Rest . . . Can’t Skimp on it, Can’t Bank It

Rest . . . Can’t Skimp on it, Can’t Bank It

My precocious 4 year old great granddaughter was telling me about the seeds she had planted with daddy.  She had forgotten to water them that day, so we talked about how they grow. “Every day they need water and sun. It helps them stretch and grow little by little until they become what they were intended to be.” I told her.

“What happens at night?” Elisabeth asked.  “The seeds have to rest.” I said.  “Nothing can grow constantly.  It grows during the day and rests at night, so it can grow again tomorrow. “ She said nothing, but her big round eyes told me she was thinking about this.

How profound I can sound to a 4 year old.  Later I reflected on what I had said. When our lives become super busy, over-committed, with too many goals and “To Do’s”, we lose not only effectiveness, but more importantly: REST.

We cannot rest completely with too much unfinished business.  We will either put off sleep until too late for the natural rhythms to work properly, or we will lie there mentally continuing our day.  Night after night, we do just three more things instead of going to bed, thinking we will catch up on our sleep on the weekend or the holiday.

Here’s what I have learned about the resting period known as sleep :

  • Must be consistent, with an adequate amount each night.  Check out this link to see what the Washington Post found happens when you don’t get adequate rest, we’re talking diabetes, cancer and obesity.
  • Allows our cells to repair and rebuild Harvard Medical has a good article on this. It confirms the physiological changes that occur during sleep include rebuilding and repairing cells.
  • Heals our mind and spirit.  A great piece from Asia One expands on this. Our minds and spirits need to rest regularly.  The benefits are great and the lack affects our outlook and interactions with others negatively.
  • Frees our minds and thoughts, allowing us to regroup sufficiently for a new day.  So, how do we do this?  You must prepare your mind to be ready to rest, when your body is ready to rest.
  • Turn off the television at least an hour prior if you are a couch potato.
  • Tidy your space and lay out what you will need the next morning. It is freeing, with less to remember.
  • Take a bath or shower with a change into comfortable night clothes. It further sets the stage for resting.
  • Sip a cup of herbal tea and read meditational material.
  • If you journal, put down thoughts or commit your concerns to a list.
  • Open a window.
  • Use a fan, mood music or nature sounds for white noise.
  • Remove all light sources.
  • Finally, a little talk with your Creator always helps.  It should include thanks for the good things and lessons of the day, along with placing the impossible situations we all seem to have squarely in His hands for the night.
  • Gives time for our creative juices to replenish.  A mind freed of concerns to the fullest extent possible is free to create.  Unsolved problems by bedtime go into our subconscious.  During deep sleep, our amazing minds actually solve problems.  As you lazily come to wakefulness, there it is! The solutions fall into place. You wonder why you didn’t see it before!
  • Cannot be banked, to catch up another night.  Realize it.  You are in charge of yourself!!  Make a conscious decision to plan to sleep when you should be doing so. Everything will not ever be done.  Give yourself permission to go to bed.  Try the tips above to ready yourself.  Consistent rest is the only healthy rest.  You cannot “catch up later”.  Your body responds best to regular rhythms and spaces for all activities, including a regular, adequate time to sleep.
  • Will eventually make you sick.  Lack of adequate sleep creates stress to our whole body.  Our immune system also works to heal while we rest.  If we consistently get less sleep than we require, our immune system weakens.  We become susceptible to the colds and germs around us, that we might otherwise be able to resist.

Remember, like I shared with little Elisabeth, plants don’t grow 24 hours a day.  They need a dark place to rejuvenate.  So do you!

Do you over-commit?

Do you compulsively do too much before allowing yourself to rest?

Do you think that you can push, push, push, then instantly plop into bed and still sleep well?

