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Setting goals for better health

This month we are focusing on setting and completing goals that will help us reach better health. This first installment concerns sleep habits. Click to read on.


Ophelia Gherman, M.D.

It never seems like we have enough time in a day to accomplish everything we want. Changing one’s habits often seems time consuming and tends to be postponed. Sleeping late is a habit that many of us are accustomed to, but the sooner we take steps to adopt healthier sleeping hours the richer the blessings in store. Getting a good night’s rest is so important that from the dawn of creation God made night and day. The heavens obey, and the universe displays the sun by day and moon by night. It is only humanity, in our small cosmos, who have attempted to reverse their use.

There are so many benefits of getting seven-eight hours of sleep per night.  Throughout the day, toxins build up in our system. These toxins produce fatigue—that well-known weariness at the end of the day. Sleep gives the body time to expel wastes and to make repairs. In contrast, our brain does not really ever sleep. It is busy making new memories, consolidating old ones, and making connections between recent and earlier memories.  The brain also cleanses internal toxins during the sleep hours. These toxins cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s after years of accumulating.

So how can you begin getting more sleep? Start by setting a reasonable bedtime. If you have been going to sleep at midnight, then eleven might be a reasonable improvement. You may want to set an alarm one hour before your bedtime as a reminder to start winding down. The last 30 minutes may well be spent reading and meditating on Scripture, listening to quiet music, and getting comfortable. Avoid using electronic screens before bed, and try to avoid working or studying in bed.

A refreshing night’s rest will leave you energized to surmount many obstacles throughout the day. Setting aside a few minutes for prayer during your busy day will also help rest the mind. Take time to admire a forest or lake on your commute, a flower or soaring bird outside your window, or devote time to memorizing a passage of Scripture.

Seemingly small changes like these can work wonders and slowly change your life without having to rearrange your entire day. Try it. Start today. 

“A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding peaceful trust. Your hope is not in yourself; it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might. . . . Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection of His character.”—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 70.