"I know 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, volume 7, p. 224. Likewise 1
hour of sleep before midnight is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep after midnight.
"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).
"The number of hours of sleep generally needed varies with circumstances The average is seven to nine. In general one should sleep when sleepy and not try to sleep more. Growing children require more sleep than grown-ups." (Ellen White).
"Ones best sleep is with the stomach practically empty. It is true that food puts one to sleep at first, by diverting blood from the head; but it disturbs sleep later. Water, unless it induces bladder-action during the night, or even fruit, may be taken without injury before retiring. If one goes to bed with an empty stomach, he can often get along well with six or seen hours sleep, but if he goes to bed soon after a hearty meal, he usually needs from eight to ten hours sleep...It has already been pointed out that sleeping outdoors is more restful than sleeping indoors." How to Live, pg. 120-121. (Ellen White).
During a day of work and activity, toxins build up in our system which cannot immediately be thrown off. These toxins product fatigue—that well-known weariness at the end of the day. Sleep gives the body time to expel wastes and to make repairs.
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.
"The stomach, when we lie down to rest, should have its work done, that it may enjoy rest, as well as other portions of the body. The work of digestion should not be carried on through any period of the sleeping hours."—Ellen G. White, Healthful Living, p. 84
"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
Hours between Meals
“At least five or six hours should intervene between meals.” The Ministry of Healing p364.
If you have suffered from serious lack of sleep or insomnia, you will know what that foggy-headed, slow motion, lethargic feeling is like. Not only will you feel sluggish but your ability to concentrate, think, react and recall information will be greatly diminished. Your entire body feels as though it is working in slow motion and even though you might attempt to correct the problems by ingesting some type of stimulant like sugar loaded caffeinated beverages, the problem is still there, and your body fights and struggles to cope. All these reactions are in some way related to our brain function and the real antidote or solution to the problem is sleep. Sleep is necessary and vital for our brain and body to function properly and the lack of it will lead to poor performance and even memory loss.
The reason why we sleep for so long, remains a mystery. Most of what we do know about it comes from understanding it backwards: though we don’t know why we sleep, we do know that when we don’t sleep, our health will soon suffer. Like refueling a car or taking a drink of water, it’s thought that sleep refreshes your body and helps to restore the energy that you’ve used up during the day. Dr. Neil B. Kavey, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City said that “ sleep is the time when your body is able to do repair work ”
When we sleep our muscle tissue is rebuilt and restored, growth hormones are secreted (this is important for kids but also for rebuilding tissue in adults) and mental energy is restored. Because sleep is your body’s time to repair, not getting enough of it can impair your immune system and leave you less able to fight off diseases. You may also feel irritable and have poor memory, poor concentration and mood swings. You’re more likely to feel angry, pessimistic and sad and your coordination, reaction time and judgment may all be negatively affected, which, of course, is particularly dangerous while driving or operating a machine.
This is a major concern because a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation’s indicated that 75 percent of the individuals who participated said they experienced symptoms of sleep problems including difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night and experiencing fatigue during waking hours, or snoring.
If you do experience some of these symptoms, you may want to consider the following tips for a sound night’s sleep:
• Exercise daily (but not too close to bedtime, as this could result in you not wanting to sleep)
• Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
• Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark.
• Drink a cup of relaxing tea, like chamomile or mint.
• Do not drink a lot of water just before going to bed.
• Have your last meal at least five hours before bedtime.
• Massage your feet.
• Stretch a bit before you lie down.
• Once you are in bed, listen to soft relaxing religious music and meditate on God’s goodness and his love for you.
Psalm 139:17,18 reads:
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Entertaining thoughts like these are relaxing and comforting.
The Brain Never Sleeps
It was once thought that being awake was the natural state of the brain, and that during sleep the brain would take a rest and “shut down,” so to speak. But according to the Harvard Medical School, the brain is always in an active state whether the body is sleeping or awake (specific groups of brain structures control the body’s functions at different times).
We Need Sleep to Survive
It should be easy to see that sleep is an absolute necessity and several studies have been done which demonstrate the truth of this. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of all sleep only live about three weeks, and those deprived of REM sleep (the stage of sleep when we dream and during which it’s thought brain regions used in learning are stimulated) survive only about five weeks on average. At the same time, the rats developed abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tails and paws. Researchers believe the sores indicate a sluggish immune system and suggest just how detrimental sleep deprivation can be to the immune system of humans.
Sleep and Sickness
Most people who feel sick tend to feel tired during that period of time. While fighting off infections our immune systems produce powerful chemicals called cytokines that make us sleepy. It’s thought that this is the body’s way of helping us to fall asleep, during which time the body is able to conserve energy and other resources that the immune system needs to fight the infection.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
It’s generally recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. The NIH gives these additional recommendations:
• Infants generally require about 16 hours a day.
• Teenagers need about nine hours on average.
• Some people may need as few as five hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each night.
• Women may need several more hours of sleep than usual during the first three months of pregnancy.
If you’ve been sleep deprived for several days, you will create a “sleep debt” that will need to be repaid, meaning that you’ll need to sleep longer than usual just to function normally and feel rested.
The fact of the matter is that most people are so busy working and worrying about everyday duties, difficulties, trials, deadlines, debts and challenges that they end up going to bed late, only get up the following morning to continue this lifestyle. It is a sad and pitiful situation because they have allowed the cares of this world to deprive them of sleep. Sometimes we act as if twenty four hours are not enough and there is no time to sleep because there is so much to be done.
