Rest is Important

I have always been an earlier riser.  I used to wake up no later than 6:00 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. when I was in college…even on the weekends (I know, I'm weird).

Now, my wake-up time is usually 5:00 a.m.  I say "usually" because I have learned that sometimes other factors enter the picture and our bodies get tired and need rest.

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If we choose to ignore the warning signs from our bodies, we can have terrible consequences.  

I discovered this as a junior in college.

I was used to staying up until after midnight on most nights and I would still wake up before 6:00 a.m. each day.  I found that the early morning hours were my most productive time, so I would wake up to do homework or to prepare for a test.

At some point, I started to feel sluggish and I eventually reached a breaking point.  I was sitting in a summer session Finance class and I put left elbow down on my left knee with my hand facing up.  I rested my head on my hand and the next thing I knew, my eyes were closed.  

I know you're thinking, "big deal, you fell asleep in class", but that's not exactly true.  I was alert in my mind, but I could not control my eyes to open them and I couldn't lift my head up off my arm.

I was listening to my professor talking and could understand every word, but I couldn't control most of my limbs to participate in the class. I thought making myself breathe in and out harder would wake up my body, but that didn't work.  I tried other tactics, but nothing would work.  I was stuck there and I didn't know what to do.  

I'm not sure how long it took (maybe 30-40 minutes), but somewhere near the end of that class period, I gained enough strength to finally pick up my head.  When the lecture was over, I packed up and walked out of the room and went straight to my bed.

I've been tired at points since then, but I have never allowed myself to miss out on so much sleep and rest that I was completely exhausted.

Even though my wife and I have a large family, we have taught our children that it's important to go to sleep at a reasonable time because our bodies need to rest.  Not only should we get sleep, but sometimes we need to be still and free from activity to slow things down a bit.

I have discovered that rest is important and there are 3 benefits that result when I get enough rest:

1)  I am more productive in my work – when I am well rested, I can get more done in 2 hours than an entire work day.

2)  I have more energy for activity – whether it's driving, exercising, or playing the piano, I do it better when I have rested

3)  I have a better attitude – when I'm not rested, I may not want to be bothered.  I have shorter conversations and I tend to be less polite (especially with my wife…sorry babe).  

Sometimes we have to just take a break from the norm and the fast pace that our society runs at to let ourselves get back on track.  I have had a busy time during the past month and my writing and other projects have taken a back seat.  During the time of resting, I have taken time to focus on what is most important and to prioritize again.  

Question:  Have you ever felt burnt out?  What are some of the strategies you use to make sure you get enough rest?  

  • Great post. Totally a reminder that is often needed. I too start my typical day at 5 am. My goal is to be in bed by 10, I normally make it by 11.