In this episode, I talk about five aspects of life that are affected by sleep. Both the positive, and the negative.
But, first, let’s connect on Facebook. I’d love to hear what tips you have on living your own life better. You can find me at facebook.com/philipkdevine, and that’s Philip with one L.
So, let’s get to the main content here with the importance of rest.
I want to tell you a quick story. When I was in the Marine Corps, one of the things I learned besides discipline and how to push my own limits was how to push through fatigue. When you’re in combat, you can’t just take a break whenever you want to and call a timeout with the enemy. If you’re tired and there’s no immediate threat, you still have to stand post, fill sandbags, or go on patrol. You need to do whatever the mission calls for and totally disregard your own fatigue or your own feeling of tiredness, regardless of how tired you are.
I remember when I got back from Iraq, my mom said that I could fall asleep anywhere at the drop of a dime, and that’s probably a skill I learned which was beneficial for the Marine Corps in combat, but something that is not necessarily beneficial in civilian life.
One of the things that I found as I transitioned to civilian life and I enjoy it tremendously is that it’s not good to push through when you’re tired. It’s actually really bad. And so, I kind of want to talk about the negatives and the positives of pushing through being tired.
So, I want to start this first, though, with the precedence that was set in Genesis 2:3 where God rested after working in His creation. I think that’s pretty important to take note of. I am a Christian and so, you know, if there is something that God suggests or does, then I am going to do that and I think it would behoove everyone to do it even if you’re not a Christian. It’s just a good idea to rest.
So, let’s talk about the negative aspects of rest. I’m going to do kind of a comparison; I’m going to talk about an aspect of rest and the negative side, and then, of course, the flip side which is the positive side.
One of the first things I want to talk about with not getting enough rest is your health. I know for myself, if I don’t get enough sleep, if I’m not resting on a regular basis, then I get bloated. I can’t stay awake, of course, because I’m tired, and I start getting more headaches. It’s generally just a downward cycle until I get enough rest and, of course, by the time I get enough rest, I’ve missed a whole bunch of things that I’d like to do because I have to catch up. So, there’s some serious negative impacts on your health that not getting enough rest can have besides raising your blood pressure which is extremely unhealthy anyway.
Of course, the positive aspect of getting enough rest is that your blood pressure is low. You’re more relaxed. You’re probably a better person to be around. So, as you can see, with rest, there’s always a negative and a positive, and I want to talk about the health aspect.
Another aspect of rest, of course, is the attitude that comes with either not getting enough rest or getting enough rest. When I don’t get enough rest or when I’m tired, I get extremely grumpy and I’m not a nice person to be around. It’s extremely difficult to be tired and still be pleasant – even to my wife and my children which is why it’s so important for me to get enough rest. Not at the expense, of course, of not hanging out with my family and spending time with them, but for me to take it upon myself, to discipline myself enough to say, “You know what? It’s enough working on this and it’s time to simply just rest, relax, and get some sleep,” because, when I am rested, I love everything. I mean, literally, it’s night and day.
When I’m tired and I have my attitude going on, it could be 72 degrees and sunny in San Diego, and if I was there, I would probably tell you that it’s below freezing, cloudy, and miserable. But, when I’ve had enough rest, I could be in the Sahara Desert and it’s 120 degrees, and I’d probably say, “You know what? It’s not that bad. It’s pretty nice, I mean, it’s a little toasty but, yeah, it’s good. It’s good.” And that’s simply just by getting enough rest. So, it’s incredible how much rest can impact our attitudes.
Another thing that rest can impact, of course, is our focus. When I don’t have enough rest, I cannot focus for anything, and I’m not talking about even sitting down for a thirty-minute project or something I want to write, I want to write something for thirty minutes. I’m talking like I sit down in my recliner and I’ll play a game on my phone and then I’ll switch to something else or maybe I’ll want to go grab a book. But, as soon as I start getting into whatever it is I’m trying to do and I’m tired, I immediately lose focus and I can’t make any progress. It’s actually really frustrating which, of course, compounds on the problem.
On the flip side, if you are rested – or when I’m rested, at least – I have incredible focus. In fact, my most proactive hours are in the morning. So, when I wake up with a good night’s sleep and I have a nice cup of coffee – because I’m a coffee guy, I’m not going to lie – I am so focused, I can tune everything else out and, if it’s just simply reading a book, I get absorbed in that, or if it’s writing a paper, I’m into that. Whatever it is, I can focus so much better which, of course, ties into the next thing which is productivity.
