I’ve never especially liked going to bed. There’s so much to do, so much to enjoy, so much to watch or listen to, so much to talk about. Sleep seems like such a waste of time. With a busy life and medical practice I think my husband gets tired of telling me I need to get some sleep!
We all know that our human bodies need sleep and rest. There is a huge amount of research now indicating that if you want to live a long and healthy life, you need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Chronic lack of sleep leads to all kinds of physical problems.
But that’s not all. Your mind, emotions, ability to handle stress, and how you relate to your children, spouse, God, and others are all affected. How you treat your body in this area does impact you and those around you in many ways.
Consider these benefits of getting appropriate sleep:
- Physically healthier. Heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity – those are just a few of the physical problems associated with not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. It can be a vicious circle: some of these illnesses also lead to poor sleep. But we know that whatever helps your sleep lessens your risk for many physical problems.
- More efficient. When I’ve had a good night’s sleep I can sometimes accomplish in 45 minutes what would take me 2-3 hours when I’m tired. I have to admit my brain is human, and can only work so long before needing true rest.
- More creative. Ever struggle to find an answer to a problem, make a decision, or complete an assignment? A mind that is fresh has a much greater capacity to find creative solutions or create content. If you have to produce any creative content, a rested mind makes all the difference.
- Handle stress better. When you’re tired a small problem can easily become a mountain. Normal “stuff” can seem catastrophic. Adequate sleep allows both your body and your mind to respond with flexibility and strength to problems that we all face.
- More loving, forgiving, courageous, and kind. If you’re tired you have much less to give to the ones you care about. You may lash out at someone for little or no reason, and then live to regret it. Your emotions are much easier to manage when you are rested. When upset, think about getting some sleep!
- Hear from God better. Your mind is the primary way God communicates with you. And when your mind is tired, His voice is much harder to discern. God can speak to you in dreams during sleep and impressions while awake, and both are much clearer when your brain is refreshed. With a clear mind you can better distinguish His voice from other voices, and understand what He is saying to you.
- More successful. Whether it’s working on your marriage, finding creative solutions at work, or accomplishing something God has placed in your heart, robbing sleep to do the job is mostly counterproductive. When you’re rested, you have a chance to be creative, efficient, and effective.
Jesus had the most important job in the universe. And as a man, He needed sleep. Dare we expect anything different of ourselves?
The next time my husband encourages me to get some sleep, I better do so. It’s not worth the alternative.
Your turn: How do you find sleep – or lack thereof – impacts you and those around you? How does getting enough sleep help? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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