Mark 2:1 “A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.” I was stopped in my tracks as I read this verse today. The Savior of the world had come home. I know theologically that Jesus led a life just like ours and that he lived to give us an example of how men who truly know God live. Seeing it lived out in such an ordinary way, however, was stunning to me.
Today, I am sharing the tip that is honestly one of my hardest to stay true to: sleep! In my book, 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I quote Dr Archibald Hart’s research on adrenaline from his book, Adrenaline and Stress (I also like his book, Thrilled to Death)
Dr. Hart wraps up some words of wisdom that can extend many of our lives: “To avoid cardiovascular disease and other stress-related disorders, it is not enough to eat the right foods and keep cholesterol low. This is important, but it is not enough! It is not enough to exercise regularly and even take regular vacations. To protect yourself . . . you must learn how to switch off your production of adrenaline when it is no longer needed, and stop using it for non-emergency life situations . . . It means controlling the problem at its source.”24
Dr. Hart encourages some simple but practical methods for curbing the overuse of adrenaline: sleep eight to ten hours a night and learn to manage your negative, driving emotions (so next time someone says “Chill out!” take them up on their offer and do it). Exercise and a daily time to unwind will help you manage your addiction to adrenaline overload. He also recommends planning recovery time into your schedule after high-adrenaline-use times.”
In 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong I quote, Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine, University of Chicago, who said, “Since the brain is fuelled by glucose, we suspect it seeks simple carbohydrates when distressed by lack of sleep.”10 One study found that the less people slept, the more they weighed.”
My own doctor, Dr Mark Stengler, challenged me to look at what time of day I slept too (yes, God made day and night, so it is better if you can hit the hay before midnight and get in a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep and rise around sunrise). To sleep well, it helps to pull away from all the electronic stimulus (computer, TV, smart phone) and unwind in a quiet, darker room- a warm shower or bath can help clam your heart and life too.
For me, if I write down my “tomorrow’s To Do” list that helps me release my long list of unfinished work to God’s care. But the critical component for me is prayer. If I end my day praising God and praying through my life it is as if God is cradling me in his arms and I can REST. The Bible says:
Truly my soul finds rest in God . . .(Psalms 62:1)
In 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I cite some interesting studies: “Medical science has even linked the power of prayer to patient longevity and recovery. Dr. Dale A. Matthews reviewed 212 studies and found that three-fourths showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and good health. In a San Francisco study, 393 patients were divided into two groups. Half were prayed for and half were not. No one knew which group they were placed in. Those who were prayer recipients had fewer health complications.” Even today while watching TV, a doctor shared that blood pressure is lowered in 40% of the population that prays and believe in that “higher power.” (Photo below is us praying with our son at his wedding- our family RELIES on prayer on happy days and stressful days. This was a happy one!)
One way I knew this was an area I needed to address was the higher cortisol levels in my lab tests, (too high levels of cortisol leads to weight gain). But the real road sign that I needed a nap was when I traveled to Alaska to kayak we gave women an hour solitude with God on day one and as I laid looking at the clouds in the sunshine and fresh air, praying for my future, I fell asleep and woke myself
up with my own snoring! Give yourself a break- nap and pray and release the pressure and stress to God’s care.
I recommend the “Napping Diet Plan”! Snooze your way to better health and a thinner you! (May you sleep like baby!)