Confession: Sleep is a hobby of mine. I like naps. It’s one of my favorite things.
It goes way back. I think I just need more sleep than other people.
- I remember my sister waking me up on summer mornings so that I wouldn’t miss Little House on the Prairie. She was always awake before I was.
- Not once did I pull an all-nighter in college. I used to say, “If I don’t know it by 2 am, I’m not going to know it” when in fact, I was usually in bed before midnight except Finals Week.
- When I had babies and people would say to me, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” I did.
- When my toddlers were outgrowing their naps, I’d cuddle down with them so that they would lie still and I’d fall asleep before they did, often to awaken 20 minutes later refreshed next to a sleeping body and ready to tackle a task toddler-free.
- Sunday afternoons with the windows open…guess where you can often find me?
For all that the Covid shutdown has stolen from my family this year, the one thing it has gifted us with is sleep: lots of it! When schools were first closed and my kids were sleeping 10-11-12 hours a night, I let them sleep in thinking that they were fighting something. When it continued week after week, I realized that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
My kids need more sleep than most people. Just like me.
This isn’t entirely a surprise. When we have vacationed with other families over the years, it was evident. I put my kids to bed before they did (with heavy sighs and complaining echoing in my ears) because I did not want to deal with the fallouts of no sleep.
As we re-enter society and real life as we know it, the lack of sleep is crouching at our door. Earlier mornings often mean that emotions lie closely to the surface. Problems feel bigger when we are all tired. This is how September always goes. I’ve been known to say to friends, “I throw out September” which means that I don’t expect much as we all adapt to the much–longed–for schedule that shapes the rest of the year.
I wonder if maybe I don’t need more sleep than most people. Maybe I’m just more aware of it. As tempers flare easily in check-out lines or on social media, I wonder if maybe a little extra sleep wouldn’t go a long way. As we re-enter the place where “busy” means “valuable,” maybe we fill our lives so much that we don’t take the time for what our bodies need. We think we don’t need as much sleep as we really do. Perhaps we would have a little more patience for the craziness we are living in if we were a little more rested.
It’s Biblical, you know. God rested on the seventh day of Creation. He didn’t need to, I’m sure. Speaking all of creation into existence taking the tiniest detail of design into evaluation might have been tiring, but he could have pushed through. He’s God after all! But he models something for us for a reason. He knows we need the rest.
Not only does God model rest for us, but he commands it. When we commit some little sin, we often think, “It’s not like I’m breaking one of the 10 Commandments or something!” But are we? Do we keep the Sabbath holy?
We are in a unique position in the fall of 2020. Having had everything stripped from us throughout the spring and summer, we have the moment of evaluation before we jump back in. Maybe we need to take another look at what “normal” looks like for us. Maybe we need to reevaluate before we say “yes” to one more thing. Maybe we need to prioritize before filling our cup to overflowing. Are we allowing that time for rest?
Maybe even a Sunday nap?!? Don’t mind if I do!