Time to Recharge

"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." – Matthew 11:28

Has your cell phone battery ever died? Mine sure has. Every night I plug in my cell so that it can recharge. But if it doesn't charge long enough, its battery dies early. And a quick tricklecharge in the car doesn't seem to help at all.

Have you ever considered how much sleep for your body is like recharging your own battery? When we don't get enough sleep, we run out of charge. In his best-selling book, The Seven Pillars of Health, Dr. Don Colbert brings life-changing wisdom through revealing seven foundational pillars, one of which is the importance of sleep and rest.

God tells us in Proverbs 3:21-24 that sleep will be sweet for those who trust God and seek wisdom and discernment. And in Matthew 11:28, He tells us to come to Him for rest.

Restful, deep sleep is essential for good health. That's when our bodies repair, recover and regenerate. Sleep reduces the negative effects from stress hormones such as cortisol, while growth hormone and melatonin are released to repair and build new cells and boost our immune system.

By now, you have probably heard that seven to eight hours of sleep are required for good health. And in the case of growing kids, they actually need nine to 10. The trouble is that we are so busy, stretched and overcommitted that it seems impossible to get the sleep we need. According to the National Academy of Sleep, roughly 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related problems.

Don't be one of the statistics. Do what you must do in order to get the sleep you need. Try incorporating the following 10 tips. They will help you get enough restful, recovery sleep each night.

1. PRAY. Asking for forgiveness for your sins and casting your cares on the Lord is the starting point. It helps you clear your conscience and trust God for tomorrow. Prayer gives us the opportunity to put aside worry and trust God in all areas of life.

2. UNPLUG ALL TECHNOLOGY. For years, I thought watching TV helped me wind down from a stressful day at work, but it actually does the exact opposite. Remove the TV and computer from your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from noise and distractions.

3. DECLUTTER YOUR ROOM. As I said, your bedroom must be a sanctuary. It must be free from clutter, loose laundry and junk. Otherwise, you will never fully shut off your mind from life's chaos.

4. CREATE A COOL, DARK ENVIRONMENT. Darkness is required for the sleep hormone melatonin to be released. The darker the room, the better. And cooler temperatures help you get to deep sleep faster.

5. PLAY RELAXING SOUNDS. As you prepare for sleep, sounds of nature (e.g., the ocean or rain) can have a calming effect on your system. White noise can block out little sounds and help you relax. This can be especially helpful when you travel.

6. GET REGULAR EXERCISE. Regular exercise reduces stress that can prevent you from getting restorative sleep. Just don't do this right before bedtime. That may actually stimulate your central nervous system.

7. GO TO BED WHEN YOU'RE TIRED (and preferably by 10 p.m.). Each hour of sleep before midnight is like two hours after 12. Listen to your body. It will tell you when it needs rest.

8. LIMIT CAFFEINE. Cut it out all together or cut down on your consumption, especially within three hours of bedtime. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and prevents deep sleep.

9. GET A NEW MATTRESS. Finding the the right mattress is just as important as finding the right pair of running shoes. It can make or break your night.

10. TAKE A WARM SHOWER BEFORE BEDTIME. This helps relax your muscles and prepares your body for rest.

Getting enough sleep will improve your energy, attitude and overall health. So start making it a habit today and watch as your life improves. You will have more energy and health for the fruitful life God has promised to those who love Him!

JIMMY PAGE serves as a Vice President of Field Ministry and the National Director of the Health & Fitness ministry for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Growing up in the snow-country of Rochester, New York, he became a three-sport athlete in high school and went on to graduate with two degrees from Virginia Tech. For nearly twenty years, he has been a leader in the health and fitness industry, operating wellness facilities affiliated with Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins. Jimmy is also a certified Nike Sports Performance Coach and hosts a radio program called Fit Fridays, blending spiritual, mental, and physical health principles that promote abundant life. He and his wife, Ivelisse, started a cancer foundation called following her victory over cancer. Jimmy has coauthored four books, WisdomWalks, WisdomWalks SPORTS, PrayFit, and One Word That Will Change Your Life. Jimmy is a frequent speaker at schools, churches, camps, and retreats and a trainer for corporate, sports, and nonprofit organizations, challenging people to maximize their life and make a difference. He has a contagious enthusiasm and passion for life. As a lifelong athlete, Jimmy enjoys coaching, cycling, and triathlons. Jimmy and Ivelisse were college sweethearts, and they reside in Maryland with their four children: Jimmy, Jacob, John, and Gracie.