Sleep Is a Waste of Time Part III

Is sleep a waste of time? 

Our culture seems to think so. CDC data shows that 28% of U.S. adults report sleeping six hours or less each night. “Many people getting insufficient shut-eye simply may not value sleep. This is a culture where not sleeping very much or pulling an all-nighter is considered a ‘badge of honor,’” Safwan Badr, a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a sleep expert with Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University says. 

Anne Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist, agrees that people just don't make it a priority. Many people think taking the time to get sufficient sleep is being lazy and a waste of time, but they could be performing so much better if they were well-rested, she says.* 

In Part I of Sleep Is a Waste of Time, I made the case that God created us to need sleep, that sleep is a gift from God, and deep down inside, our attitudes about sleep reveal our degree of trust in God. 

In Part II of Sleep Is a Waste of Time, I suggested four ways to ensure we get enough sleep in the crazy, high-speed world in which we live. Today I’ll conclude the series with three more ways to make room in our lives for sleep. 

5. Commit to a regular bedtime. While there will always be days when life requires a later bedtime, many, if not most, of our days are predictable. At my house, I know the alarm rings at 5 a.m. Since that’s a non-negotiable, I know I must be in bed by 10 if I am to get adequate rest. 

Almost 6 months ago, I shared my sleep epiphany with my husband, who was also sleep deprived, and we committed to help each other get to bed by 10 p.m. I set a nightly alarm for 9:30 to remind us that bedtime is approaching. When this alarm goes off, we begin the pre-bedtime routine. We start wrapping up whatever we’re doing, wash our faces and brush our teeth, let the dog out, make sandwiches, and gather what we need for the next day. 

6. Choose our evening activities wisely. 

“Some nights I can’t help it; there’s no way to be in bed before midnight,” DeYoung writes, “But on other nights, I get started on a project I didn’t need to begin, or fritter away 30 minutes on my phone, or waste an extra 45 minutes watching a meaningless sporting event, or spend an hour reading late at night instead of guarding that time so that I can get up to read my Bible the next morning. If we really paid attention, we’d be surprised to see what we do and don’t do from eight to 12 o’clock every night.” 

“Our natural limitations can’t be transgressed without consequence,” says DeYoung, and I agree. 

There’s a reason God designed us with a need for sleep and rest, and we’d be wise to adjust our lives accordingly. If we fail to get adequate rest, sooner or later we’ll crash—physically, emotionally, relationally, or spiritually, and the results could be devastating. 

My husband and I are six months into our new routine, and we’re already experiencing the long-range benefits. Even though it’s usually closer to 10:15 when we’ve turned out the lights, we’re still getting to bed much earlier than before. It’s been wonderful to drift off to sleep instead of falling into unconsciousness. We awaken with more energy and enthusiasm for the day. Most significantly, I’m consciously choosing to maximize the hours between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. and trusting God to do what I can’t. 

French poet and novelist Victor Hugo said it best: “When you have completed your work, lie down and sleep. God is awake.” 

What about you? Are you sleep deprived? Do you struggle with making time for rest? Is there always one more thing you need to do? Do you feel like sleep is a waste of time? 

 I challenge you today to make whatever changes you need to ensure that you get enough rest. Because when we rest in faith, we discover that sleep ISN’T a waste of time. 

What are your thoughts? Has this series helped you view sleep differently? What changes do you plan to make to ensure that you give sleep its proper place in your life? Leave a comment below and bless us all.

To Read the USA Today article, "If You Don't Snooze, You Lose, Health Experts Say," CLICK HERE

"Sleep Is a Waste of Time" is one of many presentations I share at women's ministry events, Ladies Night Outs, and retreats. For more information on Lori Hatcher's speaking ministry, CLICK HERE.  

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  1. Lori,
    This has been a great series. One of my problems is that my husband works 2nd shift. He leaves at 2pm and get home well past 2am. When he's at work, I tend to read/be on the computer way too late. Then, when he is home, I stay up late with him and still try to keep my earlier awake time (not 5 am!) I will take this to heart and ask the Lord to help me prioritize my needed sleep. Thank you!

  2. I'm so glad, Jennifer, that you've found this helpful. I understand your dilemma completely -- for almost all our married lives, my husband has left for work at 5 am. I discovered that i couldn't burn the candle at both ends and still function. Going to bed together early and awakening early gives us both the necessary hours of sleep. Your routine is a little more challenging, because it fluctuates. I'll join you in prayer to ask God how to make it work. Thanks for commenting!