What’s Your Sleep Cycle?

By Charles W. Page, MD –

The 24-hour circadian rhythm of homo sapiens has baffled biologists for years. Sleep is one of those pieces of human behavior that doesn’t seem to fit their evolutionary puzzle. Human beings tend to display monophasic patterns of rest—sleeping for one large continuous time period. This seems to contradict most modern theories of evolution.

When followed to its logical conclusion, evolution appears to suggest that sleep is a bad idea. According to the principles of natural selection, “those that snooze—lose!” If animals are not constantly aware of the potential threats around them, their survival is threatened. And those that do not survive fail to transmit their genes to the next generation.

Several creative theories have been promoted to help explain away this basic dilemma of sleep cycles in “evolved” humans. One maintains that humankind has only been conditioned to rest for a continuous period of the circadian cycle. It contends that man is still intrinsically geared to sleep like their more primordial ancestors and can still be reconditioned back into taking multiple small “cat naps” through the circadian cycle.

One of the champions of the polyphasic theory, Dr. Claudio Stampi, recommends taking multiple intermittent naps during the day instead of sleeping continuously for eight hours at night. His theory claims this pattern allows individuals to maximize their productivity and potential during a 24-hour period. In other words—sleep less and do more. Polyphasic sleeping is an alternative sleep pattern being researched as an option for those who need to function amidst sleep deprivation (i.e., NASA astronauts, long distance sailboat racers and soldiers).

For those of you whose eyelids are still open after absorbing these superfluous and slumberous ideas, let me suggest to you a simpler approach to rest. (One way or another—I did promise to help you sleep!) Instead becoming a polyphasic sleeper to maximize your productivity, why not surrender control to the One who created you? Sleep was God’s idea. God created you to release control of your frustrations, worries, fears and schedules and to fall asleep in His arms. Someone once said that “sleep is God’s contrivance to give to man what he cannot do for himself while he is awake.” By faith, learn to put your trust in a God who protects and provides for you as you rest.

God could have fashioned your circadian rhythms similar to other animals on this planet. For example, God did not create you with the sleeping habits of giraffes or elephants, which slumber for less than four hours per day. You were not created to always be on the alert for potential threats to your security. On the other hand, God did not create you like a bear that hibernates for several months out of the year. Your sleep cycles could have been shaped similar to a dolphin. Dolphins sleep with one-half of their brain “on” and the other side turned “off.” Unlike dolphins, your brain was not created to multitask while you rest.

God uniquely made you to “turn off” when you turn in. God wonderfully made you to surrender your life into His hands. Trust Him. He’s got your back!

Affluenza—the Newest Sleep Disorder?

By Charles W. Page, MD –

“The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.”
(Ecclesiastes 5:12 NIV)

A new sleep disorder has appeared on the horizon—affluenza. It is described as “the painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste, resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” (Jon de Graaf—Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic. 2001)

Affluenza may become the most common malady affecting sleep. Our society is by far the most affluent in history. When compared to other nations, we have an abundance of almost everything—money, apps, cell phones, computers, opportunities, education, food. Remember Michael Jackson?

One would think that our abundance would be sufficient enough to supply a good night’s rest—that we would be content and thankful for what we have. But Solomon reminds us of the illusion that the very things we think will make us secure and comfortable actually work in the reverse—“but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.” Our consumer mindset leaves us with too many options, too many deadlines, and too many regrets to deal with as we lay our heads on our pillows.

In contrast to the abundance of things this world offers, Jesus promised an abundance of life (John 10:10). He modeled the balance of a busy purposeful life that flowed out of a position of rest. On one occasion, in the bow of a sinking ship, the Savior slept calmly, unaffected by a raging storm. Exhausted from a productive day of ministry, Jesus rested peacefully. He is the perfect example of productive, purposeful work and peaceful rest. What was the Savior’s secret?

Solomon gives us two principles to help us follow in our Master’s footsteps. “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much.” First, we need to learn to work intentionally—not just busywork to fill up our days. Whatever we do, our labor must be in and for the Lord. Purposefully laboring according to God’s purpose for our lives sets us up for good rest.

The second truth that helps us rest is to understand a laborer leaves the decisions of the day to the boss. A day worker has the advantage of lying down to rest with an unburdened mind—no decisions, no deadlines, no dilemmas to face at the end of the day. Getting our daily instructions from God, prioritizing our lives accordingly, and leaving the results up to Him nurture a lifestyle that sets us up for sleep. In short, instead of the “dogged pursuit of the Jones,” when we live in the dogged pursuit of Jesus, we prepare our nights for sweet refreshing sleep.

If Jesus slept with a calm heart during the storms of life—so can you. The abundance of life in Christ can be yours—you can rest assured in that promise.

 

What’s Your Sleep Cycle?

By Charles W. Page, MD –

The 24-hour circadian rhythm of homo sapiens has baffled biologists for years. Sleep is one of those pieces of human behavior that doesn’t seem to fit their evolutionary puzzle. Human beings tend to display monophasic patterns of rest—sleeping for one large continuous time period. This seems to contradict most modern theories of evolution.

When followed to its logical conclusion, evolution appears to suggest that sleep is a bad idea. According to the principles of natural selection, “those that snooze—lose!” If animals are not constantly aware of the potential threats around them, their survival is threatened. And those that do not survive fail to transmit their genes to the next generation.

Several creative theories have been promoted to help explain away this basic dilemma of sleep cycles in “evolved” humans. One maintains that humankind has only been conditioned to rest for a continuous period of the circadian cycle. It contends that man is still intrinsically geared to sleep like their more primordial ancestors and can still be reconditioned back into taking multiple small “cat naps” through the circadian cycle.

One of the champions of the polyphasic theory, Dr. Claudio Stampi, recommends taking multiple intermittent naps during the day instead of sleeping continuously for eight hours at night. His theory claims this pattern allows individuals to maximize their productivity and potential during a 24-hour period. In other words—sleep less and do more. Polyphasic sleeping is an alternative sleep pattern being researched as an option for those who need to function amidst sleep deprivation (i.e., NASA astronauts, long distance sailboat racers and soldiers).

For those of you whose eyelids are still open after absorbing these superfluous and slumberous ideas, let me suggest to you a simpler approach to rest. (One way or another—I did promise to help you sleep!) Instead becoming a polyphasic sleeper to maximize your productivity, why not surrender control to the One who created you? Sleep was God’s idea. God created you to release control of your frustrations, worries, fears and schedules and to fall asleep in His arms. Someone once said that “sleep is God’s contrivance to give to man what he cannot do for himself while he is awake.” By faith, learn to put your trust in a God who protects and provides for you as you rest.

God could have fashioned your circadian rhythms similar to other animals on this planet. For example, God did not create you with the sleeping habits of giraffes or elephants, which slumber for less than four hours per day. You were not created to always be on the alert for potential threats to your security. On the other hand, God did not create you like a bear that hibernates for several months out of the year. Your sleep cycles could have been shaped similar to a dolphin. Dolphins sleep with one-half of their brain “on” and the other side turned “off.” Unlike dolphins, your brain was not created to multitask while you rest.

God uniquely made you to “turn off” when you turn in. God wonderfully made you to surrender your life into His hands. Trust Him. He’s got your back!