“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.”
The Cambridge Dictionary defines rest as “to (cause someone or something) to stop doing a particular activity or stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back your strength.”
Rest, composed of sleep, relaxation, reflection, and recreation, is as important to our health and wholeness as air, water, nutrition, and exercise. Proper rest can improve our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.
Relaxation can give us more energy, better sleep, enhanced immunity, increased concentration, better problem-solving skills, greater efficiency, decreased stress, emotional stability, and less headaches and pain.
Rest helps us recover from the work we have done, whether it is our vocation, avocation or training. A day off per week is required to allow bone, muscle, tendons, ligaments, brain, and organs time to recover and repair themselves.
Relaxation gives the heart a rest by slowing the heart rate. This reduces blood pressure and slows the rate of breathing, which reduces the need for oxygen, increases blood flow to the muscles, and decreases muscle tension. Sleep can also maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Rest keeps us healthy by keeping our immune response functioning properly. Sleep produces molecules that help strengthen our ability to fight infection. These help our cells repair and mend our body when we have been exposed to infectious microorganisms and toxins.
Sleep and rest help our brain repair itself and develop new connections, which are useful when we are learning new skills or adaptations. Memory, focus, concentration, and cognitive function improve with proper sleep and rest. Sleep also reduces the occurrence of mood disorders.
Rest can improve hormone balance. It lowers stress by decreasing abnormal levels of cortisol (stress hormone), increasing alertness, productivity, and general health maintenance. Proper sleep regulates hormones that control appetite and can aid in achieving optimal weight. It also reduces the chances of diabetes.
Rest and relaxation promote restoration and rejuvenation. Proper rest and sleep are critical for overall health and energy. During the day, the chief work of the body is done, but during the night, the body is revived, the muscles are built up, the brain tissue is restored, and the nerves are recharged. For growth and health, a sufficient amount of leisure and rest is essential.
Sleep is essential to maintain a well-balanced mind and healthy body. It allows your body to renew itself and aids in healing. Rest strengthens the immune system and can add years to your life. For healing and cleansing to occur much rest and sleep is needed as these actions are done only while asleep.
If deprived of adequate sleep, great demands are made on your backup energy resources, rendering them unable to rebuild and recharge adequately. If you do this habitually, you can expect to have little resistance to disease and stress and an increase in irritability, while creativity, concentration, and efficiency suffer.
Sleep deprivation impairs judgment, causing values and priorities to change. Continued loss of sleep can result in exhaustion, depression, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Losing as little as three hours of sleep in a single night can cut the effectiveness of your immune system in half.
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to numerous serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, inflammation and pain, and even early mortality.
There are a variety of things we can do throughout the day to lay the groundwork for better sleep at night.
- Engage in active exercise daily to best counteract mental and emotional fatigue.
- Find an outdoor activity you enjoy and can do every day—sunshine, exercise, and fresh air promote sleep. The sweetest rest follows labor. “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet.” Ecclesiastes 5:12
- Avoid caffeine, even during the day. It commonly causes insomnia. Avoid sleep aids that suppress REM sleep. Avoid alcohol. Skip TV viewing.
- Maintain a regular schedule for going to bed and getting up, even on weekends.
- An empty stomach promotes better sleep. Make evening meals light and eaten well before bedtime.
- Sleep in a totally dark room. Turn off devices at least two hours before retiring.
- Don’t rehearse the day’s problems at bedtime. Count your blessings and fill your mind with gratitude and thanksgiving. Take a warm bath. Drink herbal tea.
- Seek a relationship with God who can bear your anxieties and refresh your spirit. Read the Scriptures. Pray.
- Science has shown that “one day of rest per week” enhances work performance on the other six. Enjoy a Sabbath rest!
Try magnesium glycinate at the evening meal for physical and mental relaxation. Magnesium relaxes the muscles. Tension in the neck or shoulders and/or muscle twitches as well as leg and foot cramps could indicate a need for magnesium, which is depleted by chronic stress. Studies show that up to 80 percent of the population are low or deficient in magnesium.
Excerpts from drlesmoore.com; nutricoach.co.za; granitebaysda.org
“I know that from the testimonies given me from time to time, for brain workers, that sleep is worth far more before than after midnight. Two hours’ good sleep before twelve o’clock is worth more than four hours after twelve o’clock.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, 223
“Make it a habit not to sit up after nine o’clock. Every light should be extinguished. This turning night into day is a wretched, health-destroying habit.” Daughters of God, 177
“Give yourselves … give all that are under you the fullest amount of sleep they will take, by compelling them to go to bed at some regular hour, and to rise in the morning the moment they awake; and within a fortnight, nature, with almost the regularity of the rising sun, will unloose the bonds of sleep the moment enough repose has been secured for the wants of the system. This is the only safe and sufficient rule—and as to the question how much sleep one requires, each must be a rule to himself—great Nature will never fail to write it out to the observer under the regulations just given.—Dr. Spicer.” How to Live, 193
The Lord has encouraged us to work six days and rest the seventh. That is His plan for the proper balance between work and rest. “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2, 3
The ultimate rest is found in Jesus. Leave your burdens with the Lord and accept His peace and forgiveness. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29, 30