This is one of my favorite days of the year–that wonderful, amazing, spectacular Sunday when we all collect and extra hour of shut-eye. I know that may sound silly, but it feels like such a luxury to spend those extra 60 minutes in slumber. Even if I’m sort of awake or the dogs are whining to be fed, it still feels like I have somehow cheated time.
Let me explain. I am not a morning person to begin with, so bounding bright-eyed and bushy-tailed out of bed with the first crow of that annoying rooster down the street is not in my frame of reference. For me, morning usually involves stumbling out of bed and not feeling human until ingesting a large cup of coffee.
Sleep is something most of us fail to get enough of anyhow, and it is one of the most important things we can do to take good care of ourselves. Lack of sleep can wreak havoc with your health. According to researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, chronic sleep loss can “reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions such as processing and storing carbohydrates or regulating hormone secretion” (The Lancet, October 23, 1999). In fact these effects are so significant that the researchers noted “changes that resembled the effects of advanced age or the early stages of diabetes–after less than one week.”
It’s a battle to get seven or eight hours of quality sleep each night, but now that I understand the sleep loss/health connection and have experienced its effects first hand through two graduate degrees and a bout with cancer, I really try to be a better steward of my body and mind. After all, each day–even each breath–is a gift of God. We must do our part to attend to and be grateful for the gift of life and health.
That’s why I am thankful to “fall back” one day each year and give thanks for the gift of sleep. Rest well, friends! Your health and maybe even your life depend on it!
Photo by Alan Cleaver used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!