In the contemporary world, increased productivity is characterized by continuous, non stop working schedules. Students spend time all night trying to cram for an examination in order to score good grades. Companies increase working hours for their employees; businesses even extend working hours to night time in order to increase productivity. However, what do all these add up to? The results is catastrophic. Students end up scoring poor grades, companies have reduced productivity, and businesses make huge losses. Productivity is NEVER achieved this way! Instead, productivity is achieved by resting adequately: daily through sleep; weekly by keeping the Sabbath holy, and annually by celebrating the feast of tabernacles. This is the reason why Christ said that the Sabbath was meant for man. Remember from the start that a rested person will accomplish more in less time and do it better, more effectively, and safely.
Welcome dear reader as we explore this insightful, yet deserted topic. Be sure to learn amazing facts about rest and specifically sleep.
FACTS ABOUT REST
- Tired minds are much more likely to make serious mistakes.
- Tired people become inefficient, slower, and less safe and make more mistakes.
- For peak cognitive performance and abundant energy we must celebrate the refreshing gift of sleep.
- When we are tired the ‘executive functions’ of our minds suffer. We become less effective at recognizing the choices that are available to us and less capable of deciding which of the choices is best. Our creativity is also reduced.
- Today, there is a ubiquitous intrusion of personal, social and cultural activities into that time that traditionally had been reserved for sleep. Meetings, dates, jobs, personal journeys, businesses and many more activities are scheduled at night. Consequently, attention spans are diminished, judgement is impaired, and our ability to carry out complex mental operations is reduced.
- Sleep deprivation leads to decreased performance similar to that which occurs when a person is under influence of alcohol. No wonder you may meet one staggering as though he/she is drunk, only to confirm that he/she is sleepy. This is fatal.
- Sleep deprivation leads to decreased body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. In addition, sleep deprivation leads to significantly higher levels of stress hormones cortisol and a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
When our brains are tired enough, we will go to sleep involuntarily. These short periods of rest are called micro-sleeps. Generally, micro-sleeps last from a fraction of a second to a second or two.
I f we are idly sitting in a chair, this usually causes no problem. However, assume we are operating a complex piece of machinery or carefully seeking to solve a multi-faceted problem, these momentary lapses could result in catastrophic outcomes.
QUANTITY OF SLEEP REQUIRED BY THE BODY
Seven hours of serious and uninterrupted night per night is enough to ‘get by on’. However, in order to attain optimal cognitive performance, most people need about eight hours.
If the night sleep is adequate, then it should remove most daytime sleepiness and provide a sense of calm well-being and alertness. Therefore, those who doze often during lectures or in the course of their duties have a remedy: get adequate sleep.
STAGES OF SLEEP
- Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement (NREM) stage
- Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) stage
Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement (NREM) stage
NREM is divided into four stages:
The first two stages are characterized by deviation from wakefulness. This is the stage when you’ve just fallen asleep, but not deep asleep.
The third and fourth stages are collectively called ‘slow-wave sleep’. This is the stage where you transit into deep sleep.
NOTE: It is during this period of deep sleep that the restoration and growth of body tissues occur and immunity to infection is strengthened. So you can imagine how much you lose if you interrupt your sleep during this stage.
Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) Stage
During this stage, the eyes move back and forth rapidly under closed lids as though looking from side to side, even though the person is sound asleep. Our dreams occur during this phase of sleep, although we usually recall very little of the dream content. Some people may sleep-walk, wet the bed, or grind their teeth during this phase.
NOTE: Memory organization and reorganization and refreshing memory, and many important and fascinating functions take place during this stage.
During a good night sleep, these two stages of sleep occur in approximately 90-minute cycle that are repeated four to six times during the night.
This is defined as the shape of the cycles of sleep stages as a measure of the restorative value of sleep. Good sleep architecture results in recuperative sleep, which enhances learning and improves productivity.
FACTORS IMPAIRING GOOD SLEEP ARCHITECTURE
- Irregular times for retiring and awaking.
- Worry and anxiety.
- Certain medications and alcohol.
- Eating just before going to bed.
TIPS TO GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
- Learn to value sleep. We never accomplish what we do not value and cherish.
- Establish aregular bedtime ritual (e. activity you do every day just before you get to bed) to get your mind and body know that you are preparing to sleep.
- Exerciseappropriately every day, at least four to five hours prior to retiring for bed.
- Establish regular time for rising and retiring, stick to them every day_ even on weekends.
- Use comfortable, firm bed, located in a quiet, cool bedroom¸ notmuddled with TVs, computers and exercise equipment.
- Eat lightly in the evening, several hours prior to bedtime.
- Avoid watching exciting or depressing TV programs or movies engaging in stressful events such as arguments, or making momentous decisions, soon or before bedtime.
- Avoid use of sleep medications, caffeine and alcohol, which disrupt normal sleep architecture.
- See your personal physician if you suspect sleep disorder or other medical condition.
- Put your trust in God. Give Him your worries and anxiety, for He cares for you.
NOTE: Today’s sleep builds tomorrow’s energy.
Ponder upon these questions to and think of how you have been perceiving Sabbath.
In what ways do you show that you value the rest that Sabbath offers? Should you use Sabbath hours to catch up on sleep debts from a week of bad choices? Or should you enjoy the same type of rest that God took after creation_ a rest from work in order to spend time in growing your relationship with God, family and community?