This week I had an ah-ha moment of the simplest kind but it was no fun arriving at it: Sleep is good. Lack of sleep is bad. Yeah, we all know that one. But for about 5 nights I had been having serious trouble falling asleep. I was tossing and turning for an hour or two each night, on the verge of tears at how exhausted I was but unable to get my brain to stop racing and my body to just go to sleep. I mean, I was doing my best to do the right things. I was reading before bed. I was ending the night with less calories. I was drinking a calming tea with no sugar.
And then it hit me. Was I sure oolong tea was decaf? I mean, that’s what I thought. That’s why I’d bought it. So I Googled it. Face palm. Nope. My beloved tea choice at bedtime was what was causing the problem! That was one long day waiting for bedtime to arrive.
Moms are notoriously exhausted. We try to multitask and get all the productivity into our days, often to the point of neglecting our sleep, an essential part of our healthcare. I’ve talked to moms over the years who firmly believed they were irresponsible for taking a nap or for getting more than 6 hours of sleep. I myself have to be really wiped for napping to take place. As soon as I lay down, a zillion other things I should be doing race through my mind and the guilt whispers loudly. (And yes, there are seasons where sleep is hard to come by. I remember the nursing years quite vividly.)
But there are a lot of proven things that happen when we don’t get enough rest. Just Google it and you’ll find the list includes: irritability and shorter temper, lack of productivity (the thing we are insisting we need to forego sleep for), poor health, higher stress hormones, and even overeating. Most experts seem to agree that we need 8-10 hours of sleep to combat all those scary things. So now we’re back to my ah-ha moment: Sleep is good. Lack of sleep is bad.
God is pretty clear that rest is good for us. Jesus took naps and breaks. The Bible is full of verses on sleep and finding rest.
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
So here’s the best reason to make sleep a priority: your kids.
They need you. They need you healthy. They need you happy and patient. After these string of days with bad sleep, I found myself yelling like a banshee about the mess my kids were not helping me with, not realizing two teens were hiding from mom and my poor 9-year-old was hearing most of it. That is until she burst into tears and I had to apologize for my outburst, multiple times.
That is not the kind of mom I want to be. It is not the kind of mom my kids deserve. And, it most definitely isn’t the kind of mom God has designed me to be. He designed us to need breaks. So seize the pillow and get some rest. The dishes can wait until tomorrow if they didn’t fit into today. Getting a good night’s rest will help you be a better mom in the morning. And your kids will thank you for that.
How do you ensure getting enough sleep? Share in the comments.
If you’ve experienced a mommy meltdown recently like I did, you might need the encouragement found in this post: 5 Outcomes of a Mommy Meltdown.