In America alone, the sleep industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. From high tech beds and bedding to an array of medications and supplements to therapies and various modalities. Everyone knows sleep is important and far too many of us aren’t getting that restful sleep that we need. In fact, many people wake up just as tired as they were when they lay down.
Though there are innumerable ways to manage sleep problems, God has put keys in His Word to help us overcome them so that they won’t be an issue anymore. What would you prefer, indefinite management or a permanent solution?
We were created to thrive in God’s nature because the Word says that we were created in God’s image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 KJV
Though we cannot see Him, the Word clearly describes the attributes of His nature.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16 KJV
1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. So what is love exactly? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 clearly defines that love for us:
4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 KJV
Then, in Galatians 5:22-23 the writer describes the fruits of the Spirit of God, so we know that these are the qualities that God already holds within Himself as His divine nature that we receive when we line ourselves up with His Spirit and His Word.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
Anything that is contrary to God’s nature that He’s designed us for can actually throw off the delicate balance of peace in our spirits and homeostasis in our bodies. Homeostasis is the ability of the body to maintain a state of equilibrium so that all the systems of the body are functioning properly and working well together. There is a tiny gland in our brain called the hypothalamus. This gland tries to keep our bodies in a state of homeostasis by regulating various autonomic functions of the body including metabolic processes, body temperature, thirst, and sleep. One may also call it the gateway between our mind and our body because it is directly affected by our thoughts to create subsequent bodily reactions.
So what happens when we are not living according to God’s nature? Perhaps we’re struggling with fear, anxiety, and stress, which would mean that we are not at peace, we don’t feel completely safe or covered, or maybe we feel out of control in one or more areas of our lives. Our hypothalamus will recognize that and release chemical responses throughout our body to put us in a state of fight or flight until the issue has been resolved and it can return the body to a state of homeostasis. The problem comes when the issue is not resolved. This is one of the root issues to sleep problems. When we’ve still not been able to come to terms with what we’ve been struggling with, be it a relationship issue, a guilt issue against our self, or a circumstance that is beyond our control, our hypothalamus picks up on that and keeps our body in a state of alertness. It’s not going to let you rest until you’ve come to terms with whatever is nagging at you.
Fear, anxiety, and stress are driven by a spirit of fear which has an ulterior motive to keep us separated from God, ourselves and others. In fact, the presence of fear in our lives is a good indication of a breakdown in relationship in one or more of these these three levels. How can we conclude this? The Word says the following in 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 KJV
If someone who is supposed to love you, does not love you properly, are you going to feel safe with them or will you feel uneasy around them? What if circumstances come that are out of your control, are you able to rest and trust God with them, or do you tend to try to figure it out and continually ruminate on them? What about your own failures? Are you able to quickly forgive yourself and repent and move on or do you tend to beat yourself up and try to figure out what you should have done differently and worry about whether another person will like you anymore, etc? Here’s the battleground that goes on between our eyeballs. The Word says that we don’t wrestle against others or even ourselves but our battle is actually against the enemy of our spirit, the Devil.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Ephesians 6:11-12 KJV
So here’s the enemy’s strategy: he knows that if he can disrupt or disturb your sleep or deprive it from you entirely, you’ll be weakened through your day from being able to function and process properly. Therefore you are weakened in your overcoming journey. So he’ll use any form or conflict, discomfort or adversity to try to rob us of our peace and joy and to keep us from trusting God. Then, if he can steal your sleep, he can cause some of these issues that come as a consequence of sleep deprivation: a weakened immune system, weight gain, memory issues, trouble with thought processing and concentration, mood changes, increased risk of accident and injury, increased risk of high blood pressure, affected balance and coordination and even more.
