Building spiritually healthy habits helps make sunset over the water even more peaceful.

Spiritually Healthy Habits Can Lead to Better Sleep

I’m not a huge one for making New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I don’t think healthy habits are important, but I’ve just never been fond of the “meatloaf Monday,” “Taco Tuesday,” “Fish Friday,” kinds of routines. I don’t know if it’s because I like variety or I’m just undisciplined.

I’m going to go with the first idea.

Doing laundry or cleaning house on a certain day every week might not make or break my life. But what if my healthy habits during the day could help me sleep better at night? That’s an idea worth pursuing! Could my faith contribute to getting good rest? Yes!

An open Bible and a glass of water on a table overlooking a lake are part of building healthy habits.

That’s why we at Abide developed these 6 meditations to encourage healthy habits in your faith journey. They not only lead to a flourishing relationship with God, but also help you sleep better. From learning how to create healthy habits to the importance of prayer, these meditations will help you on your way to a fuller spiritual life and deeper sleep. Order in your day produces peace at night.

Create Healthy Habits

I’ve often found myself thinking, “After the holidays I’ll really start eating better.” “Once this season of travel is over, I’ll get back to reading my Bible more.” “When cold and flu season has passed, I’ll go back to in-person church.” In my own life, those are excuses for my laziness. Habit formation takes discipline.

The Apostle Paul showed us how to keep healthy habits going. In the midst of his traveling from place to place as the Spirit of God led him, Paul could still be found in the house of God. Acts 17:2 tells us, “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” This was something Paul did all the time. He didn’t take a break even when he was on the road. Maybe especially because he was on the road.

What’s a habit you want to start forming in your spiritual life? Listen to the short version of this guided meditation from Abide to begin learning about creating healthy habits from Paul’s example.

Pray First

What do you do first thing when you get up in the morning? Grab a cup of coffee from the machine that’s got it all ready for you? Pick up your phone and check what’s been going on while you slept? Start thinking through your to-do list for the day?

Try developing the habit of praying first. Before you even get out of bed, start a conversation with God. Let talking to Him about every aspect of your day become your rhythm. Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, wrote, “And so I urge you: carry on an ongoing conversation with God about the daily stuff of life, a little like Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” For now, do not worry about ‘proper’ praying, just talk to God.”

Listen to this snippet from an Abide meditation about prayer and believing that God is always able based on Psalm 143:10.

Flee Temptation

If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you know better than to hang out in bars. If you’re addicted to pornography, you put filters on your internet—and have an accountability partner. Don’t keep unhealthy snacks in the house if you’re tempted to overeat. These bad habits can be easy to fall back into. But forming the healthy habit of running to God and away from your temptation can be life-saving.

First Corinthians 10:13 reminds us to form healthy habits of fleeing temptation.

This sample of a meditation from Abide, based on 1 Corinthians 10:13, will help you begin to see why the healthy habit of fleeing temptation and finding strength in God brings you peace.

Let Your “Yes” Be “Yes”

So often our inability to sleep comes from being over tired. We’ve been so busy doing things—many times for other people—that we’ve forgotten to simply be. When we can learn to let our yeses be for those things that fulfill our purpose, designed by God, then our tiredness at the end of the day isn’t that bone-weariness that comes from being over-burdened.

Developing the healthy habit of saying yes only to what God sets out for you to do can bring peace to your schedule, your life, and your sleep. Listen to this short segment of a meditation based on Matthew 5:37: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Though Jesus was specifically talking about oaths here, the principle of letting your agreement to do something be simple and from your heart applies.

Practice Self-reflection

Years ago Michael Jackson had a popular song called “Man in the Mirror.” The last line in the chorus says, “Take a look at yourself and then make a change.” King David penned a similar sentiment in Psalm 139. The Message translation makes it clear:

Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Making a habit of sitting in stillness and asking God to show you your heart can be life-changing. I had a pastor who liked to coach engaged couples, “Draw a circle around your own feet, and then work on everyone inside that circle.” It’s easy to find fault in others, but when you’re willing to change things in your own heart, with God’s help, you will find greater peace and strength of character.

Listen to this meditation from Abide based on Lamentations 3:40: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!”

Develop the Healthy Habit of Resting

When people talk about rest, much of the time they’re talking about sleeping, napping, taking a break. When my trainer is working with me, when I’m approaching the end of a certain exercise she’ll say, “aaaaand rest.” That means “stop what you’re doing.” You’re done. That repetition is over. That’s what God calls us to do. Rest. Cease striving. Stop trying so hard.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” God He parted the Red Sea, brought water out of a rock, and provided manna in the wilderness. He did these things and much more without the people lifting a hand to help.

What weighs you down right now? What situations are you trying to fix on your own? Let this meditation from Abide help you understand that you can cease striving and rest in the Lord.

Building healthy habits isn’t easy, but the benefits make the hard work worth it. Peace of mind and heart? Better sleep? Sign me up! Speaking of which, with a premium subscription to Abide, you can access the full versions of each of the meditations in this post, plus more than 400 Bible-based sleep stories, daily devotions, and 1500 other guided biblical meditations. Use this link for 25% off.