I just got off a call with a friend who is in business and does some online work, as well, and we talked about bottlenecks and decisions that need to be made to move ahead in life and ministry. He’s currently facing a bottleneck a lot of us face, especially as we get a little bit older, and that is time and energy. In fact as we get older, sometimes it’s actually the energy that becomes the bottleneck.
I can recall when I started to sense the shift where there were days I would realize I had more time than energy. That set me down a course of seeking to understand energy through the day, how to moderate it and how to strengthen it. Of course, it led me to dealing with sleep issues, which is really what I want to address right now.
The thing I want you to hear is that if you’re not sleeping well, few things should be more important in your life than getting that figured out because when you’re not sleeping well, it ripples through every area of your life. I’m not going to go into great detail of the results of that; everything from being grumpy to unproductive to health issues. It’s huge, and so we need to learn how to get a good sleep.
There are a few things I’ve discovered that play a big part in getting quality sleep, such as paying attention to what I eat and drink after lunch, and what I do after dinner in the evening in terms of the kinds of activities and entertainment. I used to work out in the evenings a bit, but I discovered if I had a good hard workout in the evening, I was just kind of buzzing a little too long and I’d have a hard time getting to sleep.
If you have an actual sleep disorder like sleep apnea or wonder if you do, I’d say get that checked out. I was having trouble sleeping and waking up multiple times to the night, so I went to a sleep clinic. They gave me a little reader to stick on my finger at night and I went home and discovered that I was having 40-45 sleep apnea episodes per hour, which effectively meant I wasn’t sleeping. And so I ultimately got a CPAP machine, a continuous positive air pressure machine, and it changed my life radically.
Some of other things we do to help us sleep better is put some magnesium lotion that my wife has figured out how to make on our feet at night. We also keep our room pretty much pitch black and lower the temperature either in the home or in the room because we just do better when it’s a little bit cooler. Most imporantly, we make sure the way we live throughout the day takes into account that we’re gonna be sleeping and want to be sleeping for a big chunk of that night.
Getting exercise earlier in the day is also important. We prefer something we like to call cortisol strolls with the idea being that the sooner in the day you get some natural light, it gets your hormones moving in the right direction. My wife could explain in more detail than I can, but as I say it gets those cortisol is marching in the right direction and sets you up for a gradual shift in your hormones that night and really does aid sleep as well.
So just a reminder and strong encouragement that if you have sleep issues to make it an area of study and prioritize finding a solution. A book we found really helpful and I’ve given out to many people is called Sleep Smarter by Sean Stevenson. One of his thoughts is that sleep is more important than diet in terms of your overall health, and I would tend to agree because our sleep really does ripple through every part of our life.
So get some sleep. Figure out how to get a good sleep and you will be amazed or maybe not so amazed. You will be grateful for how the benefits ripple through the rest of your life.