Remember when you were a kid and it was bedtime? If you were like me, you would do anything you could to nudge that bedtime a bit later. And if by chance that wasn’t successful, you might implement the “read under the covers” plan. That was my favorite way to avoid having to go to bed. There were many nights when my flashlight, a good book, and I were up until the wee hours! Bedtime always seemed to come long before I was ready!
These days, I see sleep differently! With health as one of my top five values, getting a consistent 7-8 hours of sleep a night is vital. Let’s just say that I’ve learned to appreciate it!
I still love to read and regularly read World Magazine almost cover to cover, even though I am a couple of months behind. I recently read a short article about how Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley adheres to a very strict bedtime. So strict in fact, that he doesn’t even let events like lengthy hearings get in the way! During the Supreme Court hearings for nominee Neil Gorsuch, he relinquished his gavel to North Carolina Senator, Thom Tillis so that he could climb into bed at his usual 9:00pm. Now that’s being committed to your bedtime! According to Grassley, being disciplined about when he goes to bed makes it possible for him to wake up at 4am. That’s when he runs three miles! Considering he’s 83, I’d say his strict routine is working well for him!
There’s no denying that sleep is beneficial! Here are just a few perks to getting enough sleep:
- Better memory
- Happy healthy immune system
- Managed hunger levels
- Decreased risk for health conditions like diabetes, hearts disease, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, and more!
On the flip side, not getting enough sleep contributes to health problems like cancer, increased inflammation, weakened muscles and bones, as well as…
- Mood changes including depression and anxiety
- Being more accident prone
- Gaining weight
- Low sex drive
- Poor balance
- Aging your skin
- Impairing judgement and the ability to process information
- Making it more difficult to control your emotions
- Decreasing life expectancy
- Increasing chronic pain
- Significantly limiting your ability to deal with stress
- Seriously dampening your creativity
With all those reasons to get more sleep, you might be motivated to sleep 15 hours a day like Mariah Carey. She claims that’s the only way she can “sing the way she wants to” and hit that enviable high notes. It’s true – you can check it out for yourself!
In reality, sleeping too much can be just as detrimental as not getting enough sleep! Experts say 7-9 hours is ideal for adults. You can see the sleep recommendations for newborns to seniors here.
The best night’s sleep happens in the absence of activity, worry, and fear. Is it possible that you’re engaging in behaviors that are taking a toll on your sleep like these?
Working more hours than is reasonable throws your life out of balance and it tempts you to skimp on sleep. When you gradually work more you also tend to sleep less. Because the effects are gradual you might not even notice how not getting enough sleep is affecting you. Sooner or later – it will catch up with you!
Did you know that you it’s not possible to catch up on sleep? If you don’t get enough sleep during the week, sleeping away your weekend won’t make up the difference. In order to perform at your best and enjoy the many other benefits rest offers, it takes having a regular bed time and a routine that enables you to get adequate sleep like Senator Grassley.
Working so hard – what’s that all about? God wants you to depend on Him – to let Him work on your behalf. When you are striving (and doing all the work) to get where you want to be or to accomplish certain goals, there’s not much space for God to intervene. Remember, when He does intercede, He’s going to do it in a way that allows Him to get the glory. That doesn’t mean that you throw up your hands, but rather you do your part (and only your part) and leave the heavy lifting, the outcome to Him.
Maybe it’s time to trust God more. Let Him work on your behalf. God continues to reiterate the importance of making space for Him to work on my behalf. In fact, last week I had a full day where I was unable to focus on work due to a doctor’s appointment and a fun filled lunch with a friend for her birthday. While otherwise occupied, several exciting opportunities popped up that I could not have orchestrated. It was clear that God was working on my behalf and reminding me to relax and trust Him.
Getting sufficient sleep can be an indicator of how much you trust God.
2. Dwelling on the wrong things
Letting the “what ifs” of life swirl in your mind over and over again keeps you in worry mode making sleep nearly impossible. Did you know that dwelling on your worries and fears is a form of meditation? And sadly it does nothing to improve your situation! And uncertainty will always be there!
Peace and sweet sleep is easier when you are confident that God’s got you! That’s why it helps to be proactively dwelling on His promises! Truth!
What scripture would you like to meditate on? Here are some of my favorites to get you started:
3. Trying to do too much
Another reason you for getting less sleep than you need might be less about working unreasonable hours and more about trying to do too much. Living a balanced life isn’t about doing everything. It’s about doing the right things in each area of your life. That might mean you need to do some trimming in your life. What can you realistically do and still get the sleep you need?
Letting go of activities that don’t fit into this season of life is not easy, but you will appreciate how it allows you to approach what’s most important from a more rested place with leading to better results!
When you make getting enough sleep a priority, other aspects of your will naturally begin to fall into place.
4. Bad habits
Bad habits like perpetually fussing over your phone can mess with your sleep habits just like not getting enough exercise or eating too late at night. What bad habits are you engaging in that are interfering with you getting the sleep you need?
There will always be challenging circumstances! What a blessing to know that you can still enjoy rest when you trust God! How confident are you that He will work on your behalf? How ready are you to let Him help you pare down what you are doing? What habits would you like God to help you change?
What are your sleep habits revealing about you?
© Can Stock Photo / darrenwh