Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 10/8/18
How Can Faith Improve Your Quality of Sleep?
“What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority…Jesus replied, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ …The temple He had spoken of was His body” (John 2:18-20). The idea that body, mind and spirit are connected, is present throughout Orthodox Christian scriptures. Jesus Christ stressed the importance of treating our body as a vessel of our spirit, because failing to do so amounts to devaluing the life God granted us.
When we fail to get a good night’s sleep, it is a sign that we are treating our body as less worthy than it is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 35% of adults in America are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep every night and around a third are regularly sleep deprived. How can the Orthodox Christian faith help to inspire us to take the steps we need to enjoy quality sleep, in an aim to be healthier, happier, better human beings?
Caring for One’s Health is a Manifestation of God’s Love
Being sleep deprived doesn’t just make us feel tired; it significantly increases our chance of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. Orthodox Christian faith espouses that we should love our neighbors as we do ourselves, but it works the other way around as well. That is, in as much as we are kind and empathetic towards others, we should also invest our time and effort in being kind to ourselves, above all when it comes to health. Making sleep a priority every day expresses our wish to protect and love ourselves in the way God protects and loves us.
Faith Helps us Battle Stress
A plethora of studies have shown that those who make time for a rich spiritual life, are also generally happier. They have also revealed that community worship is the only group activity that promotes lasting happiness. Stress is one of the main reasons for insomnia; feeling alone, anxious, or vulnerable, can make it hard to truly switch off when you turns the lights out. Being part of the Orthodox Christian Church provides one with a strong sense of community support. Praying together, sharing vicissitudes, and enjoying social time with people with similar beliefs can be a big aid when professional or personal stress levels are high.
Being Proactive is Key
Jesus stressed the importance of truly living one’s faith. To treat your body as the temple it is, you need to make specific efforts to improve rejuvenating sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable and that your mattress boasts just the right firmness for your needs. Make your room inviting and remove distractions such as technology and clutter. Create a routine and stick to it. Start off by engaging in a relaxing pursuit such as having a warm bath,practicing relaxation exercises, and praying.
Movement is Life
The World Health Organization recommends that people should engage in moderate physical activity for 150 minutes weekly (or vigorous activity for 75 minutes). Try to blend an energetic aerobic workout with weights, which will help you stay lean and trim. Finally, consider mindfulness-based activities such as yoga and meditation, which are proven stress busters.
Your body is a vessel for your spirit. To stay motivated, inspired, and energetic enough to help others, it is also important to help yourself. Make comfort a priority, exercise daily, stay at a healthy weight, and make time every day for prayer and relaxation; your body and mind will thank you for it every morning, when you wake up feeling refreshed and renewed.