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Sleep: Four Rules and Ten Strategies


Earlier  I posted about the value of sleep, especially for teens, but also for moms and anyone else.  The book I referred to, Power Sleep  by Dr James B. Maas,  listed the four golden rules of sleep (p 60).


1. “Get an adequate amount of sleep every night,” where ‘adequate’ means the amount you need to be fully alert all day.  For most people that is 8 hours or more, and if you need an alarm clock to wake up, you haven’t had enough sleep.  In fact, Dr Maas says that “most people absolutely need to obtain at least 60-90 minutes more sleep than they presently get.” 


2. “Establish a regular sleep schedule.”  In other words, have a definite bedtime that doesn’t vary even on weekends, and get up at the same time every morning.   Not only can this ensure adequate sleep, but it also helps prevent insomnia, since our bodies get used to a certain routine.


3. “Get continuous sleep.”  How a mother of young children can do that, is beyond me, but it is important to try for it, just as it is important not to get upset when you do have to get up – remember, whatever we do for ‘one of the least of these,’ we do for our Lord.


4. “Make up for lost sleep.”  If you do miss sleep, go to bed earlier the next day.  You will only get more and more tired if you do not sleep that extra bit.  A nap can help, but it can cause insomnia if you nap too long, or if you don’t nap regularly.  It is important to get back to your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible.


For those who have difficulty sleeping, even though they may be exhausted, Dr Maas also discusses sleep strategies.  The main one, of course, is not to worry about sleep; if you’re up a few nights with little ones—or tossing and turning over various issues—just accept that this is life, relax, and trust God’s goodness.   


You have insomnia if you have regular difficulties with (p69)

            Falling asleep,

            Staying asleep all night long,

            Waking too early.


To reduce insomnia and enhance the quality of sleep, Dr Maas includes 20 sleep strategies (p 69), which I have condensed to 10.  All have value, but different people are helped by different strategies, so if you have sleep issues, relax and experiment.  Anyone who has serious issues with sleep should, of course, seek more specific information (e.g. from the book) and professional help.


1. “Reduce stress as much as possible.”  For Christians, who know God loves them and is in control, this will be much easier than for those who do not trust God.  Even so, most of us do need to work on stress reduction.  And don’t stress about sleeping!


2. “Exercise to stay fit.”  But not right before bed time, and be sure to follow the usual rules of sensible exercise.


3. “Keep mentally stimulated during the day.”  Being busy and interacting with others increases the quality of sleep.  Here we homeschooling moms really come out ahead, but we do have to be careful not to be too busy or we’ll become stressed (see # 1).


4. “Eat a proper diet.”  Yes, we all know we should, but if we’re not doing so now, we should start where we are and not get stressed about it (see #1).


5. “Stop smoking.”   Along with all its other bad qualities, nicotine is a strong stimulant. 


6. “Reduce caffeine intake.”   No coffee within six hours of bedtime, and no chocolate or high-sugar foods near bedtime.


7. “Avoid alcohol near bedtime.”  Although it may put you to sleep, it will reduce the quality of sleep.


8. Relax, with a bath, a bedtime ritual, a pleasant bedroom, relaxation techniques, etc.


9. “Clear your mind at bedtime.”  For us Christians, prayer is not only communication with our God, but it also involves giving our worries to God, repenting of sins, and thanking Him for the day and all that He has given us.  God’s peace will help us to sleep even in difficult times, as David wrote in Ps 4:8.


10. “Learn to value sleep.”  Don’t feel guilty about getting the sleep you need!  Sleep is important if you want to be able to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.



I hope this gives you some guidance, my friend.  I know that listing these rules has encouraged me to value sleep more, both for myself and my family.  May these lists benefit everyone who reads them.


May God give you all a great night’s sleep, now and every day.





  1. Anonymous says:

    from experience I can tell you how much better you feel if you get plenty of sleep

  2. LarabaK says:

    One thing we try to do is not do a bunch of chores and tasks in the late evening. This is a time when my husband and I spend time together, and it also helps us to wind down before bed. I go to bed around 10:30 p.m. most of the time, and I always wake without an alarm clock at around 6 a.m. So I THINK I'm getting enough sleep. On those nights when I do something that requires a lot of mental energy right before bed, I sometimes have trouble drifting off promptly.

  3. AnnieKate says:

    Yes, Laraba, that's a great point. If I'm blogging later in the evening, I don't sleep as well, but if I mend or read a boring book or something like that, things go much better.

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