Sleep Tips for the Weary Soul


It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. —Psalm 127:2 NLT

There was a time in my life when sleep did not come easily. I would lie down, feeling pretty much exhausted, and then my mind would start racing, reminding me of things undone and things to do. I’d try counting sheep. I’d try writing down my concerns. My heart sped up, and sleep eluded me as I watched hour after hour pass by on my alarm clock. The longer I stayed awake, the more agitated I became as the hours of rest available to me shrank smaller and smaller. It was a terrible time.

I remember coming across the verse above at some point in the midst of my insomnia and being really frustrated by it. I started to get my feelings hurt. Didn’t God love me? He was supposed to give rest to His loved ones, and I was not able to get that rest. It took quite a while for me to understand that the first part of the verse was a real part of my problem: “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat.”

You see, when I got up in the morning, I hit the ground running and did not stop until I tumbled into bed. I was anxious about nearly everything. I had added more activities than my body and mind could handle, worked hard at them all day, and then demanded God to let me sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was clear that something needed to change. One of the key elements in my reformation was the discovery of the need to rest—not just at bedtime—but at critical points throughout the day. Based on a lot of experience and many failures, here are some tips that have helped me rest well, even in the midst of busy times.

I try, by His grace, to …

  1. Prioritize time with God as early in the day as I can. Even if I only have a short amount of time, I need to stop and meet with God more than I need to wash my hair, wear makeup, or scroll through Facebook. Just starting the day with ten minutes of prayer and a short reading of the Bible changes my heart’s perspective for that day. It is also a declaration of sorts: telling my schedule what’s most important. And it’s not the schedule. It is God Himself who matters most—and when I acknowledge that? Well. All the important things still get done. I do realize that for mothers of infants or caregivers of any kind,“early” might mean after lunch when the baby is finally sleeping or the one needing care is quieted! God sees you, busy one. May He show you those ten minutes as early in the day as is possible.
  2. Move slower, not faster, when I am behind. When things get crazy and out of control, instead of racing faster … I purposefully slow it down. I am better off if I stop … and pray … and breathe in and out. I remind myself that God is able to redeem the time if it needs redeeming but losing my temper or flailing about in frustration will not redeem anything. Slowing down long enough to breathe is a necessary reset. It helps—when I remember to do it!
  3. Take mini rests during the day. I remember my own mother doing this. She had four active, talkative children to corral all day long, and sometimes she just needed a break. After lunch, she’d make herself a cup of tea and retire to the living room with her book. We were told clearly to leave her alone so she could soak in some stillness. When we were younger, we napped. As we aged out of napping, she did not age out of needing rest. So rest she did, and we were on our own. I find that just twenty minutes of sitting on the deck and admiring God’s beautiful world or sitting by the fire in winter restores my soul. We need to be still and know that we are God’s, and He is running the Universe. Not us. Little stops remind us that we are not quite as important to the running of the world as we might think we are.
  4. Reject media before bed. The articles I’ve read all seem to agree that watching television or scrolling on a cell phone is not the way to relax and tell your body it’s time to sleep. I have a little routine that I have practiced for over twenty years. I stop all work about 45 minutes before bed. I make myself a warm mug of milk (if you are grimacing at that … chamomile tea is a great alternative) and enjoy that mug with a cookie. I read a Christian fiction book and slow my brain down. Reading a physical book is not as stimulating to the brain as social media. It slows one down to focus on one thing—the words and story on the page—instead of the bouncing around of social media or a dramatic movie.
  5. Choose prayer and praise at bedtime. My husband and I end each day in prayer together, snuggled safely in God’s good arms. If I find I am still restless, I practice alphabet prayers. I either name God’s attributes, thinking of as many as I can beginning with the letter “A,” or I pray for everyone I ever met whose name I remember that starts with “A.” Then continue through the alphabet until sleep finds me. If I am awake? Well then. At least I am praying! I have a 45-minute limit. If I am still awake after that, I get up and read and drink more milk. That’s way more soothing in the long run than being agitated that I’m still awake.

In His Word, God calls us over and over to times of rest. He reminds us to come to Him when we are troubled. Racing from “early morning until late at night” is not the way he wired us at all. He gives rest to those who will receive it. He is not the taskmaster that keeps us dashing through our days. No. We do that to ourselves. And even when we don’t sleep? He always, always loves us. We can count on that and turn to Him in our troubles.

Heavenly Father, forgive us when we choose busyness and crammed schedules over times spent with You. Help us to be still, Lord, and to rest in You each and every day. Thank You for Your constant love, Your unbelievable forgiveness when we repeatedly fail at stopping, and Your patience with us as we try again. Thank You that You “give rest to [Your] loved ones.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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