Humans have repeatedly tried to cheat sleep. Multiple scientists have searched for new sleep patterns to give people more waking hours. All are variations of a theme … long periods of wakefulness punctuated by short naps. These polyphasic sleep patterns can succeed for a time but have never proven to give more productive hours awake. And … there’s almost always a crash somewhere in the participant’s future. One such sleep study cruised along with seeming success until all the test subjects lapsed into long periods of coma-like sleep; a giant reset for their brains.

In trying to understand why humans sleep, researchers have arrived at some amazing conclusions. Recent studies have shown that waste produced by your brain is handled differently than all other bodily waste and only processed while you’re sleeping. Sleep is serious business for the human body. According to an article on LiveScience, “the World Health Organization placed nightshift work as a probable human carcinogen; there’s something about getting the sleep rhythm out of whack that causes cancer, heart diseases, obesity and other ills.”

Many of the articles I read postulated reasons we evolved with a need for sleep. As someone who believes in an infinitely wise Creator, I wonder why God designed us for sleep. The most in-charge, type-A control-freak in the world eventually must sleep. It can be unnerving to realize that you must let loose of the reigns and allow the universe to spin a while out of your control. I loved the title of one article on sleep … “Can You Cheat sleep? Only in Your Dreams?”

According to God’s Word, sleep is more than physical; sleep can be a matter of faith. Listen to the psalmists,

Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 121:3-4 he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Here are people of faith confessing that they can release the reigns because their wise and loving God never does. Some of these words were penned by David; a man who for years went to sleep every night knowing that powerful enemies were seeking his life. Sleep was an expression of faith – his faith!

Of course, the Bible has a balancing word on sleep. “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” Proverbs 20:13 “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10 There are times for watchful vigilance and pursuit of a necessary task … “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.” Proverbs 6:4

Diligently do what God has set before you, but when you are weary, rest. Normally … close your eyes every night acknowledging your sovereign God’s masterful control. And when sleep alludes you, make that a matter of faith also … “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6