Ever since we were young children we’ve heard mothers tout the importance of sleep – but the explanation of sleep’s importance has generally been lacking. There are reasons why sleep is important – I’ll share four below.
As a Neuropsychologist in my private practice, I have found that one of the most overlooked and undervalued contributors to our health is our sleep schedule.
I attribute this to our superhuman mentality that we just need to get one more thing done before we turn off the light and put a close to the day. But maybe, just maybe, our lack of reverence for a good night’s sleep comes from a lack of understanding of the true importance.
At the risk of getting too technical and putting you to sleep, I want to help shed some light on what makes sleep such a crucial factor in our health maintenance.
4 Reasons Why Sleep Is Important
1. Sleep gives our brain the chance to repair itself.
Our brains produce neurotransmitters which are chemical signals from one part of the brain to another. These chemicals are responsible for helping to regulate our moods, balance hormones, sustain attention and concentration, and more.
Our brains do most of their repair work during our sleep. The greatest amount of repair work is done during the early stages of sleep, and since infancy, our brains have an expectation of our body’s normal sleep-wake cycle. So staying up late to cram for a test or finish a tax return jeopardizes the sleep schedule our brain relies on for maintenance, whereas sleeping in in the morning just rests our physical body.
2. Sleep allows God the opportunity to refresh and sustain us.
David shared of his experience in Psalm 3:5,
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again,
because the LORD sustains me.”
I find it astonishing that rest, as in physical rest, is referred to in the Bible over 100 times.
3. This suggests that God places a high priority on rest.
He placed such a high priority on rest, in fact, that he set a Godly example for us when He rested on the seventh day.
“And on the 7th day, God ended His work which He had made;
and he rested on the seventh day from all his work
which he had made.”
4. God afforded us the opportunity for sleep, not just to experience physical rest, but to experience His peace and safety.
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid,
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
If you think about it, God created our bodies in such a way that it is impossible for us to fall asleep in the midst of physical danger. And yet, when we are able to let ourselves sleep, we can rest in His provision of safety knowing that God never sleeps.
During the most difficult trials in my life, I was quickest to sacrifice was my sleep. When my husband went through a health crisis and then a reduction in force with his corporation, I jumped in and just did more.
The more I did, the less I slept until things got out of hand and I had worked myself into a schedule of sleeping less than four hours of sleep each night. Looking back on it, I can’t tell you how I did it. By nature, I’m a night owl living in a day job kind of world.
Unfortunately, it took its toll on me, my physical health, and my emotional well-being.
In honor of my commitment to take better care of myself and be more physically and mentally present for my family, I also had to commit to making sleep a higher priority than it had been.
As you make your physical and emotional health a higher priority, how can you commit to taking a step toward a more consistent sleep schedule?
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