Why You Need to Rest too

Time to Rest

From the moment my first daughter was born I have been a stickler about bedtimes, nap times and the importance of rest in my little ones’ lives.  After reading that rest was important for the development of their little brains and bodies that was all it took.  I became the sleep police.

Most of us have been through that phase, weighing our attendance at events on sleep patterns and willing (with Jedi like strength) the dog not to bark as the delivery man appears at your door.  We evaluate room temperature and blackout shades, hunt down blankies and participate in a gazillion bedtime routines just to ensure our children get the rest they need.

And yet during those early weeks and months when everyone tells us to “rest while the baby sleeps” we rarely do.  Instead, using the time to wash bottles, do a load of laundry or one of any other household chore that stacks up after pregnancy.

Why, in the early days of motherhood, do we create the habit of forgoing what we so desperately need? Momma, you need to rest too. Click To Tweet

Why is Rest so Important?

There are countless studies on the importance of rest to the human body.  But babies, growing children and grumpy teens aren’t the only ones in need of rest.  Moms need rest too.  (Pregnancy isn’t the only time your body needs rest.)

In February 2017, Shape magazine ran a story titled “Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?”  I didn’t find the story surprising (as it concluded there was no concrete evidence that women needed more sleep than men) but it did share some startling and important facts as to why as women we need to make sure we are getting enough rest.

“Poor sleep certainly had a more profound effect on women than on men,” says Edward Suarez, Ph.D., an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine and lead researcher of a study that looked at the relationship between poor sleep and poor health. He found that for women, reduced sleep was associated with a significant increase in risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as more stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. However, these associations were weaker or nonexistent for men.

Charlotte, Hilton Andersen, Shape magazine

I don’t know about you, but I have found that many times doing something for my own sake isn’t as strong a motivator as is doing something for the sake of my girls. And so, from that perspective, if we want to be around for our children years from now, one of the easiest things we can is to make sure we are getting enough rest.

Some of the health benefits of sleep include:

  • Getting sick less often
  • Staying at a healthy weight
  • Lowering your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Reducing stress and improve your mood
  • Thinking more clearly and do better in school and at work
  • Getting along better with people
  • Making good decisions and avoid injuries – for example, sleepy drivers cause thousands of car accidents every year

Most adults, including Moms, should get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep a night.  Keep in mind, it’s not just about the hours, but also a regular scheduled of good quality sleep so that you feel rested when you wakeup.

The need or decision to rest is not a sign of weakness. Click To Tweet

Is Rest Biblical?

Rest isn’t just important to our physical and mental well being.  Rest matters to our spiritual well being.  Rest allows us to be renewed mentally, physically and spiritually.  In fact, the Bible offers repeated reminders of the importance of physical rest.  The very first reference to rest can be found in the very first book of the Bible.  God uses the creation story to draw attention to it.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3 (NIV)

God worked for six days creating the earth and all that was on it.  Then, He rested from all the work He had done.

In the New Testament, Jesus recognizes a similar need.  After a busy time of work Jesus leads his disciples away so that they might find rest.

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Momma, can you see your need for rest?  Let’s agree to stop fighting our tired body and mind, and give our weary soul a much needed break.

4 Tips for Getting the Rest You Need

Here are a few quick and easy steps to help you get the rest you need.

  1.  Nap Time.  It’s not just for the kids.  Purpose to take one nap over the weekend – Sunday afternoons are a great time to try this out!
  2. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Set an alarm on your phone 30 minutes before bedtime and start wrapping things up.  There are few things that can’t wait till tomorrow.
  3. Buy some new jammies.  Nothing screams bedtime like a pair of comfy jammies.
  4. Do not disturb.  Once a sign for hotel rooms – now a feature on your phone.  Take advantage of this bit of technology and stop receiving alerts on your phone (including text messages) 30 minutes before bedtime.  Believe me, this tip will keep you from the electronic abyss.

When I don’t get the rest I need everything suffers.  And, if this happens for extended periods of time the wheels start to fall of the bus.  Know what I mean?  This year I am purposing to be more deliberate about getting the rest I need.  What about you?

Be there,

Julia

12 thoughts on “Why You Need to Rest too

  1. I have often told my family that I’m a much happier mama when I get the rest I need. Sleep is so key to my mood, and I can’t white knuckle, caffeine power my way through. I need a solid 8 hours. Making that a priority makes me a better mom. Of course, sometimes I miss the mark and it’s my own fault (thank you Netflix). But I’m learning to make sure it happens.

  2. I went close to five years without a good nights sleep when my twins were born. I had one daughter that loved to sleep (still does). She understood the value of rest. But her twin sister believed that sleep was for the week and never slept for more than an hour or two at a time until she was 5 years old (at least that’s when she stopped waking me up, I’m still not sure she sleeps through the night and she’s 10). I will never take sleep for granted again.

  3. I used to overwork and landed on my face. It wasn’t worth it. Ever since I started last year’s goal of not drinking past 6pm and making sure we got to bed by 9, I + we did so much better. Since then seasons have changed and it’s gotten a little of whack, but we still try to get a full night’s reast even though the hours have shifted a bit. Thanks for sharing this, Julia. Love the study facts you shared too!

  4. Julia yes sleep is important. I used to sleep like a baby and couldn’t wait to go to bed. Since I’ve gotten so much older it seems it comes and goes. 4 hours sleep last night.

    Great post!

  5. Having written about rest so much I had to chime in, I agree that rest is important, physical, spiritual and mental rest. Some of it is our fault, we have to be entertained. But some things are just put upon us. And women are people pleasers, when we should say no .I can’t agree more about babies and small children, they need to be able to quiet and console themselves, to play in a crib or playpen. I always included babies in family daycare with the older children when they could sit up or be in a walker, we had school time and t.v. time, but everyone napped. I believe that there may be correlations to ADHD, but I’m not a doctor. And there may be people who need more sleep. Men were created stronger, just the way it is, they should be loving their wives as Christ, let them have a nap. Praying for the sleep of the beloved, Psalm 27:2 thanks for the good read.

  6. Yes! We need to make sure we get the rest we need. We’ve almost turned the mommy guilt of not allowing ourselves rest into an idol, I wonder. Like if you don’t feel guilty for resting, then there is something wrong with you…because all moms should feel guilty, right? Nope! Not a chance here! I KNOW I function better with good rest (and coffee). Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

  7. Thank you!

    I have a special trick that helps relax me at night and I am sure it stems from my childhood. I keep a jar of Vicks next to my nightstand. In fact, my husband and I jock about it all the time. Sometimes I put a little under my nose and it helps me to sleep!

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