This is Pastor Tim’ article which appeared in The Evening Leader on Monday, Oct 26, 2020
There are many parts of life that we have to pay attention to if we want to be healthy. Now you are already wondering which direction I am going with this article – what we eat or how we exercise. No doubt, those two things are important for health and I strongly encourage you to be mindful and aware of them both. But for this week’s article, I want to take this in a different direction and talk about the ignored component to our health – sleep.
If we are going to take a Biblical perspective, this is the one part of health that we are told that even God Himself observed. In fact, it is one of the very first things we learn about Him – He rested. Read the first two chapters of Genesis. God put order to the light and darkness, creating a space for rest. Then He dedicated a whole day to rest on that incredibly important 7th day. The 10 commandments order us to keep the Sabbath and to not work so that we can honor God by resting. Most of us think of the new day happening when the sun comes up. That isn’t the Biblical perspective. For the people of Biblical times, the new day started at sundown. That means that the first thing that ancient world people did was start their day with rest.
For people living prior to artificial light, by the time they went to work, their day was already half over and they had rested for the first half of it. Just this change in perspective helps us understand the importance of rest. It was prioritized as the first thing they did, not the last thing.
In our day and age, that shift in priority has made it a badge of honor not to sleep. We think people are hard workers if they deprive themselves of rest so they can work and get things done. This is contrary to not only how our bodies are designed, but it is also contrary to how the world was designed around us. By working ourselves into the ground, we are embracing that what we do is more important than what we are. We will neglect not only adequate rest, but we will deprive ourselves of nutrition and many other things in the name of being productive. The world applauds this and when you end up burning out, the world will find someone else to ruin.
I am writing this article in defense of sleep. Years ago, I bought a Casper mattress. This is not a product endorsement, but I bought that mattress because I wanted to get the most out of my sleep. Full confession, that Casper Mattress is my favorite spot on earth, as well it should be. What I am not so good at is keeping my phone out of my hand. I have gotten hooked on a mobile game called Among Us. That game costs me sleep and it may end up being a future article.
There are a lot of us out there who burn the candle at both ends. This is contrary to how God designed us. There are plenty of sources of stress in our world, stress that can follow us around if we are not careful. If we force ourselves to face those stressors while sleep-deprived, it can make molehills into mountains in a hurry.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Is the sleep I am giving up worth what I am doing? Occasionally the answer is yes, but more often than not the answer is no. I can remember a sign on the wall when I was a student at Ohio Northern that said every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two of every hour after. The older I get, the more true that statement sounds.
Rest is a gift from God and our bodies were designed by our Creator to need that rest. We need to prioritize sleep during the hours of the day designed for people to sleep. It is good for your health, but it is also good for your relationships because rest is a natural way to take the edge off of our frustration.
Sleep is good! There is no reason to deprive yourself of it.