You Need Sleep!
Sleep is a gift from God. It’s one of his most wonderful gifts to us—when we receive it as he intended us to receive it. It does us so much good, but there are so many of us who don’t know what it’s like to live having had good sleep and to be well rested. It’s a different dimension of living and existing that many of us have forgotten. If we refuse God’s good gifts, we’re going to suffer.
If we refuse God’s good gifts, we’re going to suffer.
Part of that suffering is physical. There is unquestionable research showing the link between sleep deprivation—which is defined as a six hours or less per night over a period of time—and physical causes. The body begins breaking down; heart disease, cardiovascular problems, arthritis, and diabetes risks increase. Emotionally, men get very irritable, and mentally, they lose focus. Sleep is so vital for memory work—it’s as if sleep solidifies the day’s memories, so if you’re not getting sleep, that’s not happening. Sleep has been called the washing machine of the brain: the brain needs sleep to wash out damaging chemicals and to squirt in good chemicals for another day.
There are also social consequences. Sleep deprivation is responsible for over one hundred thousand auto accidents per year, and fifteen hundred deaths per year. If we’re not sleeping, we’re actually not loving our neighbors—we’re putting other people at risk. Some of the big disasters have been traced back to lack of sleep. For example, the Challenger space shuttle disaster, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the 2013 Bronx train derailment—they’re all traced back to operator error due to lack of sleep. So sleep is part of loving your neighbor.
There is also a moral component here, a spiritual component. Don Carson said that, at times, the most godly thing you can do is not pray all night, but sleep all night. John Piper said that, for him, sleep is not just a matter of health, it’s a matter of staying in ministry.
So here’s this great gift of sleep and we say, “Oh, thanks, but I don’t need it,” and then all these consequences follow. We’re called to embrace and receive this as a wonderful gift of God and to know the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social benefits of it.
Living a balanced life does not mean doing everything in moderation; rather, it means being obedient in every area of life.
Justin Taylor sits down with David Murray to discuss his new book.
We need to know the message so we can live it, speak it, communicate it.