Because our bodies matter to God—and not just in a moral sense—our rest matters to God, too. So much so, He built it into the rhythms of the universe.
Do you proclaim with the psalmist: “Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations” (Psalm 57:8)?
Do you climb out of bed each morning and sing with joy about God’s unfailing love (Psalm 59:16)?
If not, (and for the record, I rarely do), maybe it’s because we are among the one in three Americans who don’t get enough sleep. Seriously.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control declared a new public health crisis: sleep deprivation. Millions are failing night after night to get the recommended seven to nine hours of rest, putting them at increased risk for health problems from anxiety and depression to diabetes and heart disease.
By some estimates, widespread lack of sleep is costing American employers over $100 billion annually “in lost production, medical expenses, and sick leave.” More in-depth research finds that twenty straight hours without sleep is the equivalent of being legally drunk. And sleep specialists are sounding the alarm that “drowsy driving” is just as deadly as drunk driving—and more common.
So what’s behind this epidemic of sleep deprivation? Why are Americans these days so incapable of turning off the lights and going to bed? The answer is in our pockets.
A growing body of research demonstrates that the frequency of light produced by smart phones, laptops and tablets triggers the release of chemicals in our brains that tell us, “It’s time to wake up! Its morning!”
The dreary glow of screens also drains our concentration and creativity. A study in the journal Social Psychology reported that even having a smart phone nearby degraded the quality of subjects’ work and studies, because it reminded them of their online social circles.
So what do we do to counteract this perfect storm of sleep deprivation and tech addiction?
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