Sleep is so important for maintaining good physical and emotional health. In the book The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal, the authors share some interesting information on sleep.
“The clearest ninety-minute rhythm is the ‘sleepability’ cycle. About every ninety minutes, you enter a short period during which you are vulnerable to fatigue and sleepiness. …
“These rhythmic periods of sleepability are shorter during the morning hours than in the afternoon. That’s why it’s usually more difficult to take a nap in the morning than later in the day. Some of the time, you can fight off this fatigue—particularly if what you are doing is interesting or different. However, most of the time you would do best to give in to the rhythm and take a short break from your work—especially around the lunch hour, when you are already battling the early afternoon let down.”
“Scientists have found that when we are bored, under stress, or short of sleep, our ninety-minute cycles tend to shorten to roughly sixty minutes. That may explain why we eat and smoke more under stressful or boring circumstances.”
What deep sleep does for you:
What dream sleep does for you:
Things that can disrupt your sleep rhythms:
Things that can enhance your sleep rhythms:
“Many scientists now believe that we were meant to sleep twice a day, once during the afternoon and again at night. … In one study, college students who regularly napped showed improved scores on skill and memory tests taken just after a nap.”
“Scientists have also discovered that short naps (twenty minutes or less) are just as revitalizing as long ones—and less disruptive to regular sleep rhythms. In addition, regular nappers wake up more refreshed than those who take only an occasional nap. When naps are part of the regular daily rhythm, they are less disruptive.”
Another great book is Sleep: It Does A Family Good. That book review is here.
I really enjoyed reading The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal (you can read my full book review by clicking here). From this book, I’ve begun implementing a few of the tips I discovered. Here are a few of the facts and tips that I found interesting.
I’ll be sharing some of the research that Susan Perry and Jim Dawson uncovered about the importance of sleep soon, so stay tuned!
Do you know when is your best time to work on a mentally-challenging project? Or perform an athletic event? Or even take a nap? Our body clocks function predictably, but the issue is knowing what rhythm your particular body is following. In The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal, Susan Perry and Jim Dawson help us discover how to tap into our optimal performances.
The ups-and-downs, alert-and-tired, focus-and-distracted cycles of our body are largely predictable. Our bodies operate fairly consistently on a “clock” that can be learned. Once you know your rhythms, you can adjust your daily activities to operate at your very best. This book gives you amazing insight into the research of chronobiologists, and lots of charts to help you track your body’s clock, and even highly practical tips for how to re-adjust your clock if things have gotten askew.
You will learn about how to keep things in sync, as well as how to get things back in sync after an illness or traveling to a new timezone. You will discover the best time of day to do certain activities, how to plan your sleep schedule, how to anticipate and regulate your mood changes, your “health thermometer,” and even how your diet can work with your body clock.
This is a highly practical book! If you want to get back in sync or raise your performance levels, I recommend you check out The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith thinks you may be too busy to read her book Sacred Rest, and she was candid enough to admit that she was almost too busy to write it! But rest is absolutely vital to keep our lives on track and productive. Check out my full review of Dr. Dalton-Smith’s book by clicking here.
“When I am resting because my body is weak, I need to remember that I’m not wasting the day doing nothing. I am doing exactly what I need to do. I’m recovering.” —Anonymous
“There has to be a bridge between good and bad sleep, and that bridge is rest. Sleep is solely a physical activity. Rest, however, penetrates into the spiritual. Rest speaks peace into the daily storms your mind, body, and spirit encounter. Rest is what makes sleep sweet.”
“All rest is not created equal. Much of what we consider rest fails to work because it is not restful. Shifting our activities or changing the location of where we are active is no more restful than doing those same activities at home. The most effective rest occurs when we are purposefully reviving the parts of our life we regularly deplete. Any so-called rest that does not meet this goal isn’t rest; it’s just more work adding to the busyness.”
“As important as it is to rest your body, it’s equally important to quiet your mind from the ongoing influx of information it receives. Much like our social media news feeds, our mental background noise is often infused with negativity. Thoughts about the future are contaminated with anxiety, thoughts about the past are tainted with regret, and thoughts about the present are spoiled with discontentment. The mind is magnificent, but it has its own agenda. Rather than willingly focusing on positive affirming thoughts, the mind prefers to settle upon negative ones that intensify stress, worry, anger, and frustration. It will attempt to occupy your attention with useless information, depleting your time and your energy. Mental rest involves relinquishing the constant stream of thoughts entering your mind quickly and obtaining a sense of cerebral stillness.”
“One should not set about treating the body without the soul. This is exactly why most ailments are beyond the capabilities of Greek healers: they neglect the whole when that is what they should be paying attention to.” —Plato
“Physical pain increases when you are under emotional stress and spiritual distress. Anything you can do to improve emotional pain will also improve how you feel physically.”
“Social rest is when we find comfort in our relationships and social interactions. … Studies show an improved immune system, better cardiovascular health, and less dementia in those who regularly enjoy the companionship of close confidantes.”
“We are not made for rest; rest was made for us. Rest is God’s gift back to His people. His presence is how He connects us to His rest. It is part invitation and part prescription.”
“Excuses are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior. It’s how we rationalize our neglect and how we avoid taking responsibility for our choices. … With excuses, we’ve placed external blame for internal problems and stay in a cycle of unproductivity.”
“A well-rested life is a secret hidden in plain sight. It is a life at one with God, self, and others. It’s a life strengthened by winding down the expectations of others and charging up your expectations for yourself. You become in tune with what you need to be at your best. You become comfortable with your strengths and knowledgeable about your weaknesses. You then use that information to pour into the areas needing strengthening and reinforce areas already strong. You find your sweet spot in living, loving, being, doing, and resting.”
