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In Your Dreams

March 26, 2008

I promised myself that if I could just stay up another two hours to study, I would reward myself with a nap the following day, after my exam.

At 2 a.m., however, the plan had obviously failed as I pulled my head up from the textbook on which it had fallen and stretched my neck free of the cramp that had ensued from my strange sleeping position. Simultaneously disappointed in myself and too tired to care, I dragged myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth and call it a night.

“So, library?,” my classmate, Marie, asked as we were leaving our exam the next day.

The daily ritual exercised by almost everyone in my program consists of at least six hours in the library every afternoon.

“I promised myself that I would take a nap,” I told her. “I don’t know, I might skip the nap, though.”

Who vows to do something nice for themself and then goes back on their own promise, you ask? Me. As if a sane person should actually choose the library over a nap. I know, I have a problem.

I walked to my car and drove him with every intention of eating a quick lunch, gathering the books I needed, and heading back to campus again—without a nap. Then, I realized how tired I was. I wasn’t incessantly yawning, but I was overeating to stay awake and craving sugar. I had been moving a little in slow motion all morning and everything felt a little foggy.

Sleep is one of the most important parts of good health and yet, most teenagers and adults admit to skipping it when stressed, overworked, or busy. It might be the most important, but it’s definitely the first to go. In addition to helping to regulate our metabolism and boost immunity, though, the REM portion of our sleep cycle is also speculated to help with mood and stability. Through dreams experienced in the REM cycle, we are able to reconcile stressful and traumatic events of the day. We actually feel better not just because we are well-rested, but because our psyche is helping us work out our problems.

My mother reminded me last weekend that God’s plan of rest is an exhibit of trust in our relationship with Him. It’s true that it feels like we won’t get as much done or keep up with the pack if we take a few hours (or an entire day on Sabbath!) just to rest. But, we are actually more efficient in getting our work done when we are well-rested and God promises that He will work everything out better than we can even imagine (Isaiah 58:13-14)!

So yes, I did end up taking my nap after all. And, in case you are wondering, yes I did have some crazy dreams! The details of those are perhaps better explained on another site…like maybe theFlow! If you haven’t checked it out yet, go now! (I know you’re just surfing the net anyway!)

Update: If you struggle with not getting enough sleep, do NOT turn to caffeine! It may work for a little while, but eventually your body will compensate and you will need more and more caffeine to meet your baseline expectations. Your body can also have poor reactions to caffeine, which is what is happening to me right now. I tried to order a "decaf iced coffee with soy" from the coffee shop on campus a few minutes ago (I haven't had caffeine in my diet for a few years) and ended up getting a "regular iced coffee with soy" because they were out of decaf. Now, I have a raging headache and am bitter about the lack of quality decaffeinated drinking items on campus. Let this be your lesson.

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