Sleep Is a Waste of Time

Sleep is a waste of time. 

Deep down inside, I’ve always thought this. 

Sleeping eight hours a night means spending one-third of my life unconscious and having nothing to show for it. 

No productivity. 


I’ve always seen sleep as inconvenient and the need for sleep a weakness. 

You may not be able to relate to this. Perhaps you’re the mother of young children and NEVER get enough sleep. Or maybe you’re plagued with insomnia and would LOVE to sleep more. Or maybe you just enjoy sleeping. 

Whatever your perspective on sleep, I think you’ll find these statistics disturbing: 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that more than 40 million Americans get fewer than six hours of sleep per night. Studies also show that sleep deprivation is a trigger for problems like diabetes and obesity.

I’ve often been a sleep scorner—until recently, when I gained a new, biblical perspective. I discovered that God cares about sleep. Not only cares, but has given us guidelines and principles to help us glorify him even in our sleep. 

God enlightened me through a little book by Kevin DeYoung called Crazy Busy. I highly recommend it and use his chapter, “Rhythm and Blues,” as the basis for the principles I share in this three-part series. Today we’ll look at three truths about sleep: 

Principle #1: God created us to need sleep. “We tend to assume it’s always godlier to forgo sleep for more important activity, but God made us physical beings,” DeYoung says, “. . . it’s the way God made us—finite and fragile.” 

Instead of fighting against the frailties of our earthly bodies, perhaps there’s something to be learned from embracing our limitations. I know I often push myself to the point of exhaustion because of a sense of urgency. 

 I need to get one more thing done. . . I think. It all depends on me. 

What if, instead, I prioritized my day so I did the most important things first, and then stopped at a reasonable hour? Perhaps those must dos aren’t really as pressing as they appear. Maybe it would be a better investment to rest well and bring more energy into the next day’s activities. What if, in the long run, entering the day rested helps me accomplish more and work better? 

“The land won’t produce a harvest if it never lies fallow,” DeYoung says. Even the growing season requires periods of dormancy to prepare for times of fruit bearing. Satisfying my God-given need for sleep might just help me maximize the rest of my day. 

Principle #2: Sleep is a gift. Psalm 127:2 says, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.” While I’ve often eagerly embraced God’s other gifts—family, ministry, work, and financial provision, I’ve never viewed sleep a gift. Nevertheless, there it is, right there in Psalm 127. 

By scorning the necessary seven or eight hours of shuteye, I have turned up my nose at something God created to bless and enhance my life. It’s also a bit arrogant. Thanks but no thanks, God. I think I know better what my body needs. Far be it from me to tell my Creator that I’m not crazy about one of his gifts. 

Principle #3: Sleep reveals what (or whom) I’m trusting in. “(God) made us to spend almost a third of our lives not doing anything except depending on him. Going to sleep is our way of saying, ‘I trust you, God. You’ll be okay without me,’” writes DeYoung. 

The psalmist understood this when he penned Psalm 4:8: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” 

And Psalm 121:3: “He who keeps you will not slumber.” 

Hopefully by now you’re convinced that we need adequate periods of sleep, but how do we make this happen in our busy, jam-packed lives? Click HERE for 6 Ways to Make Sure Sleep Isn’t A Waste of Time, Part I and 6 Ways to Make Sure Sleep Isn't a Waste of Time, Part II.

To read the USA Today article, "If You Don't Snooze, You Lose, health experts say," CLICK HERE.

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