Is getting enough sleep a spiritual discipline? Fr. Mike Schmitz enlightens us
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Fr. Mike Schmitz from Ascension Presents gives this awesome talk about getting to bed and getting enough rest. Most of the people I know have issues sleeping… night owls, early risers, and plenty with insomnia.
What are we doing to our bodies and how is it affecting our lives?
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While some people have medical conditions that keep them from restful sleep, most of us could change a few things in our lives and actually get better rest!
The point in the video that struck me the most is this: the thing we struggle with is the thing that was enforced in our childhood. The endless meal planning and alarm setting of our parents for our internal body clock schedule has backfired. As a mom and wife, I can tell you that feeding a family and keeping them on schedule is a job in itself! Keeping children fed and rested not only helps their healthy growth, but it also helps with the attitude and overall flow of the day. Anyone who has dealt with an overtired, hungry child knows nothing good will come of it! This also applies to adults, though the behavior is not as excusable. The term hangry (hungry-angry!) comes to mind.
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What I see going on here is a lack of discipline. The act of throwing off the parental schedule when we reach adulthood in an “I can do what I want now” attitude has come around to show its true face. The face of love. Most of the discipline we learn as children that we don’t understand or want to follow through with is an act of love by the parent. The tortuous vegetable eating and hours of fighting over homework were not fun for them, trust me. They enforced those things because they knew you needed to eat well and learn certain lessons to function in the world.
Now, that being said, as a Mom who has to enforce bedtime and schedules to keep my children functioning, I myself have a hard time getting to bed on time. Yep. I agree with Fr. Mike when it comes to wanting to relish in the few moments of free time I have to myself and put off tomorrow for as long as possible. SO, what will I do for this new year? I think a good goal will be disciplining myself to make sure everything is ready for the next day by a certain time, and getting myself ready, mind, body and spirit for the rest and gifts that the Lord wishes for me to have.
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. ~ Psalm 127:1-2
Do you have a bedtime routine? A few suggestions for a good night’s sleep:
1. Eat the right foods and get some exercise during the day. Diet and activity play an important role in your quality of sleep. Make sure you will not be hungry or thirsty during the night by eating enough and also that you have not overeaten too close to bedtime.
2. Turn off notifications and sounds for your devices. This helps not getting distracted or disturbed when you are already asleep. Turn everything off and try to get some sleep. If white noise is necessary, it is good to have it on a timer.
3. Prep for the next day (set aside your clothes, pack your lunch, etc) so there is no stress right when you wake up. Don’t forget to set your alarm!
4. Make an examination of conscience and take time to reflect back the highs and lows of your day. Ask yourself if you grew in holiness through your actions. Make a resolution to right any wrongs for the next day.
5. Take some time to pray. Usually prayer time helps relax the body and bring the senses together. Praying before bed is also a good discipline and habit to get into.
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