Breaking the Cycle of Stress: The Big Sleep

Sometimes the best thing you can do to accomplish more is to get some much-needed rest. That is the idea behind the big sleep—a concept we came across several years ago and have made great use of ever since.

Let’s say it is Thursday afternoon. You are trying to pull things together for an upcoming weekend commitment, but because of side issues demanding your attention, unusual family situations, and a slew of other to-dos on your radar, you are having a hard time working through all that needs to be done. Your stress level is high; your anxiety is through the roof; you are overwhelmed and so far behind with everything that you aren’t sure which way to turn next. At that moment, what should you do?

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Here is what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t keep plowing through. You shouldn’t stay up half the night to get everything done. Pushing harder isn’t the answer. You will just start hitting your head against the ceiling of diminishing returns. Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, your best plan is to hit the reset button by doing a big sleep. Leave everything behind and go to bed for twelve full hours.

Sounds crazy, right? Trust us on this: the most effective way to clear your head and break the cycle of stress is to do a big sleep at the exact time you think there is no way you can afford to. Let your family in on your plan and then steal away for an extended night’s rest. If you don’t think you can physically sleep for twelve hours, use the first part of that time to unwind—alone and completely unplugged from technology. Take a walk or read a book, then get in bed nice and early. When you get up the next morning, you are going to be refocused, reenergized, and ready to tackle everything that seemed ready to tackle you the day before.

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Now, you can’t do a big sleep every night. But if you adopt the practice two to three times per year, when things seem particularly hectic and stressful, you will soon learn that a big sleep doesn’t cost you any time or productivity. In fact, it doubles your time and productivity by giving you the ability to face your circumstances refreshed and clearheaded. After one or two successful big sleeps, you will understand why some of the most productive people in the world have made this a habit.

– Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson

The above excerpt is from p. 154-155 of The New You: A Guide to Better Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness.

With your copy of The New You, you will come away with specific strategies on how to lose weight, get more sleep, lower stress, nurture better relationships, connect with God and much more! Anyone who wants to trade in the frustration of average living and less-than health for the hallmarks of the new life God promises will find The New You an effective personal guide for the journey.

Your partner in ministry,


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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyHealth, Leadership, Ministry