If you go to work and you’re tired, and you continue going to work and continue to be tired, your productivity will suffer, and not necessarily just the numbers – whatever metrics are used to measure your productivity at work – but also your workplace relationships because people are going to notice that this guy comes in tired, he has bags under his eyes which means not only are you tired but you’re starting to look tired, and that’s going to have a negative impact on everything at work with your productivity.
Of course, the flip side again is that, if you’re rested and you go to work, you’ll be more energetic, you’ll be able to think quicker on your feet, you’ll be able to solve problems better. Everything is better when you’re well rested.
And then, the last thing I want to talk about as far as rest is concerned is creativity. So, let me give you an example – a real-life example – which is this podcast. I have to be creative and come up with content to talk to you about. And, when I am tired, it is almost impossible to come up with something to talk about, to create my goofy little mind maps that I post in the show notes. It’s impossible and I’m negative about everything. I can’t focus. I have a bad attitude. I don’t feel good. Do you see a trend here? Okay.
So, of course, when you do have enough rest, you can be incredibly creative. One of the things I love doing as a hobby is just playing guitar. When I’m well rested, I can pick up my guitar and write a song from scratch and like it and enjoy it, play it for my wife. It’s fantastic. I can come up with content for this podcast. I can write my paper better. I enjoy my family better because I’m more creative and I think, “How can we do something with the kids that they’ll enjoy?” or, “What’s something I can do that’s really special for Loretta, my wife?” and that all comes from rest.
Now, I want to talk about a few different types of rest. Mainly, you know, there’s rest where you sleep, and then, there’s rest where you just kind of exist. In our society now, in our mobile society and Internet-enabled society, it’s really difficult to simply rest.
I mean, I’ll tune you into a secret here. In my house, we don’t have a TV and that’s simply because I grew up without one. I enjoy TV – there’s nothing wrong with it. My wife and I have simply decided that we will not have a TV in our house.
Now, you would think, “Well, you know, you don’t have a TV so, you know, you can just rest whenever.” True, but I also have a phone – a smartphone. I also have a computer with the Internet. I mean, there’s so much to do, so much to access, even just on my phone or on the Internet, that it’s hard to simply rest – to just sit down on my recliner and just exist for fifteen minutes. It’s a practice that I’m trying to integrate into my morning routine.
Of course, we have plenty of other things going on in our lives with three little kids but, you know, rest can mean sleep, but it can also mean just disengaging your brain and your body. Or maybe it may not even be a physical rest; maybe you just go on a walk and don’t think about anything – that’s how it is when I go on a run; I think I talked about that in my first podcast episode.
But the main thing is rest is the foundation of your day. You know, if you get a good night’s sleep, and if you’re able to rest throughout your day, here and there – maybe just a catnap here or maybe a ten-minute walk to lunch and just kind of zone out – you will be big improvements in your day.
You know, I’m going to go back to the Bible when God rested. He didn’t rest because He was exhausted from creating stuff. I mean, He’s God so He doesn’t really get exhausted versus me, when I finish a podcast or I finish running or creating anything that I really pour myself into, at the end of it, I’m drained – I’m excited, but I’m drained. I think what God did for us was set a precedent. He said, “Look, I created you. I know what’s best for you. I know how you work and I’m saying you need to rest this day because it will help you in the long run,” and I firmly believe that.
And I hope that, after this podcast episode, you’ll maybe just sit down and rest. Take your headphones out. Sit down in your chair or maybe just go for a walk and kind of disengage from everything that’s going on around you so you can come back refreshed, positive, with a good attitude, feeling healthy. You’ll be focused, you’ll be more productive, you’ll be more creative. You’ll be a better person to be around.
So, one thing I want to ask you is: How do you rest and relax? Are there any sort of techniques that you use? Do you meditate? Do you go on a run? Do you just lay down on the couch and relax? Do you talk to your wife over coffee? What is it that you do to rest and relax?
To comment on this episode, go to my blog at philipdevine.com/episode05.
And, finally, my next podcast episode will be on why you should ask for forgiveness.
If you have a question about this topic or anything else, please leave me a voicemail at philipdevine.com/podcastquestion. This is a great way to cross-promote your blog or website because I’ll link to it in the show notes.
Well, that’s it for this episode of Live Life Better.
I want to say thanks to my buddy, Justin Medley, for making this podcast sound amazing. You can visit him at reverbnation.com/justinmedley.
I’d be grateful if you’d rate my podcast on iTunes – that helps tremendously with keeping my podcast visible so people who have never heard it can discover it. And, if you’ve already done this, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
I would also love to come speak at your church or organization. To find out more about the topics I cover and to contact me, just go to philipdevine.com/speaking.
Until next time, remember, use every day to live your life better.