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Verses on Sleep

Where is the verse that helps you sleep?

I appreciate your desire to have help in sleeping. It is very difficult when sleep will not come. I want to preface my remarks by admitting that I am not a medical doctor and that what I am about to tell you is not a solution for medical problems. Sometimes, God wants us to see a doctor. And, though you are probably not asking this, I need to state that there are no magic verses that will suddenly help you fall to sleep. What we will look at is some biblical teaching that deals will sleep or the things that make sweet sleep possible.

I assure you that I am not taking your question lightly, but I would like to mention a more humorous approach to your question. I have found that many people use the Bible to help them sleep by saving their Bible reading time to the time right before bedtime. For these people, the Bible always seems to put them to sleep. Others seem to have the same problem in church. But enough of this.

One of the real problems people face today is insomnia, or the inability to sleep. Sometimes, this is caused by medical problems. As I said, I recommend a doctor for medical problems. However, this is sometimes caused by other practical or spiritual problems. Let's look at some suggestions concerning sleep.

  1. Do not live to sleep. To some, sleep is what they do best. But God tells us, "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread" (Proverbs 20:13). We are to get adequate sleep--but we are not to want sleep beyond all other things. There are more important things than sleep.
  2. Accept sleep as a gift from the Lord. Some people feel guilty about sleeping. They have so much to do and the day seems so short. So, they push themselves to do without sleep in order to accomplish more. As has been said, they light the candle at both ends. Sometimes, they get to the point where they no longer sleep well when they sleep. But this is not of God. He says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2). In other words, God says that you will not accomplish more if you do without adequate sleep. It is a gift from God. Do not over-sleep. However, get enough sleep.
  3. Make sure that there are not any spiritual reasons that you cannot sleep. Ecclesiastes 8:16 speaks of one who, "neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes." The next verse speaks of this man as one who seeks to know the work of God but cannot find it out (v.17). He is troubled and, as a result, is not able to sleep. Guilt can keep someone from sleeping. So can the conviction of God. Actually, this is not bad if you will respond to this conviction by making things right with God. Make sure you are saved. Make sure things are right between you and God. Make sure you have confessed your sins to God and turned from them to the best of your ability trusting in God to give you the victory. These things will help you to sleep.
  4. Fill your day with good wholesome activities. Exert your best efforts in the work of the day. Ecclesiastes 5:12 states, "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." A man who works hard all day will usually sleep well at night. The rich man worries about keeping his money. The laboring man sleeps. If you have a desk job like so many of us today, this may mean that you need to do something physically active sometime during the day. Certainly, you need to approach each day with zest and energy. Paul tells us to be not "slothful in business" but "fervent in spirit" (Romans 12:11). We are to do all things "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23). This will help us to sleep in the evening.
  5. Meditate on the Lord and the things of God (as taught in the Bible) as you go to bed. David testified, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8). The peace of  God allows us to sleep. How do we get this peace? First, as I said earlier, make sure that things are right between you and God. Confess your known sins to God and commit yourself to His service. Second, get the word of God in you. That is, read the Bible as you settle down for the evening. This does not have to be your main Bible-reading time. In fact, I often use this time to go over some memory verses. Just get God's word in you. A reading from the Psalms would be very helpful.

Third, think of the Lord. Meditate on Him and His goodness. Isaiah 26:3 states, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." To stay our minds on God means to have Him in our thoughts; to think of His goodness and greatness. Consider what He is doing around you and be thankful for His goodness. This gives us perfect peace. And, as we have seen, this peace allows us to go to sleep.