This is not a trick question. Without this one thing, all other efforts at good health are for naught. You can have wealth, take all the right supplements, eat well and drink well. You can get exercise, maintain the perfect weight and look great. But if you don’t do this one thing, you will burn out and you will get sick. You might even die. That sounds drastic, but it is true.
So what is this one thing? Can you guess?
Especially if you are over 50, if you burn the candle at both ends, and you fail to get enough rest, you will burn out. And probably get sick. Period.
Rest is so important, that God put the concept in the 10 Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Sabbath, or in Hebrew Shabbat, has at its root the meaning “to cease, to end, to rest.” It also says in Genesis 2:2-3, that after God finished the work of creating the heavens and the earth and “all the host of them,” He himself rested.
But if you are a working mother, a man in a stressful job with excruciating financial demands, or a new mother who already has several children, how in the world do you rest? I have grappled and grappled with this because rest is a discipline, and sometimes, difficult to obtain. Like so many other parts of life, it actually requires work to rest.
So here are some suggestions. 1) Work hard to get to bed before midnight. Multiple studies have shown that the quality of sleep before that magic hour of midnight is 2 times better than the quality of sleep when you finally go to bed after midnight, especially if you have to get up before 7:00 am in the morning. 2) If you absolutely have to stay up past midnight, try carving out a little time for a nap during the day, especially when you feel the tiredness set in. Naps can be extremely helpful at re-fueling your body when you are trying to stave-off exhaustion. 3) Even if you can’t sleep, lying down to rest your body can be better than nothing. I have found that just resting my body and praying or saying Bible verses out loud is very helpful. Usually, if I am really tired and I just do that and be still, I doze off for a bit. Your body does need deep sleep to repair itself and recharge, but resting and making yourself just “stop,” can do wonders.
As we enter the busy holiday and “cold and flu” season, remember the necessity of rest. Even if you are a work-a-holic, make an effort to take the time to REST.