There is something sacred about your bedroom. I don’t think I consciously realized this until I noticed how fiercely my children guard their individual beds and bedtime things. Our kids each have a few (ok, total honesty? Clare, our 7 year old, has about 30 bedtime friends and multiple blankets in a friend fortress, or castle, or something it changes weekly) bedtime stuffed animals. These are special, sacred things to them. When we travel, they come with (no, not all 30 of Clare’s. We put the limit on 2. I can only handle keeping tabs on so many stuffed animals in a hotel room). For Gabe, our 2 year old, they are necessary for sleeping. He wakes up in the middle of the night and if he can’t find one of them, he cries for us to help him. You don’t mess with bedtime friends.
This isn’t to say that adults don’t have their own bedtime quirks, because they do. Ben feels pretty strongly about his pillow. If I were to switch our pillows he would immediately notice and insist on switching back. We all have a bedtime routine of some kind, even if it isn’t one we intentionally crafted. How many times have you gotten into bed and realized you accidentally forgot to do a part of your routine? I would bet you ultimately got up and completed whatever it was before you could sleep soundly.
As humans, we need rest. It is part of who we are and how our bodies function. Everyone knows what it feels like to be sleep deprived and most do what they can to avoid it. Our bodies have a whole series of functions and tasks that occur only during sleep. On the whole, we will not be able to perform our day to day tasks well if we do not sleep well.
Sleep scientists have compiled whole lists of things we can do to help us sleep better. Parents already know quite a few from their days of struggling to teach their children to sleep. A routine helps tell your body it is time to sleep. Engaging in stretching or other gentle exercises help to relax your body and rest your mind. Journaling is a great way to let go of the day’s work and worries. Environmental factors such as a lighting, temperature and breathing ability (sleep apnea is no joke) will affect the quality of your sleep.
As you spend time in your and the other members of your family’s bedrooms, consider the following questions:
- Does this space encourage rest?
- Can the person sleeping here access what they need in an environment that is conducive to sleep?
- Does this room have unnecessary items that do not promote sleep?
- This could range from an overflowing closet, too many toys, electronics, general clutter
- All bedrooms inevitably end up with some kind of storage space, usually under a bed or in a closet. If you are up for a challenge, empty those storage spaces and see what needs to stay, what can be donated and what needs to go.
Spiritually speaking, God is a big promoter of rest. Part of God’s great actions of creation was to rest on the 7th day. We wouldn’t talk about it if it wasn’t significant. God modeled for us the goodness of rest and we should take note. In our modern culture, most jobs provide for time off during the week. It may not be on the traditional weekend (Saturday and Sunday), but the days are there. We recognize that it is not good for people to work non-stop. There has to be time for hobbies, for entertainment and for rest.
As Christians and Catholics, we also recognize that there needs to be time set aside for God. The Church offers us Sunday as our day of rest, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. We attend Mass, joining together with our community to worship God and keep holy the Sabbath as instructed in the 10 Commandments. But we know that to have a healthy relationship with God, we need to give Him more than 60 minutes on Sundays. Each day there needs to be time to connect with God, to talk with Him, to be with Him. Just as we need to sleep everyday to be physically healthy, we need to rest with God everyday to be spiritually healthy.
Take time this week to assess how much time you spend at rest. How do you use that time? Could you try to spend a few more moments resting with God, rather than Instagram? Could you read a Scripture passage instead of a Tweet? Challenge yourself to rest more with God and less with the things of this world.
One final week! I wonder what last space we will be in. I’m looking forward to talking with you about it then!