In the last video we looked at the importance of an early rise and a morning routine. The biggest obstacle to this is not getting enough sleep.
Try to view sleep positively. It’s not a necessary evil but a gracious gift from God. The Psalmist says that God gives his beloved sleep (Ps. 3:5; 4:8). He also warns that it is pointless for us to stay up way too late and get up way too early to try to improve productivity (Psalm 127:2). Sleep is a great gift from God that we should receive with gratitude.
Sleep demonstrates trust in God and his sovereignty to take care of us, our family, our business, our work, our church, and our world.
We should also listen to the truth of God as found in sleep science which has found that most men need seven and a half to eight hours a night of sleep. Less than seven or more than eight hours and we will suffer serious consequences – physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and relationally. If you doubt me, read the statistics in my book Reset.
Just as you need a morning routine if you want to work well, so you need an evening routine if you want to sleep well. Our bodies and minds love rhythm and regularity. Establishing a pattern for the last hour or two of each day will help signal to our bodies that we are heading to bed and it will help our body produce the chemicals that induce sleep. So, aim for the same bed-time each night and the same pre-sleep routine each night.
Here’s my routine. I spend the early part of the evening eating supper, leading family devotions, chatting to my wife and kids, exercising, and doing administration like accounts.
About 8.30pm I get my clothes and briefcase ready for the next day and also make my sandwich lunch for the next day. What I’m not going to do after 8.30pm: watch movies, watch sport, read politics, do email, etc. Why? Because all these things have been demonstrated to delay sleep, interrupt sleep, and shorten sleep if done too late in the evening.
About 9pm I take a light snack like yoghurt or cereal and head to bed to read a book or, more recently, listen to an audio book. I try to do something not related to my work so that I give my mind a rest and I’m not thinking about work when I go to bed. Recently I’ve been listening to audiobooks on various American Presidents.
Before sleeping, my wife and I pray individually and then together, and we’re trying to get the light off for about 10-10.15pm. That allows me to get seven-and-a-half hours of sleep a night.
Do not use your phone as an alarm. That will only encourage you to check it last thing at night, first thing in the morning, and even through the night. Invest in a cheap digital alarm clock and give yourself some peace.
Action: Get a Fitbit
One of the best purchases I’ve made recently is a Fitbit (it cost about $150). Among other things it gives me a factual undeniable daily record of how long I slept. It also breaks it down into percentages of REM sleep, deep sleep, and light sleep. That breakdown almost always reflects whether I followed my pre-sleep routine or not. It’s also a fairly accurate indicator of my underlying anxiety levels.
You might not need a reminder on your wrist like I do, but whatever you do, find a way of getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night and of improving the quality of sleep by following an evening routine.
Real men receive God’s gift of sleep.
- What are your basic beliefs about sleep? How does Psalm 3:5, 4:8, and 127:2 correct and change these beliefs?
- What does your sleep say about your trust in God’s sovereignty?
- What can you do to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep?
50 Good Reasons to Sleep Longer
10 Reasons Why We’re Sleeping so Badly
A Biblical Theology of Sleep
God to Sleep, God is Awake
Do You Sleep Less than Jesus?
And So To Bed: A Biblical View of Sleep (Book)