Perhaps you have identified definite results in your own life that directly relate to your sleeping and rest habits.  Please share your experiences:

 

Anne

Anne

About Anne

The youngest of 8, I was born in a tiny town in the Keeweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan in the late 40’s. My minister parents died 6 months apart around the time of my 5th birthday. My older siblings raised us in the family home until all were graduated except me. Gradually only the boys remained, so at the age of 10 I moved to other homes. My childhood was rich with experiences that sparked my young imagination. When I finally read the Anne of Green Gables series, I totally identified with Anne. I have just celebrated my 46th anniversary with my dear husband, Lou. Our daughter, April, 4 grandchildren and one great granddaughter bring our family a lot of joy and reasons to be thankful. I have worked at O’Connor Mortuary since 1996 where I handle the accounting. The Mortuary has become extended family and it is a source of satisfaction as a job I thoroughly enjoy. We attend the Village Church and that is another wonderful extended family, one who not only worships and learns together, but loves and prays for one another at the drop of a hat. We live in a retirement community and enjoy taking our two dogs, a Bernese Mountain Dog and little Cocker Spaniel, to Dana Point Harbor for Sunday jaunts. I absolutely love participating in the Mortuary Blog. I have found my voice! Thanks for following me.
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  • Carrie Bayer

    Anne, thank you for a great reminder of how much we truly need to rest. I have taken to heart what you say here & will be re-evaluating where I dedicate my time & energy so that I can make my rest a priority. All to often, I find myself stretched too thin, accommodating other’s schedules rather than mine & packing too much into 1 day. No wonder I have been an insomniac for years! Thank you Anne, you’ve shown me the light! Carrie

  • Anne Collins

    Believe me, Carrie, I was preaching to myself! I struggle with this almost on a daily basis. No matter the reason not to, we will be worth more to ourselves, our goals and others if we rest when we should. Actually, I am trying to show you the dark! Haha. A dark room perfect for sleeping, that is! Thank you for sharing. Do you think any of the hints I gave would help your insomnia? That is horrible to deal with.

  • Joanne Milo

    OUTSTANDING!!! How easily we fall into stress patterns … not to mention influences from spouse’s stresses! You can also mention that short sleep is associated with weight gain! Many thanks and hugs!

    • Anne Collins

      Joanne, you obviously get enough sleep. You always look great!! I am looking forward to taking my own advice and maybe the weight thing will come into line more. All of it does boil down to stress, doesn’t it? Love your friend, Jeff’s comments on FB. He is a kick! Thanks for your comments.

  • Lori Bristol

    Anne,
    I must admit that as of late I have changed my routine drastically. I used to be in bed much earlier.
    Now if I am in the middle of a good book or a few games of Word Scramble on my phone, I keep watching the clock thinking, “Another hour won’t hurt”.
    You have shown me that it does hurt in various ways. I need to get back to a consistent rest/sleep routine.
    When I have a lot on my mind and have trouble falling into a good sleep I keep reminding myself to give it all to God. He knows what to do with it a lot more than I do.
    Love you,
    Lori

    • Anne Collins

      Lori, The attitude that a little longer doesn’t matter is really just not true, is it? We do fine for awhile, then everything starts to bother us, or we lose patience, or see the glass half empty or some other sign that we are not rested. God is the best place for those troubles, that’s for sure.
      and I love you. thanks for posting.

  • Naomi

    Great article. Lots of good information for all you folks who have such busy lives. When I retired, I went overboard on staying up as late as I wanted and sleeping in. That is my biological rhythm, which unfortunately does not match most of the people I know. Since I am sort of deaf too, sounds do not bother me unless they decide to mow the lawn early in the morning. Using a sleep mask keeps out the light because, you are right, you need darkness to really rest. Food for thought. Thanks!

    • Hi Naomi,
      Thank for your comments. I know you have a different rhythm, that’s for sure. Don’t know how you do it, but as long as you are getting your consistent rest then you should be fine. And darkness is a factor for deep sleep, so glad you use the mask. And if you didn’t have your crazy sleep habits, I would never get trees from you.
      Love you,
      Anne

  • Michelle

    Anne, I enjoyed reading this. You bring many valuable things to light that can help a person sleep better. After losing my hustand 7 years ago, I fell into a period of insomnia. I couldn’t sleep, this continued for several years. I gained weight, I got sick, all of the things you mentioned above. I finally sat down and tried to figure out why, I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier…. I realized that I was drinking way to much cafeine late at night, I was watching too many action TV shows and then trying to lay down to go to sleep, my mind would refuse to shut down. A few months ago, I broke the cafeine habit and removed that from my life entirely. I now stop watching TV 2 hours before bedtime, when I get ready for bed, I lay down, get out a book to read which is what relaxes me, I read one chapter turn off the lights and off to sleep I go within 10 minutes. Its a life changer for me. Insomina for 7 years and now I sleep 9 hours straight. Its a life changer….

