“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2
Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance who worked shift work, skipped sleep, had too many activities to sleep, or joked, “Well, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” First of all that’s bad theology and second, they didn’t recognize the importance of sleep! Sleep is essential for life’s regeneration and for renewed mental health and weight control.
Even God insisted on rest: Genesis 2:2. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” A God of Balance, right?
Even in this high-tech world of computers, Kindles, iPods and cell phones, if we didn’t recharge our battery-operated devices every so often, they would eventually run out of steam. Same with our physiological electrical systems as well. In order to work properly, our bodies need recharging and sleep is how we do it. Sleep boosts our immune system, reduces stress and restores energy levels.
Our pineal gland, located in our brain, releases the hormone melatonin which monitors our sleep cycle. As we get older, our hormone levels and other systems start to decline. Thank Adam and Eve for that.
When one can’t sleep, it creates stress. We tend to toss and turn and our minds can’t relax! This produces physiological changes, increasing the risk of heart disease and a weakened immune system.
For sleep, we can take melatonin supplements but I recommend them only for a short amount of time, 1-2 weeks and here’s why: If the body is receiving hormones from pills, medication and supplements, it will basically stop creating its own hormone and begin to rely on outside sources. So be cautious about using any hormone supplement for too long a period!
Some foods naturally contain melatonin so I would highly recommend getting your supplementation naturally. Melatonin is an amazing hormone and isn’t simply for sleep. It’s powerful benefits include antioxidants, cancer & heart disease fighters and anti-aging properties as well.
Here a list of items to incorporate into your diet to get a good night’s sleep:
- Cherries! It’s cherry season and this wonderfully delicious fruit contains a great deal of natural melatonin. Try consuming a handful of cherries about an hour before bedtime.
- Having a small bowl of magnesium rich cereal has been known to help some people fall asleep at night.
- Tryptophan,a calming amino acid found in milk and turkey, is a solution too.
- Black and other beans, bananas, dark green vegetables contain a lot of magnesium which relaxes the body.
- Salmon, (also chicken, wheat bran, peanuts, apricots) helps convert vitamins B3 and B6 ( found in bananas, rice, shrimp, carrots) into melatonin.
- Add oats, sweet corn, tomatoes, barley, chicken broth, avocados to your diet.
- Herbs like lavender, lemon balm, juniper or passion-flower will produce a soothing relaxation to your bath water.
- Having a cup of chamomile or Sleepy Time tea in the evening has seen results as well.
Sometimes our bodies can’t rest because we have too much on our minds. So have a piece of paper beside the bed, write down your anxious thoughts and get to them in the morning! Best of all, when you can’t rest; pray, count your blessings or sing a hymn in your head and it’s amazing how quickly you’ll fall under His protection and sleep like a baby!