“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:16-18
“Man goes out to his work, And to his labor until the evening.” Psalm 104:23
God obviously intended people to work during the daylight hours and sleep at night. The old saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” is still good advice today.
Have you ever considered how electricity and television prevent us from retiring to bed? Without them, we would prepare for sleep at sunset, just as this rooster and hens do!
While we sleep, our cells are repaired and replaced, and wastes are removed to places where they can be eliminated from the body.
Here’s an interesting fact about sleep: The hours before midnight are twice as beneficial as those after midnight. Why? Because our biological clocks are linked to the cycle of daylight and night. Therefore our quality of sleep and wakefulness improves the more closely our retiring and rising are linked to darkness and daylight.
During daylight hours, light striking the eye sends a message to a tiny gland in the brain, called the pineal gland to make serotonin. Serotonin makes us feel like getting up and going! At sunset there is less light hitting our eyes, and so the lower level of light is registered in the pineal gland which then converts serotonin to melatonin. Melatonin makes us sleepy.
Serotonin levels fall and melatonin levels rise until a peak is reached at about 2am. The balance between serotonin and melatonin seems to affect mood and other physiological factors. An article about serotonin featured in the September 29 1997 issue of “Time” magazine. Titled, “The Mood Molecule”, the article reported the effects of low serotonin levels on our bodies.
“Serotonin, or the lack of it, has been implicated not only in depression, uncontrollable appetite and obsessive-compulsive disorder but also in autism, bulimia, social phobias, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety and panic, migraines, schizophrenia and even extreme violence.”(page 43)
Surely you would agree all of these conditions are rampant in our modern society. Could our habits of “burning the midnight oil” and then “sleeping in”, be a causative factor?
During sleep the electrical patterns of the brain change. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the brain is very active and the eyes move quickly under the eyelids. This is the time when we dream! Did you know children spend about 50% of the night dreaming while adults dream about 20% of the night? Researchers think the brain sorts through information taken in during the day when in REM sleep. The memory stores are opened and the new information is categorised and filed away. Amazing!
During NREM (Non REM sleep) very little happens in the brain. We are deeply asleep and hard to arouse in this state.
The brain alternates between REM and NREM sleep in about a 90 minute cycle. Each time the NREM portion shortens, while the REM one increases. Finally, sleep becomes shallower and we wake up.
So how much sleep do we need and when? For maximum benefits, we need to be in bed by 9.30pm. WHY? According to past studies, adults who have 7-8 hours of sleep per night have the best health.
Sleep quality is reduced when food is eaten close to bed time, especially in children.
If you’ve ever wondered why we move around when we sleep, instead of lying perfectly still, here’s the answer: Body movement during sleep stimulates circulation and reduces the danger of blood stagnating in the veins and causing clotting. But sleeping pills reduce the number of turnings, thus reducing the amount of natural body maintenance during sleep.
As well as good rest at night, God designed humans to rest one day a week.
In his recording, “God’s Plan for Allergies”, allergist Dr Sang Lee says:
“Most animal species die after 7 days if you constantly stress them without relief. But if you give a relief on the seventh day, they can take another six days of stress.”
"Most animal species die after
7 days if you constantly stress them
without relief. But if you give a
relief on the seventh day, they
can take another six days of stress."
- Dr Sang Lee, Allergist
No wonder God has provided a weekly day of rest for all people and beasts of burden.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11
New Zealanders today are no different to the people who lived in the Bible times. A recent article in the New Zealand Herald reported:
“For more than half a million New Zealanders the 40 hour week is a forgotten artefact...Clinical psychologist Marijke Batenberg says that while there are casualties as people struggle to adapt to the cut-throat working environment, competition brings out the high achiever in the majority.
‘And what high achievers do is work - hard and long.’
Which is what has become the norm for a huge number of New Zealanders...
Those extra hours spent at work Batenberg warns, have to be squeezed from somewhere, which means family time, relaxation time, time spent in the community and sleep are the obvious losers.
‘The current economic policies in New Zealand could be creating a tired nation,’ she says. ‘Depression and exhaustion present themselves as clinically similar - but anti-depressant drugs will not relieve exhaustion.’
Evidence suggests that long hours could be a multifaceted health hazard...
A publication put out by the World Health Organisation on stress and health suggests a connection between the duration of stress and detrimental changes to the immune system.
Productivity, it is argued, decreases through long hours at work, while the likelihood of serious and even fatal mistakes go up.
Plummeting morale seesaws with rising rates of absenteeism and its inversion, “presenteeism”, when the pressure at work goes on and people are always at work.” Reference:“This Working Life” The NZ Herald December 20, 1997 page G1
As someone has aptly said, “Seven days without rest makes one weak!”
Resting one day a week from our weekly work and responsibilities not only makes good sense, but is very enjoyable. Put aside your briefcase or tools of the trade, ignore the shops and television, radio and magazines.
“’If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord...’” Isaiah 58:13-14
The seventh day is the day God gave you to enjoy being alive as one of His children. Read more>>