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Sleep Week 2021

Cost and Admission

This event is free to attend.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:1-3)

“And on the 7th day, God rested.” Yes, God rested. What does it mean that God “rested” from his work of creating? If God is God - infinite, almighty, all-powerful - why would He rest? What if God’s act of rest also gives us permission to rest from the work God gave us?

God’s rest came after he brought order to chaos, taking what was formless, empty and dark and creating beauty, order and light. This past year has been anything but orderly. Actually, it feels like quite a mess. COVID has disrupted our lives, and, with the political and social unrest of these last months we have faced unprecedented unknowns and uncertainties. We have been learning and working from home for months on end. Our screens have become the center of our classes, homework and work, as well as our entertainment and social connections. We are working in our bedrooms and living rooms – the very same places we are supposed to find “rest.”

No wonder we’re feeling so tired!

Last year during Sleep Week we emphasized the importance of sleep. And yet, good sleep is hard to find if we do not also practice rhythms of rest. Rest does not naturally come to most of us, and in this season may be more challenging to find. It turns out that rest takes practice, especially in the midst of life’s messiness.

We invite you to join us for Sleep Week 2021: Rest in the Mess. If you find yourself looking at screens all day, rest may look like heading outside for a walk or a hike. If you find yourself working long hours, rest may look like play. If you find yourself struggling to sleep, rest may look like permission for a nap. This week, join our community in pursuing rest in the midst of the mess - whatever this might look like for you - so that, in the midst of uncertainty and instability, we might be a source of encouragement and strengthening to each other. May God bless your rest this week!

Sleep Week 2021: Rest in the Mess is sponsored by the Student Health and Wellness Collaborative, a cross-campus group representing 25+ Biola programs and services and who are dedicated to positively impacting student well-being at Biola through a collaborative, cohesive movement forward. We’re also grateful to partner with Biola’s B.Well campaign, designed to encourage faculty and staff well-being in this season.


Contact Lisa Igram at:

“Rest in the Mess” Community Challenge

Join our community-wide challenge to practice “Resting in the Mess” from March 1-5! To participate:

  • Post an image of your moment of rest on your Instagram feed, story or reel, tagging @biolauniversity (remember your account must be public for tagging to work)!
  • Respond to @biolauniversity story questions about how you are resting this week.
  • Comment on @biolauniversity’s in-feed post with your Wellness Day rest activity.

All current students will be entered into a raffle to win one of the following:

  • A year-long Calm App subscription (3)
  • A Sleep-Week themed micro mink sherpa blanket (1)
  • A pair of cozy custom pajama pants (1) sewn to order in the size and pattern of your choice: cats, dogs, baseballs, stars, hedgehogs or sailboats – we do our best to please!

We look forward to seeing your best resting!

Bonus: When you post, search “Biola Sleep Week” on GIPHY for Biola Sleep Week 2021 Stickers!

“How We Rest” Instagram Campaign

“How We Rest” is designed to mutually encourage our community towards rest, allowing us to share the diversity of ways God created us to rest and learn from others who may also struggle to rest. Follow along with a number of Biola’s departmental Instagram and social media accounts to discover how students, staff and faculty find “Rest in the Mess.”


Undergraduate students can participate in the following chapels this week through Canvas. Faculty, staff, graduate and PTUG students are welcome to watch via the “View Chapel” button at

  • “Sacred Idleness” with Jen Fanning, Director of the Learning Center. Consider God’s gift of rest for his people, as well as practical life tips for engaging rest in day-to-day life.
  • Fives Chapel: This week’s scripture meditation and prayer explores God's gift of rest for his people.
  • “Finding Rest in the Lord” with Dr. Leon Harris, Associate Professor of Theology. We pulled from the vault to glean wisdom from Dr. Harris’s stories in practicing the art of rest as a student. (PS: Do you miss sitting in Sutherland for chapels, ‘cause we sure do!)

Huddle/Small Group Discussion Guide

Feel free to use the Sleep Week: Rest in the Mess engagement guide with your group or Huddle as we together encourage each other to “Rest in the Mess.”

Need ideas for rest this week? Check out these resources selected to encourage intentionality in practicing resting in the mess.

Plan Your Week For Rest 

Sometimes, simply creating a calendar for when you will rest in the midst of class, work, and homework can help you actually rest. Bonus: a calendar can also help you plan when you’ll get in your eight hours of sleep each night!

Pause to Practice Rest

Doing something restful doesn’t need much preparation, but it does take intentionality. For those of us unused to resting, it also takes practice. Some have even described rest as a “muscle” that needs to be exercised to be strengthened. Consider taking five or 10 minutes to try one of these practices, and notice how it feels! 

  • Practice being present – try noticing what’s around you (sites, smells, sounds) without adding anything to what’s already there. 
  • Find a quiet place and sit in silence.
  • Pause to take a deep breath.
  • Try doing just one thing at a time.
  • Take a Well-being Screen Break.
  • Tell Jesus what you are feeling.
  • Put your phone away and stay off social media for the day.
  • Describe to a friend one thing that distracts you from resting.
  • Take a walk and notice creation.
  • Lie down for a short nap.
  • Play a worship song – close your eyes and just listen.
  • Download the Headspace app and practice some mindfulness.
  • Take two minutes to look out the window and up at the sky.

