Psalm 127 tells us that sleep is a gift of God. Ask any mother of a baby how welcomed it is when the little one finally goes to sleep. In fact, it is common wisdom that a new mom should sleep when her baby sleeps to ensure that she is well-prepared to address all the needs of the new addition to the family. Nothing can make those first few weeks and months more challenging than a woman getting insufficient sleep.
Why we fight sleep would make for an interesting study. I know that I now relish naps that I resisted as a child. That said, I paid little attention as I was raising and educating my children to my need for ample sleep. I would convince myself that I was doing important things as I stayed up late. But Psalm127:2 tells us that it is vain to burn the candle at both ends. Whereas the effects are not always immediate, I now know that the weight gain I experienced over the course of twenty years had much to do with not getting enough sleep.
Now my regimen is making 10:00 P.M. the time I endeavor to be in bed. I don’t always make it, but by the time 11:00 P.M. rolls around, I usually have done so. This practice has made setting an alarm clock unnecessary, as I usually wake up around 5:00 A.M. or so. You might think that too early, but it is a natural waking up. My body has had enough rest and is ready for the day ahead. Especially in the winter months when it is still dark outside, I have come to cherish the opportunities for good conversation with my Lord and Savior.
Psalm 5:3 reads,
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Lying in my bed, having woken from a restful full-night’s sleep, I can bring my praises, problems, and petitions to the Lord. I can plan out my day, committing it to His care and direction. What’s more, without the tyranny of the urgent, I can go to the Word for guidance and instruction, and calmly begin my day before the cares and concerns of my family demand my attention.
Proverbs 31:15 reads,
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
It may have taken me decades to figure this all out, but I am grateful that I have made this very important change in how I live my life. While it is true that my improved health has much to do with diet and exercise, I’m convinced that by receiving the gift of sleep as the Lord’s beloved that my labors for His Kingdom will not be in vain.