We have all heard of that magic 6-hour sleep mark. But a recent study proves that sleep plays a far more significant role than just avoiding grogginess. In fact, there is good evidence that sleep may be one of the greatest factors in our resistance to certain illnesses.
Now, I hate being sick. So I would never willingly let someone spray the cold virus directly up my nose. But that is exactly what researchers did to 164 adults who were part of a sleep study. And, as one might expect, sleep was beneficial.
But even researchers were surprised by the lopsided results. Those who slept 5-hours or fewer were 4.5x more likely to develop a cold. Aric Prather, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, reported, “It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income.” Proper sleep was the chief indicator of avoiding the cold.
Perhaps this is just another lesson we “workaholics” would have learned if we had paid a little more attention to scripture. After all, “get your proper rest” is a message the Bible teaches consistently. And it is important for body and spirit.
Now, I realize this isn’t the most politically pressing issue. But sometimes, like God did with Elijah, we can’t work on spiritual matters until we take care of physical needs. And if we took more care of ourselves physically, perhaps we would have the strength to face the great challenges ahead.
God gave us the example; He chose to rest from His work (Genesis 2:2-3). Scripture teaches us to work when it is time to work and rest when it is time to rest (Exodus 20:8-10). Jesus taught His disciples to take time to rest (Mark 6:31). In fact, He took important time to sleep when He could (Matthew 8:24).
Nothing interferes with a good night’s sleep like the lack of spiritual security. But God gives true peace and rest for His people (Proverbs 3:24; Philippians 4:6-7). On the contrary, lack of sleep is dangerous, causing us to stumble when we need to remain alert (Matthew 26:45).
So get sleep to avoid physical and spiritual “colds”…just not during the sermon this Sunday!