Confession: I used to resent the fact that I had to sleep.
I knew it was sort of important and that I was generally less cranky when I could get more of it. But beyond that, it was a major inconvenience.
I’ve had a few attitude changes the last couple of years about my approach to rest and the way God made me. And now, most nights, I get at least eight hours and I’m like a different person.
I’m a big believer in the importance of sleep as an integral part of our self-care and overall health. That’s why when James Ronaldowski emailed me and asked if he could write a guest post about it, I was all ears.
So with no further ado, here’s what he has to say about why sleep is so important to your health. I hope you find it helpful!
Related Post: 11 Daily Self-Care Ideas + Checklist
5 Reasons Why Sleep Is So Important for Your Health
If you are a parent then you understand how important sleep is for your health. (And even if you’re not, this article still applies to you). Sleep keeps you from going crazy, am I right? But, have you ever really thought about why it is so important?
Sleeping can change your mood. It can improve your day. It can enhance your life (well, not really, but kind of). Here are the main reasons that you should be getting more sleep:
1. Sleep Helps You Maintain a Healthier Bodyweight
It really is true. You get to be lazy and lose some weight. People who sleep poorly gain more weight. When you get enough sleep, you are more motivated to exercise; you don’t overeat, your hormones are not as wild (and we all know what happens when our hormones get out of control).
Taking the time to get enough sleep is just as important as working out and eating well. Check out this study on sleep deprivation, and hopefully the scientific details will not send you to sleep (or maybe that is a good thing).
2. Sleep Makes You Happy
This may seem like common sense. You don’t get enough sleep, and you wake up grouchy. You get a full night of slumber, and you wake up as Snow White, but it goes deeper than that.
On the surface, sleep makes us happy, but if we dig deeper, if really get into those brains of ours, you will find that sleeping can ward off depression. I don’t want to be depressed. You don’t want to be depressed. I think it is time for a nap.
3. Sleep Makes You Immortal
I am bending the truth slightly again, but more time spent in the Land of Nod means more time spent on this Earth. Just do not spend too much time there. That can be bad for you also. Aim for the golden slumber time of 7-8 hours.
Don’t believe me? Read this about how your lifespan is connected to the amount you sleep.
4. Sleep Makes You Faster, Stronger and Smarter
I am pretty sure that I get a lot of sleep. Athletes who sleep longer at night are more focused and less fatigued when it comes time to compete.
College students are infamous for sleeping the day away because they’re up all night, but they could also be sleeping their lives away. Constant lack of sleep can affect your focus and make it harder for you to learn.
Note from Gina: since parenthood is the ultimate endurance sport, moms who get more sleep are also more focused and less fatigued.
5. Sleep Time Is Repair Time
The human body is a wonderful and magical thing. It has a unique ability to heal and repair itself, but it cannot do this thoroughly when you have so much going on throughout the day. Your downtime at night is when your body really gets to work.
Think about a mechanic with a car. The mechanic can only work on the car when it is in the garage. Your dreams are your garage. As long as you are there, the mechanic can do their work.
So, What Does That Mean for Me?
It means that you need to get enough, good-quality sleep every night. I know that you have a million things to do each day, but setting aside enough time for rest will help you get all of that done.
The key is time, location, and tools. Make sure you have enough time. Makes sure the location is peaceful and quiet. Make sure that you have a good bed (check out some review websites that we found usual while doing research).
All of your dreams come true when you make time for them, both figuratively and metaphorically.
Thanks, James! Gina here again—so I’m going to jump in and add: I know that it’s hard to put this into practice when kiddos are keeping you up late and then turning around and waking you up at the crack of dawn. Don’t beat yourself up about it; sometimes just recognizing that you have permission to make sleep a priority is motivation to make time for more of it.
I’ve got some practical suggestions to make it work: Always Tired? How To Choose Rest for Your Body.
Want to grow in Christian self-care? Be sure to check out this self-care toolkit.
Your turn to join the conversation: do you get enough sleep? What’s a simple way you could add a few more minutes to your nightly time to recharge?
Guest bio: James R. Ronaldowski is a huge soccer fan! During the weekends when he is not working he spends time teaching his kids how to play soccer. Besides being a huge sports fan, he loves to read books and go on mini-vacations.