Rest . . . Can’t Skimp on it, Can’t Bank It

Rest . . . Can’t Skimp on it, Can’t Bank It

My precocious 4 year old great granddaughter was telling me about the seeds she had planted with daddy.  She had forgotten to water them that day, so we talked about how they grow. “Every day they need water and sun. It helps them stretch and grow little by little until they become what they were intended to be.” I told her.

“What happens at night?” Elisabeth asked.  “The seeds have to rest.” I said.  “Nothing can grow constantly.  It grows during the day and rests at night, so it can grow again tomorrow. “ She said nothing, but her big round eyes told me she was thinking about this.

How profound I can sound to a 4 year old.  Later I reflected on what I had said. When our lives become super busy, over-committed, with too many goals and “To Do’s”, we lose not only effectiveness, but more importantly: REST.

We cannot rest completely with too much unfinished business.  We will either put off sleep until too late for the natural rhythms to work properly, or we will lie there mentally continuing our day.  Night after night, we do just three more things instead of going to bed, thinking we will catch up on our sleep on the weekend or the holiday.

Here’s what I have learned about the resting period known as sleep :

  • Must be consistent, with an adequate amount each night.  Check out this link to see what the Washington Post found happens when you don’t get adequate rest, we’re talking diabetes, cancer and obesity.
  • Allows our cells to repair and rebuild Harvard Medical has a good article on this. It confirms the physiological changes that occur during sleep include rebuilding and repairing cells.
  • Heals our mind and spirit.  A great piece from Asia One expands on this. Our minds and spirits need to rest regularly.  The benefits are great and the lack affects our outlook and interactions with others negatively.
  • Frees our minds and thoughts, allowing us to regroup sufficiently for a new day.  So, how do we do this?  You must prepare your mind to be ready to rest, when your body is ready to rest.
  • Turn off the television at least an hour prior if you are a couch potato.
  • Tidy your space and lay out what you will need the next morning. It is freeing, with less to remember.
  • Take a bath or shower with a change into comfortable night clothes. It further sets the stage for resting.
  • Sip a cup of herbal tea and read meditational material.
  • If you journal, put down thoughts or commit your concerns to a list.
  • Open a window.
  • Use a fan, mood music or nature sounds for white noise.
  • Remove all light sources.
  • Finally, a little talk with your Creator always helps.  It should include thanks for the good things and lessons of the day, along with placing the impossible situations we all seem to have squarely in His hands for the night.
  • Gives time for our creative juices to replenish.  A mind freed of concerns to the fullest extent possible is free to create.  Unsolved problems by bedtime go into our subconscious.  During deep sleep, our amazing minds actually solve problems.  As you lazily come to wakefulness, there it is! The solutions fall into place. You wonder why you didn’t see it before!
  • Cannot be banked, to catch up another night.  Realize it.  You are in charge of yourself!!  Make a conscious decision to plan to sleep when you should be doing so. Everything will not ever be done.  Give yourself permission to go to bed.  Try the tips above to ready yourself.  Consistent rest is the only healthy rest.  You cannot “catch up later”.  Your body responds best to regular rhythms and spaces for all activities, including a regular, adequate time to sleep.
  • Will eventually make you sick.  Lack of adequate sleep creates stress to our whole body.  Our immune system also works to heal while we rest.  If we consistently get less sleep than we require, our immune system weakens.  We become susceptible to the colds and germs around us, that we might otherwise be able to resist.

Remember, like I shared with little Elisabeth, plants don’t grow 24 hours a day.  They need a dark place to rejuvenate.  So do you!

Do you over-commit?

Do you compulsively do too much before allowing yourself to rest?

Do you think that you can push, push, push, then instantly plop into bed and still sleep well?

Perhaps you have identified definite results in your own life that directly relate to your sleeping and rest habits.  Please share your experiences:


Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Michelle says:

    Anne, I enjoyed reading this. You bring many valuable things to light that can help a person sleep better. After losing my hustand 7 years ago, I fell into a period of insomnia. I couldn’t sleep, this continued for several years. I gained weight, I got sick, all of the things you mentioned above. I finally sat down and tried to figure out why, I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier…. I realized that I was drinking way to much cafeine late at night, I was watching too many action TV shows and then trying to lay down to go to sleep, my mind would refuse to shut down. A few months ago, I broke the cafeine habit and removed that from my life entirely. I now stop watching TV 2 hours before bedtime, when I get ready for bed, I lay down, get out a book to read which is what relaxes me, I read one chapter turn off the lights and off to sleep I go within 10 minutes. Its a life changer for me. Insomina for 7 years and now I sleep 9 hours straight. Its a life changer….

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Everything you said is textbook for what I was reading when I researched this sleep topic. I am so glad you posted. I think others can benefit from your experience. And now you have gone from insomnia to 9 hrs a night!! Carrie, if you are reading, check out Michelle’s post.
      All the best, and happy sleeping! Anne

  2. Naomi says:

    Great article. Lots of good information for all you folks who have such busy lives. When I retired, I went overboard on staying up as late as I wanted and sleeping in. That is my biological rhythm, which unfortunately does not match most of the people I know. Since I am sort of deaf too, sounds do not bother me unless they decide to mow the lawn early in the morning. Using a sleep mask keeps out the light because, you are right, you need darkness to really rest. Food for thought. Thanks!

    • Anne says:

      Hi Naomi,
      Thank for your comments. I know you have a different rhythm, that’s for sure. Don’t know how you do it, but as long as you are getting your consistent rest then you should be fine. And darkness is a factor for deep sleep, so glad you use the mask. And if you didn’t have your crazy sleep habits, I would never get trees from you.
      Love you,

  3. Lori Bristol says:

    I must admit that as of late I have changed my routine drastically. I used to be in bed much earlier.
    Now if I am in the middle of a good book or a few games of Word Scramble on my phone, I keep watching the clock thinking, “Another hour won’t hurt”.
    You have shown me that it does hurt in various ways. I need to get back to a consistent rest/sleep routine.
    When I have a lot on my mind and have trouble falling into a good sleep I keep reminding myself to give it all to God. He knows what to do with it a lot more than I do.
    Love you,

    • Anne Collins says:

      Lori, The attitude that a little longer doesn’t matter is really just not true, is it? We do fine for awhile, then everything starts to bother us, or we lose patience, or see the glass half empty or some other sign that we are not rested. God is the best place for those troubles, that’s for sure.
      and I love you. thanks for posting.

  4. Joanne Milo says:

    OUTSTANDING!!! How easily we fall into stress patterns … not to mention influences from spouse’s stresses! You can also mention that short sleep is associated with weight gain! Many thanks and hugs!

    • Anne Collins says:

      Joanne, you obviously get enough sleep. You always look great!! I am looking forward to taking my own advice and maybe the weight thing will come into line more. All of it does boil down to stress, doesn’t it? Love your friend, Jeff’s comments on FB. He is a kick! Thanks for your comments.

  5. Anne Collins says:

    Believe me, Carrie, I was preaching to myself! I struggle with this almost on a daily basis. No matter the reason not to, we will be worth more to ourselves, our goals and others if we rest when we should. Actually, I am trying to show you the dark! Haha. A dark room perfect for sleeping, that is! Thank you for sharing. Do you think any of the hints I gave would help your insomnia? That is horrible to deal with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.