Fear, anxiety, and stress are not the only root issues that affect our sleep, other factors may play in as well. Fear, anxiety, and stress are often the surface issues that come in as a result of a deeper issue. Perhaps a person has never been properly loved or nurtured, or maybe they’ve even been victimized. This would mean that Father God’s love has not been properly represented in their life. So not only do we have a separation in relationship with another person or people, but a separation from God in this area. Subsequently, they may not feel good about themselves or feel unloveable. Because of this, spirits of rejection and unloving may join them and perpetuate these feelings even when the victimizer is not around.
They may find themselves in an endless struggle for perfection in drivenness and performance in order to earn love. This drivenness and performance can also be a sleep robber. It’ll cause a person to continually try to figure out how to do things better or bring all sorts of grand ideas that would make them feel like they could do or be something valuable. It’s still torment and it still comes out of fear. Remember, 1 John 4:18 says that fear brings torment.
Some other fears that may come into play are fear of evil, fear of pain, fear of sleeping, fear of not getting enough sleep, etc. Any of these sneaky critters can be recognized and repented for and removed. It all comes back to who we are putting our trust in. Are we believing fear or are we trusting that God is our protector and source and that He has good things prepared for us? He designed you to sleep and to do it well!
In the case of night terror and torment, there could be some additional spiritual dynamics at play that may have gained access as a result of engagement in occultic modalities, practices or ways of thinking, in the person’s life or in their generations. This could include a spirit of divination – the need to know and have it all figured out which would be rooted in not properly trusting God and fear again. Or there could be ways of thinking that a person has entertained that, though they may seem right, are contrary to the way that God thinks. Remember, homeostasis is lost when we come out of alignment with God’s nature and the way He thinks. So we’re looking for anything that would cause this to happen.
Another area that can bring torment is conflict and self-conflict. The Word says this in James 3:16:
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. James 3:16 KJV
Conflict is often caused by envy and strife and gives a door point to confusion and our old buddy fear again.
Another root issue can be ungodly order in the home. This is another fruit of being misaligned with God’s nature. Perhaps the man of the house tends to be more passive (see also this article on passivity) and defers the responsibility of the spiritual and emotional needs of the family onto the woman. Or perhaps the woman does not really trust the man and tends to try to maintain everything herself and keep it all under control. This again shows a breach in relationship with each other and also with God. How? Because one or both members of the leadership of the home are not lining themselves up with how God thinks and with each other in the proper order that He ordained. Perhaps the man struggles with fear of failure and tends to shut down. Maybe the woman cannot trust God that He can help her man overcome. So he’s now shut down and she’s taking charge. Or maybe there is a power struggle where the two are resisting each other and cannot find common ground. The home was designed by God to be a place of peace, safety, and nurture. Both the man and the woman need to come together as one to seek the Lord and to find their perfect place in the home the way He designed it so that His love and nature can flow properly through its members and its members can live at peace together.
There is a lot to consider here. If you struggle with sleep issues, you may or may not deal with all of these roots, maybe there’s only one or two, but let them be food for thought and something that can be brought to Father God in prayer and consideration so that He can show you the secret places of your heart. If you recognize any of these dynamics, there is no need to have guilt or accuse yourself or others. Simply repent for what you’ve personally been in agreement with before God and forgive yourself and anyone else that you may be struggling with. Then you can command any of these spirits that you’ve listened to, to go and leave you alone in Jesus’ name.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV
Next comes restoration! This is where we begin to walk into freedom. Most of the time there is a journey into retraining ourselves in how we think, speak and act. If God’s nature is the key to perfect peace and homeostasis, let that be what you pursue. Seek His heart; learn how to walk with Him in relationship and fellowship. Read His Word and allow it to cleanse your spirit and to provide a firm foundation of truth for you to stand on. Allow Him to lead your thoughts through His Holy Spirit.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV
Here’s a list of helpful scriptures to stand on and study out for yourself in regards to sleep and peace in your spirit:
Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 KJV
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. 25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. Proverbs 3:21-26 KJV
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. 6 [There be] many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:3-8 KJV
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 KJV
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
The Be in Health® Team
Bonus! Free printable Poster:
Scriptures for Sweet Sleep