Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Ceasing Activity

I read an article about the effects of sleep deprivation on physical health.
I was wondering what the body does while it's sleeping.
I've noticed over the last few years
that I have a lot of pain in surgical sites that grows when I am tired,
and it fades when I am rested.
As I get older and acquire more history (medically speaking),
sleep feels more and more restorative to me.
And the lack thereof feels more destructive.

The body corrects chemical imbalances while we sleep.
It regulates blood sugar, cleans up its memory files.
In ceasing activity, it maintains memory.
Without sleep, we become a danger to ourselves and others.
Daily maintenance and healing occurs in deep sleep.
If we don't go through enough REM cycles, healing won't take place.
(Night nurses, take notice.)
Pain is intensified by lack of sleep.
It weakens the immune system.
Healthy young men have blood sugar levels
that resemble those of diabetics
after only six nights of reduced sleep.
It spikes cortisol levels -- cortisol is a stress hormone.
That leads to hypertension.
And obesity.
They grow old before they are old.

While we think we are being more productive,
the reality is that death is setting in.
Our relationships suffer,
our memory fails,
and we become chemically imbalanced.

And then there is the effect of light.
Natural light directs the body's sleep cycles.

But artificial light interferes with human health.
It makes us wakeful when we should sleep.
And we stop healing, and remembering what we ought to,
and maintenance of the body fails.
And then we sleep when we ought to wake.

"The body sets its own natural clock by comparing itself to light,
be it the sun or now artificial light from light bulbs.
As a result, the body can get confused
as to when it is supposed to perform the actions necessary during sleep.
Before the invention of electricity,
the body and brain could easily set their own rhythm,
maintaining themselves and warding off
the now apparent physical effects of too little sleep." 

As I read, I marveled.
In quietness and rest, we gain strength.
In standing still, we see the Lord's work accomplished.
Repairing the damage from life here on earth,
restoring the mind, and organizing its learning.
The Lord gives sleep to His beloved.

Furious activity is made possible by artificial light,
but we ought to be walking in His Light.
Measuring ourselves by Him,
and sleeping to be restored;
sleeping to remember.
"I am the Light of the world," He said.
Walking in the Light, and sleeping, and healing;
and blocking out the artificial light that undermines our spiritual health.

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