Some confuse rest with laziness. Because of our industrialized society and the hectic pace most of us have to follow each day, little or no time is spent on taking needed rest. People don’t seem to have a realizing sense of how important and essential rest is in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The majority are of the opinion that one has to work long, hard hours, for several months a year, then take a vacation for two or three weeks. However, such vacations promote anything but rest for most people. Their time is spent in sightseeing; going places and doing things. They fully occupy themselves during the day in their “pleasure vacation,” then fall into bed at night the same as they were doing at home during the 48 or 49 weeks of work! One should not wait for vacation time to rest. It should be incorporated in our daily lives.
Rest can be obtained in two ways–(1) taking a short nap during the mid afternoon; (2) by sound sleep during the night. Instead of dragging around in the afternoon hours, not performing one’s work as we should, our productivity would be greatly increased by taking a short nap in the mid afternoon. Says Harvey Diamond in the book, Living Health, “Many people are apt to confuse the words rest and sleep as being synonymous. Not so. Though both are vitally important, they definitely are not the same. The condition of sleep exists only when consciousness has ceased. Not too many people need convincing that sleep is important. That would seem as necessary as trying to convince someone that water is wet or fire is hot. However, when it comes to the importance of rest, people don’t seem to have a sense of how essential it is in preserving health.
“What is rest? It is a period of inactivity during which the body can restore expended energy. When we’ve depleted our energies faster than they can be restored, a period of inactivity enables the body to catch up. You’ve experienced this. You’re tired, fatigued, so you sit down and close your eyes for a moment or two; your head nods a few times, then all of a sudden you ‘come to’ and in those few seconds you feel refreshed and invigorated.
“There are four kinds of rest that can be used to replenish and refresh oneself.
“1. Physical rest may be obtained by discontinuing physical activity sitting or lying down and relaxing.
“2. Sensory rest is secured by quiet and by refraining from using the eyes, which curtails a great drain of energy.
“3. Emotional rest is achieved.by withdrawing from involvement in the ups and downs caused by personal interaction.
“4. Mental rest is obtained by detaching the mind from any and all intellectual demands or activity.” Living Health, pp. l24, 125.
Diamond goes on to explain that because of a stressful day, or some toxic condition our bodies might be undergoing, or some important decisions we must make, our night’s sleep may be interrupted and hence We feel drowsy and sleepy through the day. Some people think that taking a short nap in the middle of the day is an unthinkable thing. So although they feel drowsy and listless, they continue to push themselves in whatever activities they are engaged in and thus fail to meet their biological needs. Some fail to differentiate between taking a short nap or rest and going soundly to sleep for hours.
Do not confuse a few minutes of a short nap to hours of sleep in the day. Some people thrive on lazying around and fail to get their allotted tasks done each day, while others keep pushing themselves to the limit. God’s people are to be wise and to keep in the middle of the road.
Because many do not let go and experience physical, sensory, emotional or mental rest, they complain that a short nap makes them tired. The basic problem is that these people have not learned to relax and let go. Because the body needs such period so rest, all should be thinking of ways and means of how they can work this in with their everyday activities. Make no mistake that short naps and rest belong to the elderly, the retired, or the stay-at home people. To take some time to rest each day, with eyes closed, body still, all mental activities ended and, in short, to be in complete relaxation, is an important must that all should carefully work into their busy schedule. Diamond explains, that resting, aside from producing more efficient work and increased productivity, also promotes improved body function, including digestion and better health through better nutrition.
In writing on insomnia, Diamond went on to explain that the inability to sleep is caused by many people’s habit of taking several cups of coffee, chocolate, and sodas, through the day. He also stressed that “the factor that affects one’s sleep is food!’ Nothing can disturb sleep more than eating at bedtime. The primary reason for sleep is to regenerate nerve energy. Eating before sleeping redirects much of the energy to the digestion of the food. Since the brain is involved in digestion, less sleep will result. You simply should not expect to sleep well while the body is conducting digestive tasks. At least two hours should elapse between eating and going to bed. [See Sister White’s statement on this page under “Rest for the Stomach.”]
“The more toxic you are, the more difficult it will be to sleep through the night. An eating lifestyle that is based on more wholesome food requires less digestive energy. Wholesome food lessens sleep needs and increases sleep efficiency. This is why diet and eating practices weigh so heavily on how much sleep we need and how well we sleep. THE BIGGEST SINGLE FACTOR CONTRIBUTING TO SOUND SLEEP, WHICH IN TURN SOUND SLEEP CONTRIBUTES TO, IS GENERAL HEALTH.”-‘-Id., p.127:2 (Capitals belong to quotation.)
Diamond stresses that the quality of food dramatically affects our health. If you are among who can’t sleep, there is hope; In fact, there is a lot more than hope. Sufferers from insomnia, then, take hope-improve your diet and eating habits, avoid a hit-and-miss daily program each day get enough air, sunshine, exercise, water, rest, and trust in divine power. Even though it may take time, you will surely See results.
Rest for the Stomach
“The stomach, when we lie down to rest, should have its work all done, that it may enjoy rest, as well as other portions of the body. The work of digestion should not be carried on through any period of the sleeping hours; After the stomach, which has been overtaxed; has performed its task, it becomes exhausted, which causes faintness. Here many are deceived, and think that it is the want of food which produces such feelings, and without giving the stomach time to rest, they take more food, which for the time removes the faintness. And the more the appetite is indulged, the more will be its clamors for gratification. This faintness is generally the result of meat eating, eating frequently, and too much. The stomach becomes weary by being kept constantly at work, disposing of food not the most healthful. Having no time for rest, the digestive organs become enfeebled, hence the sense of ‘goneness,’ and desire for frequent eating. The remedy such require is to eat less frequently and less liberally, and be satisfied with plain, simple food, eating twice, or, at most, three times a day. The stomach must have its regular periods for labor and rest; hence eating irregularly and between meals, is a most pernicious violation of the laws of health. With regular habits, and proper food, the stomach will gradually recover.”– Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 175.:2.
“There is need that God’s chosen workmen should listen to the command to go apart and rest awhile. Many valuable lives have been sacrificed because of a disregard of this command. There are those who might be with us today, to help forward the cause both at home and in foreign lands, had they but realized before it was too late that they were in need of rest. These workers saw that the field is large and the need for workers great, and they felt that at any cost they must press on. When nature uttered a protest, they paid no heed, but did double the Work they should have done; and God laid them in the grave to rest until the last trump shall sound to call the righteous forth to immortality.” Gospel Workers p, 245: l.