It started years ago, long before the dawn of computers, long before I ever considered putting a single word into a story. I have always been an “early to bed – early to rise” person. When I was young, the perfect schedule for me was to hit the sack around 9:00 PM and get up around 5 or 5:30AM. However, at times, my sleep would get disrupted. A dog barking outside, a silly bird singing in the middle of the night, or a late phone call. And I was a light sleeper; it didn’t take much to disturb me. Every time it happened, I would fly into a fit of anger because I hated being awakened after I had fallen asleep. Once awake, I would be so mad I couldn’t go back to sleep.
After a while, it occurred to me that maybe God was deliberately waking me up. Maybe there was something valuable that I could do with that time at night. So I began to pray every time I was awakened. I realized this was the only time of day that I could truly focus without interruptions. The time suddenly became fruitful ………
Now, many years later, I routinely wake up during the night to write, read, or pray about something. The anger is long gone, but the tiredness is catching up with me. What I used to be able to do in my twenties and thirties is taking its toll on me in my fifties. I catch myself dozing at the most inopportune times.
Recently I read an article entitled 10 Reasons to go Back to Bed by Robbie Gonzalez. His words caught my attention and made me want to reconsider my sleep habits. Section #6 of the article especially struck a nerve:
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines a microsleep as an episode, lasting anywhere between a fraction of a second to half a minute, during which external stimuli are not perceived.
Your most memorable encounters with microsleeps have probably been while trying in vain to stay awake during a movie or lecture, your head jerking around like some droopy-eyed bobble-head doll; but micro sleeps are most dangerous when we don’t notice them at all. Have you ever driven through an intersection only to realize that you had no idea what color the traffic light was?
Yikes!! I confess…… this happens to me way too often, mostly at home or at my desk. Thankfully I’m not normally behind a steering wheel for long drives.
Read here for more on the article.
Matthew 8:24 (ESV)
24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.
I find it comforting to know that even the Son of God, in his physical state, needed rest so badly that he could sleep through a violent storm.
While it is true than I am very productive at night and I will probably never completely abandon that habit, I also recognize the need for more sleep. More mistakes happen when you’re tired. More arguments begin when you’re tired. More bad decisions are made when you’re tired.
As a Christian, I am reminded that my body is the temple of the Lord. I should not abuse it, even for the sake of something worthwhile.
As I write this, it’s 9:23 PM……. I think I will sleep tonight. Catch up on some much-needed zzzzzz’s. Maybe tomorrow night I will stay up again, but not tonight.
I’ll wish each of you a happy morning in advance. Here’s to a hot cup of java waiting in my kitchen. Grace and peace!!