I’ve blogged in the past about sleep (click here for that post). I assumed this week I’d sit down and reiterate the importance of sleep and yadda yadda.
Just search “effects of not sleeping enough” on Google and you’ll have plenty of articles to entertain yourself with. Yesterday I picked up a “PreventionGuide” from Prevention Magazine and read this on one of the pages:
Sleep loss is hazardous to your diabetes. After lack of sleep for two nights, people in one study had more of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin and less of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. That makes you more likely to overeat and crave refined carbs, which deliver a quick hit to your blood sugar.
Worse, lack of sleep makes you less able to process glucose. After just 6 days of sleep restriction, people develop insulin resistance, say researchers at the University of Chicago.
Now while it’s hazardous to diabetes, I mean, the results of poor sleep sound hazardous for EVERYONE.
And it’s because they are.
There’s also spiritual ramifications. I’m going to let C.J. Mahaney break it down for you:
Another significant end-of-the-day entry to put into practice before you doze off: Receive the gift of sleep from God and acknowledge His purpose for sleep.
My wife, Caroyln, and I have been married for thirty grace-filled, passionately romantic years, and for the first twenty-seven of those years we slept on the original bed frame and box springs that we started with. At night we just kind of tumbled in together and met in the middle; it was like a water bed without any water.
Before we finally got rid of it, there were moments when I stopped and stared at that bed. I knew that on average we all spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, and so I was struck by the fact that about nine years of my life had been spent in that bed. Nine years!
I was struck also by the fact that Scripture talks about those nine years. Do you realize how often sleep is referred to in Scripture? We shouldn’t be surprised at this, because God is sovereign over all of life, as David declared: “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). God created and provided sleep. So for the remaining years that I’ll spend in bed, I am determined to keep a biblical perspective of sleep; therefore, I want to glorify God each night as I close my eyes.
Too many Christians fall asleep night after night without being informed and inspired by what Scripture teaches on it. Many of us have never considered our sleep from God’s perspective, though we profess to love and serve Him; our practice and perspective regarding sleep are no different from that of non-Christians. This needs to change.
A Christian, informed and inspired by Scripture, views the cessation of work each day, the limitation God places upon work each day, and the laying down of sleep each night, as altogether a gift from God. A gift so graciously provided in His lavish generosity. And those who neglect this gift will inevitably suffer consequences.
The benefits of sleep are obvious. As we sleep, strength is restored, the mind is cleared, and we’re prepared to serve God another day – to rise and experience His mercies that are new every morning. What a wonderful gift to be given on a daily basis!
The fact is, God could have created us without a need for sleep. But He chose to build this need within us, and there’s a spiritual purpose for it. Each night, as I confront my need again for sleep, I’m reminded that I’m a dependent creature. I am not self-sufficient. I am not the Creator. There is only One who “will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4), and I am not that One.
Sleep is a gift, but it’s a humbling one. It’s a matter of only hours, at most, before you’re ready to again receive God’s gift of sleep. When that time comes, let me encourage you to pray something like this: “Lord, thank You for this gift. The fact that I’m so tired is a reminder that I am the creature and only You are the Creator. Only You neither slumber nor sleep, while for me, sleep is something I cannot go without. Thank You for this gracious, humbling, refreshing gift.”
A gift from God.
I’m going to end today with my personal thoughts/truths on sleep/tired.
And a Challenge.
- I choose to not get enough sleep. I choose to overbook my schedule and stay out late, or I choose to be on Facebook, or I choose to watch TV, or I choose any number of things and justify it with any number of excuses. The bottom line is that I choose to stay up late, knowing full well what my life commitments are that will require me to be up in the morning at a certain time. My lack of sleep and all the consequences thereof are my choice 99% of the time.
- When I choose to not get enough sleep, I am choosing to set myself up for hardship and suffering. It’s silly when I sit here and type this out because as a believer and follower of Christ, I already KNOW I can expect suffering. I can expect trials. So why in the world would I willingly choose to also self-inflict this through something as simple as just going to bed? Being tired is hard on my mind, my body, and my emotions. Fact.
- The enemy and his forces do not want me to sleep well. He wants me to selfishly waste my time at night so I’m less effective the next day. He’s good at convincing me (and/or I’m good at convincing me) that it’s not “selfish”. I call it “me-time” and “deserved” time. Isn’t my time always better after a good night’s sleep? When I have energy and focus?
- Getting appropriate sleep in a culture that no longer values it is a battle. This lack of sleep does matter. It probably matters more than you or I can fathom or put into words. It doesn’t take a lot of looking to see how the culture I live in no longer values sleep. Between demanding jobs and every gadget imaginable with a screen attached to it, it’s easy to see how sleep gets put on the back burner night after night after night. It’s a battle, I need to stand firm in the fight and stop getting knocked over.
The question is, are we willing to admit our need for sleep, the gift that it is, and make the changes required to have it?
My challenge to myself and everyone this week is this: For ONE WEEK make sleep a priority. Give up or do whatever you need to do to ensure you are getting healthy amounts of sleep. Research what healthy sleep is. Research ideas of how to wind down and be prepared and ready for sleep at the end of the day. For one week make this commitment, and see what difference it makes in your overall day by the end of the week. I believe the Lord will prove what a wonderful gift sleep is to His people, His creation.
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