Does it really matter how much sleep I get? If I stay up late, I can get all kinds of things done. What are some of the things that you tell yourself about sleep?
Sleep (noun) ” a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/sleep)
A few months ago I read the book, Why We Sleep. I read it based on the recommendation of someone. My disclaimer for the book is that the author believes in evolution and throughout the book talks about how humans have evolved to this point.
Why We Sleep
The book was full of studies of what happens when people do not get enough sleep. There were studies of how after learning something people then sleep and how the sleep helped them to retain what they had learned. One study showed how the lack of sleep impaired reactions for driving at the same level as alcohol.
I thought I would share some of the things from that book. But also some truths from the Bible regarding sleep. Some of this might not be new.
We do need sleep. The goal should be eight hours.
Sleep helps us physically boosting our immune system. It also reduces injury risk for athletes. I found that section fascinating to read about the performance of athletes relating to sleep.
I remember when I was working in Taiwan the work hours were long and sleep was not always important. The author advocates that employees should be rewarded for sleep because as a result of sleep they will be more productive.
“Sleep has proven itself time and again as a memory aid: both before learning to prepare your brain for initially making new memories, and after learning, to cement those memories and prevent forgetting.” (page 109)
If you can’t sleep, get up and do something that will help to relax you.
Get exercise outside in the sun late morning. This helps with the cyclical nature of our days.
Put screens away two hours prior to going to bed. For me that means I need to have a real book to read in the evening instead of reading on my iPad.
Sleep in the Bible
The first mention of sleep in the Bible was when the Lord put Adam to sleep and created woman. (Genesis 2:21)
A deep sleep fell on Abram. While asleep God speaks to him foretelling what will happen to his offspring. (Genesis 15:12) God had already given Abram the promise but reminding him.
It was while Samson was sleeping that Delilah cut his hair. (Judges 16:1-22)
God calls to Samuel while he was lying down. (I Samuel 3). I think that is a time when we are quiet and still.
David spares Saul’s life when he was sleeping. (I Samuel 26)
Being awake at night at times can be part of God’s plan. That happened to the king. He couldn’t sleep so he had the book of memorable deeds read to him. He remembers what Mordecai had done. (Esther 6:1)
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (ESV) We can sleep when we feel safe and that comes from the Lord.
We are warned not to sleep if we have done something wrong to your neighbour. (Proverbs 6:1-4)
Ecclesiastes 5:12 sleep is sweet to the labourer. I agree with that. At the end of a busy day of work it is sweet to go to bed and sleep.
Sleep is also used in the Bible to refer to those to death.
There are also numerous passages about dreams in the Bible. God often spoke in dreams.
So a quick summary. God is the one who gives sleep and there are times that he keeps us awake. We were created to need sleep. God does not need sleep (Psalm 121:4) but we need it. Get the sleep that you need.
Are you getting the sleep you need?