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5 True Ways Sleep Can Nourish Your Faith

5 True Ways Sleep Can Nourish Your Faith

Everyone can use more sleep. The workaholic who struggles under the weight of his workload can use more sleep; the nervous nelly who ruminates endlessly on all that can go wrong can use more sleep; the tech-addict who hangs on every ring, beep, and flash of her smart device can use more sleep. Why does it still elude us?

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  • What Happens When We Sacrifice Sleep?

    What Happens When We Sacrifice Sleep?

    When you consistently sacrifice sleep, you end up spending your waking moments in a foggy state of anxious irritation. Muddling through life in this ill-tempered daze reduces your productivity at work and at home, and ultimately affects the way you treat those around you. To make matters worse, when you scramble to stay afloat in the current of life by skimping on sleep, taking time to nurture your faith often sinks to the bottom of your to-do list.

    Please note, if you’ve taken steps to get adequate sleep but have been unsuccessful, you may have a sleep disorder requiring medical attention. Learn more here

    Most people know that getting enough rest benefits your physical health, explored more here by the Department of Health, but less discussed is how sufficient sleep can also benefit your spiritual health. Here are five ways that getting enough sleep nourishes your faith.

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  • 1. Prioritizing Sleep Shows Trust in God's Protection

    1. Prioritizing Sleep Shows Trust in God's Protection

    King David wrote Psalms about sleep, linking slumber to peace and safety: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). David knew that he could sleep peacefully because he was confident that the Lord would look over him when he slept and sustain him when he awoke (Psalm 3:5-6). 

    There are times when prioritizing sleep takes a brave assertion of boundaries and self-discipline. Your work demands may be overtaking your life or your worries about certain circumstances may be overtaking your thoughts, stealing precious hours of rest from you.

    No matter the issue driving you to sacrifice sleep, God promises that He has plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He further promises to grant you strength (Isaiah 41:10) and a way out of your unhealthy situation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    When you choose to take an earnest step back from the circumstances stealing your slumber and prioritize rest, you place your trust in God’s promise of protection. In addition, more sleep may give you the clarity you need to see God’s promised path out of despair. 

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  • 2. Getting Adequate Sleep Honors God's Creation of Us as Embodied Souls

    2. Getting Adequate Sleep Honors God's Creation of Us as Embodied Souls

    When God created mankind, He didn’t just fashion us to be souls dwelling on this Earth — He made us to be embodied souls. Like any other vehicle, our bodies will break down if not well-maintained. If you consider what you need to keep your body healthy, those necessities include nutritious food, clean water, appropriate shelter, and adequate sleep.

    Just as you wouldn’t deny yourself proper food, water, and shelter, it’s equally important not to deny yourself proper sleep, which the Lord required for your body to function properly.

    To show us how important rest is, God modeled the balance we should have between work and rest by resting Himself after He finished creating the heavens and the Earth (Genesis 2:2). God certainly didn’t need to rest. Rather, God chose to rest to show us that we should set time apart to stop toiling and recharge.

    When you make time for sleep, you honor the way that God created you as a physical being with basic needs to survive, including adequate downtime. Moreover, proper amounts of sleep revitalize the vehicle that houses the most essential part of you — your soul — which Scripture tells us belongs to God (Ezekiel 18:4). 

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  • 3. Sleeping Sufficiently Helps You Keep the Sabbath Holy

    3. Sleeping Sufficiently Helps You Keep the Sabbath Holy

    In the frantic rush of the workweek, many people catch up on sleep on the weekends. If you’re especially sleep-deprived, you may even talk yourself into sleeping in on Sundays, placing church attendance on the backburner until you “have more time” for it. Many Christians with a lopsided work-life balance get ensnared by this type of thinking.   

    The Lord created us to have fellowship with each other. The Bible is clear that we, united as Christians, form the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Our faith is communal by nature, as Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father,” and not individually to “my” Father (Matthew 6:9). The Bible is also clear that we’re to observe the Sabbath as God’s holy day and as a day of “sacred assembly” (Exodus 20:8-10; Leviticus 23:3). 

    By going to church on the Sabbath, you follow God’s command to keep the Sabbath holy. In addition, attending church allows you to act as a member of the one body of Christ by banding together with fellow Christians to hear God’s Word, sing His praises, break bread, and enjoy fellowship with one another in His Name.

    One significant way to manage your time so that Sundays become less about catching up on z’s and more about catching up with your church is to get sufficient sleep during the rest of the week.

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  • 4. Surrendering to Sleep Shows Humility to God's Will

    4. Surrendering to Sleep Shows Humility to God's Will

    Scripture tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). God’s love for us is unquestionably evident in His sacrifice of His one and only Son for our salvation (John 3:16). Our Heavenly Father promises that if we cast our burdens on Him, He’ll sustain us and never permit His righteous children to be moved (Psalm 55:22). Jesus also beckons us to find rest by laying down our burdens before Him (Matthew 11:28). 

    Obediently surrendering your cares at the foot of the Cross acknowledges that you’re not the one reigning over your life, God is. This choice to allow yourself to sleep and give your troubles up to the Lord shows humility, as we hand over our worries and need for control.

    Christ showed us the significance of surrendering to God’s will when He taught us to pray that our Father’s will be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). 

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  • 5. Sleeping Enough Helps You Treat Others According to God's Command

    5. Sleeping Enough Helps You Treat Others According to God's Command

    If you’ve ever snapped at someone who didn’t deserve it because you were in a sleep-deprived huff, you’re further proof of the medical finding that the amount of sleep you get influences your relationship with others.

    It may surprise you to learn that one of the best places to look for relationship advice is the Bible. Scripture sagely warns us that, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus also advised us to care for the state of our thoughts and feelings, for “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34). 

    Like any parent, our Father wants us to care for one another. Scripture tells us to love our neighbors by showing each other justice, kindness, and humility (Matthew 22:34-40; Micah 6:8). Studies show that, in giving your body the sleep it needs, you reduce stress, think more clearly, and make better decisions, all of which improves your mood and, thereby, the mood with which you interact with others. These heightened good spirits clear the way for treating others with the justice, kindness, and humility that God wants to see among His children.

    In the race to “do it all,” you may have relegated sleep to the backseat and, alongside it, your connection to your faith. Prioritizing sleep helps you to be your best Christian self by giving you the clarity you need to more effectively balance your obligations in this temporary world with your obligations to our eternal God. 

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    Dolores Smyth writes about her life’s passions—faith and family. Her work has appeared in numerous publications. You can follow her work on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth.


    Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.