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My Journey to becoming a Nobel Woman – Day 11

January 14, 2010

Scripture to Memorize:

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
Proverbs 31:12-13

Passage to Read: Psalm 3:4-6 Today’s passage tells us that when we cry out to God he will answer us.  When we lie down to sleep and wake again it will be because the Lord sustains us.  We need not fear the ten thousands because God is with us.

Guided Prayer: For today’s prayer we need to reaffirm our belief that when we cry out to God, He will hear and answer us.  We need to ask His forgiveness for all the times we’ve cried out to others instead of God.  We also need to ask His forgiveness for expecting answers from mere mortals.  How many times have you gotten upset over something and demanded an answer from someone that only God could truly answer?

Next, we need to thank God for the healing gift of a restful sleep.  Trust me on this one, sleep is essential to feel healthy and vibrant.  I went from the time my oldest was 6 until just a few years ago rarely getting a full-night’s sleep.  Why?  Well, my oldest went through some sleep issues and his not sleeping kept me from sleeping.  Today, I’m happy to report we are sleeping through the night — it has only taken 10 years but do I ever know how wonderful the gift of a restful sleep is thanks to that period! We need to trust that God will see that our sleep is sweet.  Ask God to teach you how to unwind so that you can maximize your sleep and ask Him to guide you to the correct number of hours of sleep YOU need.  God knows your needs, ask Him to show you if you need more (or less).

Release all your fears, trusting in God and His Word that says He will work all things together for your good and His Glory.  Be anxious for nothing and trust Him.

Personal:
The Proverbs 31 woman worked with eager hands.  I don’t know about you but if I’m exhausted I have a hard time being eager (even with things I enjoy).  How can I make sure I’m not exhausted?  By getting the proper amount of restful sleep.

How many of you lie awake half the night wracked with anxiety?  Do you realize that too much stress and anxiety can wreak havoc with your health (especially your adrenal glands)?  They have found that sleep deprivation is a critical factor in weakening immune systems?  Researches say the average person needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night (this means some may need more some less).  Oh, those same researches discovered that we can’t “catch up” on missed sleep by sleeping in on the weekends or taking naps.  This 7-8 hours of sleep needs to be consecutive hours and nightly!

In Psalms 4:8 it is written:  “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  Hmmm, did you notice the phrase “I will”?  That means it is a decision I make not just something that happens (though I have seen children run and run and run until they drop and fall sound asleep).

I know, now you are saying, but wait… I go to bed and end up tossing and turning — I can’t sleep, I’ve tried.  Well, Donna has some suggestions of several practical things you can do to prevent anxiety from keeping you from your much needed sleep:

  • Modify your eating habits. Eliminate caffeine, or at least cut it out after noon.  Minimize your sugar intake and eliminate all sweets and refined carbs after dinner (ooh, that one is a tough one to swallow).  She suggests that if you have to have a treat — eat it after lunch.
  • Create the right environment. The researchers discovered that the ideal sleep environment was a dark, quiet and cool room.  They also discovered that people need to turn down the lights, eliminate the cell phones/computers and even TVs in the time before bed to signal the brain it’s getting time to sleep.  Think back to the time before electricity — the sky gradually darkens and it becomes too dark to do much more than sleep.  They also recommend that you not exercise before bedtime (if you must exercise in the evening try to do it so you are done at least 2 hours before bedtime).  Your mattress should be supportive and less than 10 years old (oops, need a new one of those as mine is older).  You should wash your sheets at least weekly and reserve the bedroom for sleeping.  (No using it for arguing or bill paying.)
  • Establish a nighttime routine. Think back to when your children were small (if they aren’t now), didn’t you have a bedtime routine for them?  What happened on the nights that the routine didn’t get followed?  Did the children have a harder time falling asleep?  Well, we are the same way — a routine tells us what comes next.  A bath at night is a great way to unwind and prepare for bed.  Why?  Well, a bath typically raises the body the temperature while in it and lowers it when you get out — this drop in temperature typically tells the body it is time to rest.
  • Keep your Personal Notebook by the bed. When you start tossing and turning, reach for your notebook and jot down whatever thoughts are keeping you from falling asleep.  Now, you can forget about them until morning because they are safe and sound in your notebook.
  • Engage in positive conversations. Instead of ending the day with a conversation with your spouse that includes all the things that can and/or did go wrong, try ending it with a positive one.  If you really must discuss the things that can and/or did go wrong at the end of the day when the children are in bed, then try to do it earlier in the evening so you can end the day with an upbeat conversation.

Practical Application:
Write out your proposed bedtime ritual along with some thoughts on how following this routine will improve your life.  Now, commit to going to bed on time, every time!

I commit to going to bed at 11:00pm.  (Now, I’m going to admit this — the nights that my husband is off we tend to stay up later, but I strive to be in bed no later than midnight even then.  My husband works nights so when he is off he is attempting to be on the same schedule the boys and I are on that’s why we often end up staying up a little later on his nights off.)

Notebook: Label a second tab:  PERSONAL.  Create a page entitled EVENING ROUTINE — write your bedtime routine, including a specific bedtime.

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