Life is short. Stay awake for it. So goes the tagline for the second largest coffee franchise in America. It's catchy and practical. Drink our coffee, it suggests, not merely for its taste, but for its benefits, that is, to be awake to life. And the reason being -- here comes the resonating connection -- life is short. The clock is ticking. Our days are numbered. And we Christians agree (Psalm 90:10; 103:15–16; James 4:14).
Life is too short to sleep all the time.
But life is also too short not to sleep a large part of the time.
The fact is humans need sleep, between 7–8 hours a day. But most of us aren't getting it. According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation is epidemic. In the last week articles and infographs have been circulating the web with convincing evidence that this is the real deal.
In addition to that content, here are three reasons why you should get some sleep.
1. God created you to require sleep for a healthy life.
In a sense, this highlights the most intuitive reason why we need sleep: to survive. Most of us (not all of us) know from experience that going without ample sleep has drastic effects on us physically and emotionally. The latest study claims that going just one night with less than six hours of sleep may alter our genes and cause several side effects -- from a higher chance of catching a cold to the loss of brain tissue.
But perhaps the most shared result is that without enough sleep we're "more likely to get emotional." Now we know how to fill in that generic term. Without enough sleep, we are more easily stressed and frustrated. Our capacity for patience dissipates. Lack of sleep is a sucker-punch to our ability to listen and think creatively, and therefore be productive.
Personally, one of the toughest things during my time in seminary was sleeplessness (and I think I got more than most guys). David Mathis and I don't mention sleep in our little book How to Stay Christian in Seminary, but it could easily merit its own chapter. Days that followed only a few hours of shut-eye often meant the Hebrew was harder and our home was unhappy. But a good night of sleep was like its own mini-vacation, and it still is.
God created us this way. Just like oxygen and food, we need sleep to work right. It won’t look the same for everyone, and some are in situations where their care for others inhibits a solid snooze, but know for sure that we need sleep. It was God’s idea.