By Jennifer Davis Rash
Managing Editor, The Alabama Baptist
Sleep — how much is enough? Why can’t we skimp on it here and there?
Rest — such unproductive time. Or is it? What does it really mean to rest? And how can we rest without feeling guilty?
Countless friends and family members have told me for years that I don’t get enough rest, that I’m not sleeping enough.
I admit when I have more than I can truly accomplish in 16 of the 24 hours in a day (which is often), the easiest thing for me to cut from my daily agenda is sleep.
And rest outside of sleep is pretty much nonexistent. Rest for me is sleep.
My mom has always said if I discovered 30 free seconds in a day, then I would make an appointment to fill them up. I think she might be right.
Skimping on sleep has been a way of life for me for most of my adult life. In fact, the clock just ticked past the midnight hour as I write this particular column.
I know it’s not healthy nor is it productive but I’ve not yet figured out how to balance it all — time with God, time with family, time with friends, work, household responsibilities, errands, church responsibilities, civic duties, community service, missions and ministry opportunities, etc.
How can we actually rest with so much weighing on us? And how can we possibly sleep away one-third of each day when there’s just so much to do?
It seems we are always running from one activity to the next, finishing up the laundry only to find the sink full of dishes, working late to wrap up a project and then attempting to buy groceries and run other errands before making it home just in time to kiss our spouse goodnight and quietly tap the laptop keys in an attempt to finish one more pending assignment.
Don’t get me wrong. I thrive on activity and love the challenge of trying to achieve all that is in front of me more productively today than I did yesterday. But living in overdrive, overdosing on adrenaline can’t possibly be the healthiest journey.
So how can we do it all with balance and proper rest?
One thing I have discovered these past couple of months since returning to somewhat of a consistent exercise routine is that the more I exercise, the more sleep I need. So exercising seems to be helping me sleep better, while getting enough sleep allows me to exercise better.
Proper exercise also leads to healthier eating and sharper mental capabilities, which helps me focus and be more productive so I can get more done in less time.
Amazingly it all seems to work together in somewhat of a domino effect.
The domino effect also works in reverse — lack of sleep hampers our ability to exercise and eating habits worsen. We need more sugar and caffeine to keep our energy up, and late-night snacking helps keep us awake to work on whatever project we are attempting to complete. And with all of this, we aren’t as sharp or focused. Thus we lose productivity and need more time to do what needs to be done.
If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of sleep and rest as well as how to get enough of each, then check out next week’s issue. We’ll have coverage on both. And in April, we’ll deal with time management and balancing life’s responsibilities.
I really want to hear from you on this issue and would love to share some of your stories. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also be sure to check out our blog at thealabamabaptist.wordpress.com.