rob you of the sleep and rest that you need to function. Believe God to sustain you and meet your needs. 1 Peter 5:7 promises, “Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

2) Keep a notebook with you to make a list of things that need to be accomplished. If you remember an item you need from the grocery store, add it to the list. Keep a family calendar of all activities so you can plan and prepare for these events.

How will this help your sleep? As you write items on your list you are confident these things are not forgotten and you will rest more soundly. Keep the notebook beside your bed so when you think of something in the middle of the night you can put it on the list and continue your rest.

3) Prepare your mind to rest. Instead of staying up late to watch the news or an intense drama on TV, turn the TV off and calm your mind with a more relaxing task. Read passages from the Psalms or other types of poetry that will calm your soul and mind. Listen to worship music. Sit in silence and pray.

4) Take a warm bath or shower. The heat of the water will relax you and prepare you for sleep.

5) Limit or avoid caffeine in the evening. Caffeine is a stimulant that will keep you awake. Caffeine is found in colas, coffee and chocolate.

6) Re-think your thoughts. Instead of counting sheep to get to sleep, try counting your blessings. Begin to think of the many ways that God has blessed you and thank him in your thoughts.

7) Establish nightly routines before you go to bed. This will consciously signal your body to slow down and begin to relax. Your routine can involve any of the suggestions above.

When you get enough rest, you are better prepared to handle the tasks of the next day without fatigue. Enough rest will benefit you and those around you because your attitude will be better.

Even Jesus understood the value of sleep and rest. Several times the Scriptures record Jesus sleeping (Mark 4:38) or just waking up (Mark 1:35). Jesus knew the demands of ministry required him to be at his very best, and that required rest.

Give yourself the gift of enough rest this holiday season. This free gift is beneficial to your health and to those around you.
For more information about wellness and health issues, check out www.fit4.com.

    About the Author

  • Branda Polk