In a recently published book on the nature of sleep I read so many ideas on the mechanics of sleep, how to get better sleep. There are many reasons why a person cannot get a good night’s sleep. The big reason is: “The ill effects of any technology on good sleep patterns”. The book had 21 strategies to sleep our way into better, health, body and success. They began with, ‘How to get into bed at the right time’. [ That author never witnessed the actual life of the average American, much less the American pastor.] The right mattress, eat the right things before bed and absolutely no technology in the 2-3 hours before bed. He may be right that all these things work but the reality of living that way, other than being a hermit with unlimited funds, is just not going to happen.
On the other hand, Dallas Willard talked about sleep in his book, “Renovation of the Heart”. He was talking about Solitude and silence being an important part of the Christian rhythm of life. “So if we really intend to submit our bodies as living sacrifices to God,” he said, “Our first step well might be to start getting enough sleep. Sleep is a good first use of solitude and silence. It is also a good indicator of how thoroughly we trust in God.”
That statement stopped me cold. There are many symptoms of lack of sleep that are rooted in physical problems but those are not what he is talking about here. Many of us have a lack of sleep because of mental anxiety. The conversations that we had, conflicts, things that we feel are out of our control. Those ‘things’ that keep us from sleep are those things we do not trust to God.
That is way too convicting.
But, when I look back at those causes of angst from a position that has some time separating me from them, that is really eye opening. I did not trust the arguments, the people, my verbal enemies, the conflict ( and on and on) to God! Psalm 4:8 – “In peace I will both lie down and sleep for thou alone, O LORD, doest make me to dwell in safety.” And that verse was penned by a fugitive, running for his life. David knew conflict and yet slept with his God at watch.
Willard added these thoughts, “If we are not rested . . . . the body [The visceral body and it’s wants, desires and cravings] moves to the center of our focus and makes its presence more strongly felt, and the tendency of its parts call out more strongly for gratification.” The lack of rest diminishes my resistance to wrongdoing and evil. If I am dieting, then when I am exhausted, I run to chocolate. Simple fix.
In conclusion, there are some life changes we can make to put ourselves into a better position to get proper sleep such as less technology, however, one of the biggest factors is giving all of the fears, woes, arguments and stresses of our lives to God. Trust God for an outcome that will will show the watching world that He does take care of those who trust Him.