Medical doctor Saundra Dalton-Smith opens her book Sacred Rest with a telling line: “Let’s be honest; we are all just too busy. I am too busy to write this book, and you are probably too busy to read this book.” How true that is! We desperately need quality rest to recuperate from our busy lives, but we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that rest is a waste of time.
Some people mistakenly think that sleep is rest. But, as Dr. Dalton-Smith quickly points out, that isn’t true. Sleep is required for our good health, but sleep is a natural by-product of rest. Rest isn’t just taking a nap; it goes so much deeper and wider than that.
A good portion of this book is built-around Dr. Dalton-Smith’s acrostic R-E-S-T. She says, “Let me share a little medical secret with you. The most underused, chemical-free, safe, effective, alternative medicine is spelled R-E-S-T: Recognize your risk, Evaluate your current position, Science and research, Today’s application.”
In Sacred Rest, you will learn not only what parts of our lives need rest, but also some highly practical ways to get that rest we so desperately need. This book is not written in medical terminology, but in easy-to-understand principles that anyone can grasp.
Dr. Dalton-Smith shares how she has followed her own prescription for rest, and the difference it has made in her life. Quite simply she says, “What I am promising is that as you begin to understand the role rest plays in your life you will do the following: replace the stress of intense living with the peace of intentional rest, and identify your rest deficit and discover which types of rest you need most.”
Please!—Make time in your busyness to read this book on rest so that you can learn how to be the most you can be without burning yourself out.
I am a Faith Words book reviewer.
It’s no secret that being tired can lead to a lot of not-so-nice consequences. Everything from automobile crashes, to poor work performance, to foot-in-mouth statements, to giving in to temptations, to health issues are all traced back to not getting enough peaceful sleep.
Psalm 127 says, “God grants sleep to those He loves.” Guess what? God loves you, and wants you to have a peaceful night’s sleep!
Here are some benefits to getting solid sack time:
All of this God wants to give to those He loves. “God loves me, so I’m going to sleep peacefully tonight!”
The problem is we often sabotage God’s blessing of sweet sleep by our own poor decisions during the day. So here are seven things you can do to cooperate with God’s blessing of sleep:
God loves you. He wants to give you the blessing of peaceful sleep. If you’re going to sleep peacefully tonight, make sure you are not sabotaging what God wants to give you.
If you’ve missed any of the messages in this series, you can access the complete list by clicking here.
I had an amazing time last week at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Every year I came away with some many thoughts, and a brand new passion for the various leadership roles in which I get to serve.
Below are just a few of my notes that I jotted down during an intense two days.
“Everybody wins when a leader gets better.”
“Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.”
Hybels discussed four leadership lenses:
1. Passionate leader (depicted by vibrant bright red frames)
2. People leader (cool frames, but cracked lenses)
3. Performance leader (self-adjusting glasses)
4. Legacy leader (sunglasses with a rearview mirror [cyclist])
An average commercial airline has 4 million parts!
Melinda says of herself, “I am an impatient optimist. We are changing the world, but we need to change it faster.”
“At the end of the day, you have to hear the cries of those in need, let your heart break and act in courage.”
“All of us have been entrusted with something. What are we doing to leverage it?”
In thinking about the parable of the talents … “To Jesus, faithfulness is not just sitting with what you have been given, but multiplying what you have been given. God’s mission is not maintaining.”
“Playing it safe is not enough for a follower of Jesus Christ.”
Three principles for expanding our leadership reach:
2. Empower your people
3. Embrace risk
All inputs into the brain travel through the limbic system first (emotional center) before the inputs travel to the frontal cortex. The EI (emotional intelligence) center is in the front of the brain, just above the left eye.
Only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.
EQ (the Emotional Quotient that measures emotional intelligence) is not IQ.
EQ can be improved all throughout life.
Four components of emotional intelligence:
1. Self-awareness: knowing my emotions, and knowing my tendencies. I need to lean into my discomfort if I want to improve.
2. Self-management: what I do with this increased self-awareness. This is not “stuffing” my feelings. The biggest mistake is only trying to manage negative emotions; positive emotions need to be managed too.
3. Social awareness: focusing more on others than on myself.
4. Relationship management: using the first three skills in concert. Seeing how my behavior is affecting the other person, and then adjusting accordingly.
How to increase my EQ:
Three qualities of an ideal team player:
“To develop people, we have to have the courage to humbly and constantly talk to people about their ‘stuff.’”
Rahm Charan asked:
“The hardest thing a leader will ever do is drive a strategy that changes someone’s behavior.”
There are four disciplines for making changes in human behavior:
On The Culture Map communication is divided into Low vs. High Context:
Anglo-Saxon countries are typically low context.
Latin American are mid-low.
Asian countries are usually high context.
In low context we tend to nail things down in writing, where in high context we leave things more open to later interpretation.
“Context impacts communication. … We need to read both the messages ‘in the air’ as well as the explicitly stately messages.”
“In a high context culture, repeat things less, ask more questions, learn to ‘read the air.’”
“Good leaders lift.”
“You have to find the people before you lead the people.”
“The one thing leaders have to get right—they must intentionally add value to people every day.”
Five things that intentionally adds value to people:
If you attended the GLS, please share in the comments below something amazing / challenging / paradigm-busting that you learned. Let’s all keep on learning!
“I did go thus far for many years…using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offense; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places; and, God is my record, before Whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do His will in all things; to please Him who had called me to ‘fight the good fight,’ and to ‘lay hold of eternal life.’ Yet my own conscience beareth me witness in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”
To help keep himself on the right path, Wesley came up with this list of questions he regularly asked himself. This is a list any Christian would do well to read through regularly—