Rest and Restoration
Scripture: Genesis 2:15; Exodus 20:8-11; 23:12; Matthew 11:28-30 Mark 2:27; 6:30-32.
If you need some good reasons why it’s important to get your sleep, here are six from the ShapeFit website:1
1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body's killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
Now if you have trouble turning your mind off and getting that rest, consider avoiding these “sleep stealers” suggested by Dr. Joyce Walsleben:2
Nighttime computer and TV use. These actually stimulate your brain rather than relax it. Set an electronics curfew for the whole family.
Books in the bedroom. If reading before bedtime doesn’t ease you into sleep, then you should stop. Leave your books in another room, and make your bedroom an environment for sleep.
Late night work. Avoid doing work or paying bills at night—especially in the bedroom. These require too much concentration and are potentially stressful.
Spicy food and heavy meals. Eating spicy foods will actually raise your body’s temperature, and it needs to be cool in order to rest. In addition, these can cause heartburn that will become worse when you lie down, and can waken you in the middle of the night. Heavy meals are also hard to digest.
After-dinner drinks. Initially, alcohol acts as a sedative, but in the second half of the night sleep is often disrupted. The danger is that in time, your brain will develop a tolerance to alcohol’s sedative qualities.
Late to bed, late to rise. Shifting your sleep schedule on weekends throws off your circadian rhythm--the internal clock that programs your body to sleep and wake at regular times. For instance, if you sleep in an extra three hours, your body clock will be three hours ahead, and you won’t be ready for sleep at bedtime. “Many people jet lag themselves on the weekend. You may as well go to Paris and enjoy yourself,” says Walsleben.
But it’s all easier said than done, isn’t it? We may feel that we don’t have enough time for adequate rest, but considering the above facts, can we afford to not take time? Maybe we should stop viewing sleep as an interruption and view it as a gift. Jesus didn’t create us to go non-stop. He planned a nighttime rest after each busy day, as well as a bonus—a full day’s restoration once a week.