REST - Why do we need to rest?

Why do we need to rest?

Think of sleep like eating. When we get the right amount of food, we feel great. Too little we are still hungry, too much we feel full and uncomfortable. Just like eating, when we don't get enough sleep, we are tired and cranky and too much we feel lazy and not motivated. Get the right amount of rest, and you will feel terrific! 

Sleep is essential to maintain both physical and mental health. It is necessary to understand that during sleep, our bodies are busy repairing, becoming stronger, and processing memories and events. Sleep allows the body to consolidate and solidify all the occurrences that have happened during the day. Adequate sleep gives us improved memory function and gives our physical bodies the chance to repair damage obtained during the day.


What happens without rest (sleep)?

When you don't have enough sleep, your immune system suffers, and the body is not able to fight off illness when exposed. Not enough sleep is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and some forms of heart disease. When we don't have enough sleep, we are unable to think, have poor memory, and it is difficult to make appropriate and rational decisions. 

A study on over 20,000 adults revealed that a lack of sleep was associated with increased weight gain. In turn, it can be an additional factor for the onset of type two diabetes and other health issues. 

For children, sleep is crucial. Without adequate sleep, there is a significant likely hood of behavioural issues, inability to learn at school and eventually can attribute to mental health problems. During the teenage years, lack of sleep increases high-risk lifestyles.


What does rest do?

During sleep, we have a pattern of two types of sleep that alternate, called REM (Rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). NREM is the first stage, which has three components to it. N1 is the stage between being awake and falling asleep. N2, when your temperature drops, and heart rate and breathing are regular and N3, which is the deepest and most restorative part of sleep. During N3, your blood pressure and heart rate drop and your muscles relax. During this time, there is an increased blood supply to the muscles, which will repair and regrow muscle tissue and restores energy. There are several hormones released, such as the growth hormone which helps you grow and develop. 

REM is the second stage and is about 25% of your sleep; during this time, energy is restored. It is essential for excellent mental performance during the day. All of your muscles are turned off, and it is during REM sleep that you dream. 

Sleep helps your body to repair and your brain to have better memory and thought processes.


How to get adequate and appropriate rest?

Due to our fast-paced lifestyles, most people in western society do not get enough sleep. 

The recommended sleep hours are; 

  • Newborns (0-3months) 14-17 hrs 
  • Infants (Under 12 months) 12-15hrs 
  • Toddler (1-2yrs) 11-14hrs 
  • Preschool (3-5yrs) 10-13 hrs 
  • School-age (6-13) 9-12hrs 
  • Teenager (14-17) 8-10hrs 
  • Young adult (18-25) 7-9hrs 
  • Adult (26-64) 7-9hrs 
  • Older Adult (64+) 7-8hrs 


These hours are variable, and slightly more or less is not an issue. 

To obtain proper rest have regular hours for sleep. 

Remember that "sleep is worth far more before than after 

Midnight. Two hours of sound sleep before midnight is worth

more than four hours after midnight. " 

Manuscript Releases, volume 7, p. 224. "Give yourself proper time to sleep. They who sleep give nature time to build up and repair the weary waste of the organs." (Ellen White).


Sleep deprivation

When the body is deprived of sleep, it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately. There is 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 three hours of sleep in a single night can cut the effectiveness of your immune system in half.


Effect of Screen before sleeping

In this society, we tend to overuse our mobile phones, TV, and other devices. The light emitted from these devices is called blue light and interrupts the release of melatonin (a hormone which helps us sleep). In an ideal situation, when it begins to get dark, put away your phone and devices, and switch off your TV. In reality, give yourself 1.5 hrs of screen-free time before bed. Aim at reducing significant stressors in your life. These things cause mental tension and disrupt natural sleep patterns.  


The essential part of real rest?

 Be at peace with yourself and others. 

"A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust. Your hope is not in yourself; it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might. Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection of His character.."—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 70

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