David Hegg: Learning to rest

David Hegg
David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs Saturdays in The Signal.
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An article I recently read suggested a simple test for assessing sleep deprivation. The author put it this way: If it takes you 15 minutes to fall asleep at night, you’re in good shape.

If, on the other hand, you take only five minutes to fall asleep, you are moderately sleep deprived, and if you fall asleep in under a minute, you are severely sleep deprived.

The article went on to give a simple experiment to determine the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. You lay down on your bed, with a spoon in your hand. You extend your arm over the edge of the bed so that when sleep arrives, your hand will relax and drop the spoon.

All that is left is to set a metal pot where the spoon will drop, and then fall asleep.

The thought is, the falling spoon will awaken you, and you can check the clock to see how many minutes it took you to fall asleep.

Maybe it’s just me, but the article hit me sideways. I doubt I could ever fall asleep if I were holding a spoon over the edge of my bed, waiting for sleep to come so I could wake up to the sound of metal on metal. How about you?

But what I did learn, more from life than from the article, is just how important rest is. For me, rest includes sleep, but it actually includes much more.

As I write this, I am still on vacation up in Oregon, where we’ve had sun, rain, and even snow in the past 48 hours. But one thing we haven’t had is a hard time sleeping … either in the evening or the morning!

Why is it so easy to sleep on vacation? My answer, as unscientifically proven as it may be, is the fact the best vacations allow us to rest –physically, mentally, and emotionally. I think it is the presence of rest in other areas of life that makes sleep even more restful.

And that’s a problem. Our world is anything but restful. We are bombarded with more new information daily than our parents had in a year. Social media has increased our communicative opportunities while eroding real relationship.

Add that to the emotional strain of financial stress, relational dysfunction and congested freeways and it’s a wonder we can make it through the day, let alone do so with a modicum of joy.

So, here’s my suggestion. Let’s put a premium on rest. Start by eliminating a few of those stimuli in your life that bring more pain than profit.

Turn off your phone at meal time and when you retire for the evening. And on the positive side, make it a habit to unplug mentally from the daily grind to converse, laugh and pray with those whose lives provide a vacation spot for your heart.

I confess to being a Type A personality, fixated on production, excellence, and the maximizing of energy and time. After all, we only have some much time, so much energy, and so much life. We need to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of the lives we’ve been given.

But, if we’re not careful to infuse some rest into every day, we’ll find life is squeezing us, and draining us of whatever benefit we can be to ourselves, our families and our world. So join me in making rest a priority. Who knows? Maybe together we can bring back the power nap.


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