    • Michelle,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Everything you said is textbook for what I was reading when I researched this sleep topic. I am so glad you posted. I think others can benefit from your experience. And now you have gone from insomnia to 9 hrs a night!! Carrie, if you are reading, check out Michelle’s post.
      All the best, and happy sleeping! Anne

  • Hi Anne –

    I value my sleep to say the least. I love taking naps. My life has changed so much in the last year that I have been going to bed much earlier and waking up much earlier too. My sleeping patterns have changed too, I use to be able to take a 2 hour nap, no problem. Now I am lucky if I can get a 30 minute nap in. Rest is so important! Thank you for the great reminder. If we don’t care for our selves who will? XOXO

    Neil

    • Thanks for your comments, Neil. Harder to get sleep sometimes, with little Jesse right? I am reflecting back to your blog, reminding us if we don’t put ourselves first, in the sense of taking care of our needs, we won’t have anything to give others. Maybe you were part of the inspiration for this topic. Rest is super important. I learned a lot myself while researching. XOXO Anne

      • Hi Anne –

        Actually Jesse Joe is a great sleeper, he will sleep from 7:30PM – 8:00AM most everyday. I am just getting old and my sleeping patterns have changed. I do love getting up early in the AM, as long as I get to bed before 10:00PM. So much for my past life of living the life of a single man. I would not trade it for anything, family life is a blessing.
        Neil

        • Neil,
          Yes, family life is a blessing and it looks so good on you. Having known you as a single man and seeing the peace you now obviously possess, I love seeing the difference. You also look rested…more than I do. I really was taking a subject I need to work on and go for it. The benefits of being well rested are all there for the taking. I am making a conscious effort to discipline myself and I feel better and better. Thanks… Anne

  • Amy

    I wish my body was able to rest. I am going to try some of your advice about drinking tea, reading meditation material and taking a warm shower to get relaxed. You don’t realize how tired you are until you take a look at your sleep pattern and schedule. I am hoping for some good nights of much needed rest.

    • Amy, How I hope it works for you. You are an amazing woman and yet I know your health could be better and you sure wouldn’t mind!! If better sleep can be gotten, I will bet it gives you a stronger immune system and probably a few more perks along with it. Let me know how it goes. Thanks for posting.

  • Hey Annie,
    You know there is obviously a reason the CIA ranks sleep deprivation as one of it’s top three interrogation tools. I’m afraid to ask what the other two are. Boy are you so right when it comes to this topic. Nothing gets repaired and rebuilt while in motion, nothing. It is so vital to our well being, that it could be the most important thing you do for yourself besides breath, drink and eat. OK, you have convinced me, I’m going to go take a nap…

    • Hey, Chuck
      It’s 2:17 pm according to your post…NO NAPS yet! Waterboarding was in the news last year or so a lot, so guess that is one. We all need that dark, quiet place for repair and rejuvenation. And then when we wake up, we can SMILE, right??

  • Kari Leslie

    Annie,
    Thanks for writing about sleep. I LOVE to sleep!! I think I’m made for living in Italy where the families go home in the middle of the day for a meal and a nap before returning to work or school. I appreciate all your information on how important it is for our health to get enough rest. Sometimes a quick 15 to 30 minute nap is all I need to feel like a new person. I will be looking into the articles that you posted for more words of wisdom.

    Kari

    • Thanks, Kari. When I read your FB posts, I can tell you have no problem with going to bed when you are supposed to. And when I see you, you are almost always cheerful, enthusiastic and joy-filled. This is a side-effect of being well rested as well as peace in your soul.
      I too have found that a quick recline at lunch, even if it is 10 minutes puts me on a fast-track for the afternoon jobs. When you get your villa in Italy, check to see what they have next door. I could handle it, too!!
      Hugs. Annie

      • Kari Leslie

        Absolutely!! We’ll be neighbors under the Tuscan sun!!
        Love you Annie!!

        • And sing “Mama Mia”! Love you, too!

