20 January 2014

Feeling Tired

I've had cause this weekend to study the effects of lack of sleep on the human body. This past weekend has been a very, very long day! Only myself to blame I suppose - all of the extra activities have been totally voluntary, church-based commitments. But it has stirred up a whole collection of random thoughts in my head, which I need to get down on this blog before I get up for work tomorrow morning. If this post is a little more disjointed than usual - well, that might be one more effect of 'burning the candle at both ends'...

As a result of this 'research' I am well aware of the effects on someone's reaction time. Time distorts; a decision that you would make in a split-second may take you several seconds to make. The morning after a night without sleep is rarely a very productive one for me. I'm reliably advised that a disruption to your usual sleep pattern can produce a slowed reaction -  allegedly as bad as someone who is legally drunk. There's been some interesting medical studies on the topic, some published very recently.

Although many people are aware of the effect of intoxication on, say, your driving ability, we get few warnings on the dangers of 'tired driving' - apart from the one we see on the motorway signs. I try not to drive if I am recovering from a night without sleep.

However, do we ever get warnings of the effects of tiredness on your ability to do a good job at work? Not from some employers I am afraid. These bosses are only concerned about their expenses; in maximising the workload of already-tired staff who are desperate to retain their jobs and their income in a world where employers can't guarantee you the same hours each week... some even offer 'zero-hour contracts'. (I get angry when I think about such things) It's little wonder some people work such long hours: you need to take the work while it is there.

We live in a 24 hour society, with entertainment, information and shopping available on demand and at the touch of a button. Some businesses struggle to keep up with the pace of modern business; demand longer and longer hours from their staff. Others open every hour God sends to ensure they don't lose any opportunity to earn a pound or two.

However, human beings still haven't changed; we simply can't work 24 hours. We still need the basics to survive - food, drink, love... and sleep.

Burning the midnight oil hurts us in more than one way. It disrupts our:
  • Digestion
  • Appetite
  • Physical appearance
  • Alertness to danger
  • Concentration
  • Family time
  • Love life
  • Social life
  • Quality of work
  • Moods
I'll leave the final word to Scripture to round us off today. It asks us a most important question: why would we do it? I've had to take a long look at my own motivations this weekend for abusing my body in this way, seriously questioning whether what I am doing is God-glorifying. For if He isn't at the centre of what I do, what is the point?

Psalm 127:1-2 (MSG)
"If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?"

1 comment:

Just Be Real said...

Hi Colin, thank you for sharing what a little what is going on with you. May God's peace and healing surround you and energize your body, soul and spirit. Blessings my friend.