Practice Resting by Playing

Did you know that play, laughter and fun all promote rest? God created our bodies to release endorphins when we laugh, which decreases stress, builds resilience to disease and can temporarily relieve pain. Due to our remote environment, our need for making play a priority is bigger than ever. Rest this week by having fun!

On your own:

  • Make playdough art.
  • Learn how to cook/bake a new recipe.
  • Carve/paint a pumpkin!
  • Listen to a stand-up comedian.

With others in person:

  • Do you have any children in your home? Do a silly activity with them!
  • Make the biggest possible blanket fort.
  • Play a board game.
  • Have a “minute to win it” tournament with people in your home. Decide on a prize for the tourney winner.
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh.
  • Do karaoke at home with people you live with.

With others remotely:

  • Online games like Jackbox via video chat.
  • Play an Improv game together over Zoom.
  • Do a Mad Libs activity over the phone.

Address the Anxiety or Racing Mind That’s Keeping You from Resting

  • Name your stress and write down your stressors. We tend to avoid tense things by pretending they aren’t there. But anxiety and stress require acknowledgement. Simply writing it down and seeing it for what it is can most often reduce the anxiety we are feeling, and this also gives you a chance to talk with God more specifically about the things that are concerning you. Read more at the Student Life Blog.
  • Consider trying out the free version of Headspace or Calm – two applications designed to help focus racing minds. 
  • Check out Therapy Essentials to learn strategies of mindfulness that may help in fostering rest. It is free and no appointment is required!
  • Try Drop-In Counseling to talk through your concerns and gain some tools for coping. The service is free of cost and is available to all Biola students.
  • If your struggle for sleep is consistent over days or weeks, call the Student Health Center to make an appointment for an evaluation at (562) 903-4841.

Usher in Rest through Healthy Sleep Hygiene

  • Create a bedtime routine to help you slow down and usher in rest. For example, put on your favorite pajamas, listen to your favorite calming song, brush your teeth, put away your phone to avoid the simulating blue light, journal for 10 minutes about your day, crawl into bed, and turn your lights off.
  • Try out one of these sleep hacks: 
    • Put blackout curtains on your windows 
    • Put your phone down 15 minutes before bed
    • Keep a consistent sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends
    • Exercise earlier in the day
    • Shower before bed
  • Find more tips written by students, for students on the Well-being Toolbox “Sleep” tool.

Check Out These Talks and Blogs on the Value of Rest and Sleep

Supporting Students

Start your class with a check-in question about rest

And don’t forget to share your own ways of resting. Students love to hear from their faculty about such things!

  • What are you doing to “rest” this week?
  • What is the last restful thing you did?
  • How did you use/will you use this week’s Wellness Days to recharge?

Encourage Student Engagement in Sleep Week: Rest in the Mess Activities

  • Join the “Rest in the Mess Community Challenge” on @BiolaUniversity’s Instagram:
    • Post an image of your moment of rest on your Instagram feed, story or reel, tagging @biolauniversity (remember your account must be public for tagging to work!)
    • Respond to @biolauniversity story quizzes and questions about how you are resting this week
    • Comment on @biolauniversity’s in-feed post with your Wellness Day rest activity
  • Follow Biola department instagram accounts to hear how students, staff and faculty across Biola engage rest. If you manage a department account, here’s how you can help!
  • Learn from this week’s chapels on God’s gift of rest.

Point Students to Resources on Rest

  • Share the Sleep Week 2021: Rest in the Mess Student Resources tab with your classes.
  • Offer Biola’s new Well-being Toolbox, which was developed by students, for students, with practical tips and tricks on caring for one’s own well-being.

Get the Rest You Need, Too

While we all might glean from tips from the Student Resources tab the following tips might help build moments of rest in the midst of our work days. And, check out resources provided by Biola’s B. Well campaign.

Finally, don't forget to share on Instagram as part of our "Rest in the Mess Community Challenge"!

  • Try not multitasking for a day… or even just one meeting.
  • Add “Lunch” to your calendar for the week or the rest of the semester, and then commit to lunching without email-checking.
  • Schedule short, frequent breaks away from your computer. Pet the dog, hug one of your kids, or stand outside in the sunshine for a few moments.
  • Take short walks during daylight hours, and breathe deeply as you go.
  • If you’re not an active participant on that Zoom call, join from your phone and listen in from your porch, a local park or while out on a walk.
  • Work hours are odd right now, especially for those caring for families in this remote environment. Try using the “schedule send” feature on gmail so that your colleagues get email during normal business hours, regardless of when you need to press ‘send’.
  • If possible, designate a work space or home office within your home, and try to keep all work activities there.
  • Create a transition into work at the beginning of the day and out of work at the end of the day. Time boundaries are fluid while working remotely, especially if caring for family. Intentional transitions can help us avoid being “always on.”
  • Where possible, hold to a 50-minute meeting culture - and take those 10-minute breaks to stand up and take a screen break. Look out the window. Take a few deep breaths and notice how your body feels. Give yourself a chance to ‘reset’ before clicking the next meeting link.
  • Do something fun! Set aside a day or an afternoon this week to play with family or friends.