However, if we look at how Jesus lived we will see a contrast to our lifestyle. The Bible tells us that Jesus said to his apostles on one occasion
… Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: ….(Mark 6:31)
The remaining portion of the verse explains why,
… for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. (Mark 6:31)
Jesus saw the need for resting and he instructed his disciples to do so. Christ also lived what He taught. We ought not to be so busy and engulfed in this life’s duties, responsibilities and goals that we have little time to rest or sleep. Our Savior lived a busy life but he was temperate in all things.
Have you ever wondered how Jesus was able to sleep in a ship during a raging storm?
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? Mark 4:37-40
Our daily duties, work and responsibilities are nothing compared to what Jesus had to deal with daily, yet he found time to rest. There is a deeper and more important lesson for us to learn here. Notice that Jesus was able to go to sleep in a boat during a storm. The relationship and faith that he had in and with his Father enabled him to sleep even during difficult and unusual circumstances. Nothing worried him, he trusted fully in his father’s care. When we look at Christ we fall very short of the mark, but this is the kind of relationship that we must have with God. We are too busily engaged in the cares of this life. We are so taken up and busy with them that we often deprive ourselves of necessary sleep.
Improving brain function
The findings of a new study showed that a good night’s sleep can improve our brain function and memory. I have a strong belief that most people, including myself, are not getting adequate sleep. This is evidenced by the fact that we have such poor memories. There was a time when people would tell stories and share information solely from memory. All the important stuff was memorized. Today we no longer rely on our brain, but rather we use computers and cool gadgets to store most of the info we need. Is this because our memories are failing, or is it that we have more to remember now than in days gone by?
One study that was published in the journal, Neuroscience , involved 12 college-aged individuals who were taught a sequence of skilled finger movements (similar to a piano scale), then tested on their ability to remember them after a 12-hour period of wakefulness, or sleep. The results showed that after sleeping there were improvements in the participants’ motor skill performance. Dr Matthew Walker, director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Sleep and Neuro-imaging Laboratory, said,
“When you’re asleep, it seems as though you are shifting memory to more efficient storage regions within the brain. Consequently, when you awaken, memory tasks can be performed both more quickly and accurately and with less stress and anxiety.”
Interestingly, when a person learns a new skill, the memories are vulnerable until they are “solidified” in the brain. It appears that sleeping plays a key role in this process, which may explain why infants, who are constantly learning new skills, require so much more sleep than adults.
Likewise, stroke patients and other people who have suffered brain injuries may also benefit from increased amounts of sleep as part of their rehabilitation program.
“Sleeping on it” has long been one of the best pieces of advice when faced with a difficult decision or a complex problem. A good night’s sleep has a way of helping us sort through our options and identify solutions that were invisible to us the day before. Exactly how sleep works its problem-solving technique is more of a mystery, but it’s well known that getting enough high-quality sleep can improve your memory.
Sleep and High Blood Pressure
People who sleep five hours or less a night may be at higher risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure. This danger even exists for people who sleep six hours a night, although that risk is not as high as it is for people who sleep five hours or less a night. It’s thought that sleep helps your blood regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system remain healthy. Over time, a lack of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure. Therefore, sleeping seven to eight hours a night may play a role in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.
Teenagers need more sleep
A study done on the sleeping habits of children by the University of South Australia, on more than four thousand people between the ages of 9-18 suggested strongly that teenagers who were not obese had the most sleep, while overweight teenagers had the least sleep.
Overweight teenagers had an average of 20 minutes less sleep than non-obese teenagers during the week and that could extend to an hour less on the weekend. Professor Olds who led the study said, “ It seems very likely that it’s the low sleep duration that’s contributing to obesity, probably through various hormonal mechanisms that we know are associated with sleep deprivation”
The National Sleep Foundation says that teenagers should be getting around 9-9.5 hours of sleep but many don’t, even though there may be valid reasons for this. Teenagers undergo changes in their biology with mood changes, growth spurts and changes to their sleep patterns. They may sleep all day or find it hard to get up in the morning. When they become adolescents the natural circadian rhythm (a built in self sustained pattern repeated approximately every 24hours) is altered with the consequence that it can be difficult to get to sleep. Researchers say this could be because melatonin (which helps sleep) is released later.
Now they need to sleep more – up to ten hours. The amount of hours they sleep decreases from around the age of 5 when they get around 11 hours. However with the onset of puberty and adolescence sleeping time increases. Once adolescence is over, the sleep pattern changes again to adult sleeping times, waking earlier and sleeping less. Overall it is a difficult time for teenagers as they need to sleep more, but typically find it difficult to get to sleep at the usual time. This means they are sleep deprived as they still have to get up at early hours to go to school or sport.
Sleep deprivation is linked to a number of side effects. Twenty percent of road deaths in America are said to be caused by micro-sleeps which are caused by sleep deprivation. Around half of these types of deaths are of 16-25 year olds.
During sleep we have Rapid Eye Movements (REM) indicating that we are dreaming and REM starts to occur 70-100 minutes after falling asleep. One study found that if high school students had the opportunity to sleep at school around half of them went into REM sleep within a few minutes. Those students that work are even more tired.
The consequences of untreated sleep disorders are large and they are associated with numerous, serious medical illnesses, including:
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
• Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
• Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
• Mental impairment
• Fetal and childhood growth retardation
• Injury from accidents
• Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality
• Poor quality of life
Not sleeping enough and not sleeping well is a serious matter and there is quite a price to pay. Chronic sleep deprivation, for whatever reason, significantly affects your health, memory, performance, safety, and pocket. Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in our modern culture and every day there seems to be twice as much work and half as much time to complete it in. This results in either extended periods of wakefulness or a decrease in sleep over an extended period of time.
(Source: Restoration Ministry)