  • Ash Detchman

    Avoiding all electronics at least one hour prior to trying to fall asleep is a very important key.
    One other thing I don’t see on here that folks can really benefit from is dedicating as little as 5 mins to giving yourself a nice stretch.
    Two quick stretches I enjoy before bed are a nice hamstring stretch:

    Sit facing a wall (or your headboard) with your butt about 6 inches away from it.
    Lie back and extend your legs up the wall.
    If this is too intense a stretch for your hamstrings, slide your butt farther away from the wall.
    If it’s not enough, scoot closer.
    Let your arms rest by your sides, palms facing up, and breathe gently, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs.
    **********
    Breathe

    **********
    Another squick easy stretch is the Childs Pose
    Sit up comfortably on your heels.
    Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you.
    Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
    Hold the pose and breathe.

    Focus your breathing to the sore areas in your body, it works wonders…….

    • Wow, Ash!! I have to try those. Thank you so much for specific feedback that I can try in addition to what I found and what others mentioned. I need you to show me the second one in person, though. I can’t picture exactly what I need to do.
      Hugs, Anne

  • Sharon Watkins

    Like I told you in person recently, thank you so much for this important reminder of how important rest is to our busy lives! It sure has made me stop and think about what my priorities are and how I prepare and take the time I need for rest. Thank you for sharing. Sharon

    • Anne Collins

      Sharon,
      thanks for taking the time to post. I know you are one busy lady, too. Proper rest makes it ALL go better, doesn’t it? So simple, but one thing we tend to ignore sometimes. Glad for the opportunities here and there to know you better.

  • GREG FORSTER

    Anne,
    I agree that we need self-discipline in order to make adequate rest a priority. Also, as we get older, our need for sleep, and rest along with it, change. It is important as you state, that our minds are prepared for rest. If our minds are troubled, we are emotional or worried, then we are not prepared for rest. Writing things down to get them off my mind if they are still “front and center” helps me and in turn gives me permission to put them mentally aside till later. I don’t have to worry about not forgetting them. Sometimes if I wake up at nite I will still write something down so that I do not have to remember it all nite long.
    I have always been envious of those who can nap. This I can only rarely do, nor can I sleep on airplanes. Good Luck to those who can.
    I learned a big lesson about sleep with the birth of my first son. For both of them, I did the night feedings and was the one who mostly got up at nite so that my wife could rest. Son number one, though, had cholic. I existed for many weeks getting up several times a nite. My son loved it, my wife and I felt we were “losing it” until we were able to correct the situation.
    As we get older and our lives and responsibilities get more complicated, more than ever, we need to make adequate rest a priority. And as we know, exercise helps to promote deeper sleep as long as we do it early enough before bedtime. In my single days, I tried working out at 11:oo PM. It was great, but at home, my mind was alive, sharp and ready to go. It took a lot to settle down, so not a good idea.

    Thanks for keeping us on track on this….and…have a very nice rest this evening!

    Greg

  • Greg,
    I absolutely love to read your posts to our blogs. You have such a way of expressing yourself. I think you are a writer at heart. I can’t nap in the daytime often either. I have to be down and out for the count before I actually sleep in the daytime, but find that a 10-20 rest is almost as good. Sometimes I do that at lunch, just to charge up and it is effective.
    Exercise or caffeine too deep into the evening affects me, also. My mind just doesn’t shut off.
    Thank you! I shall! You, too!

  • Posted this on my FB page, Anne. I”m following you now. My craft missions blog is above. I forgot to give that to you on FB. Blessings.

    • Welcome, Coleen. I am so glad to reconnect with you. I met another gal who is doing missions work in Bucharest for the last 14 years. Very sweet person. What a neat ministry she has there. She has her ladies doing jewelry with Swarovski crystals that they sell to help support her work. She works with unwanted babies and moms. Hugs and be safe! Anne

  • Fitz

    Anne,

    Your words are so true and are a great reminder of how rest and sleep keep us sharp both mentally and physically. I know, my back pain gets diminished the more rest and sleep I get….along with exercise.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Fitz

    • Anne Collins

      Fitz
      Thank you for reading my blog and commenting. I know you place a high value on health and well being and appreciate your time to make an observation.
      Hugs
      Anne