Knowing that different people need different amounts of sleep, how does sleep affect our success at godliness?

Yes, sleep is significant for self-control and the pursuit of godliness
65% (11 votes)
Yes, it is a factor, but not a major player
12% (2 votes)
It helps but not that big a deal
12% (2 votes)
It has little or no bearing
6% (1 vote)
Other (try to approximate to avoid this if possible)
0% (0 votes)
I don't have an opinion; leave me along so I can catch a nap
6% (1 vote)
Total votes: 17
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There are 4 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Baumeister and others have taught that adequate sleep affects our disposition and our level of self-discipline. In I Tim. 4:7b in the NASB, we read:

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

The ESV has the word train. But if the following is true, then we can say it is important to get enough sleep (and that varies from 7-9 hours for the overwhelming majority) becomes a spiritual matter.

1. Discipline and self-control are important to the pursuit of godliness.

2. People with adequate sleep do better with self-control.

3. Therefore, adequate sleep is useful in the pursuit of godliness and therefore a spiritual issue. It must be a priority, when possible.

I acknowledge that this is a purely human argument. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit in this reasoning.

I mention this because sometimes when I counsel people, they set themselves up for failure by an improperly balanced life. What are your thoughts? No snoring, please!

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture


I'm learning things about this...

For years I probably wasted a lot of productive time sleeping because I was convinced I could not function well without X hours. Circumstances put me in situations where a good bit less than that was possible on a regular basis and I learned that I didn't need that much.
So I pushed a bit more.
Now I think I need to discipline myself to sleep more--there's a balance that is different for everybody but the effects of too little sleep are quite noticeable after a while and, at least in my case, not to be taken lightly.

(For starters, there's a level of fatigue where productivity is only possible if I'm engaged in something that is mainly physical and minimally mental... and sitting and thinking--forget it. The mind turns to mush.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JD Miller's picture

Aaron Wrote:

(For starters, there's a level of fatigue where productivity is only possible if I'm engaged in something that is mainly physical and minimally mental... and sitting and thinking--forget it. The mind turns to mush.)

I find that so very true. If I do not get enough sleep it can take me twice as long to prepare a sermon and still end up missing important points. It is like so many things, we need balance. Too much sleep can lead to poverty. Proverbs 20:13 says, "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread." But Psalms 127:2 brings some balance when it says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep."

I look at sleep as a stewardship issue. I may be tempted to stay up later to enjoy some more free time, but if they means I am not able to minister as well the next day, I am not being responsible. Further, if I stay up too late working and get so little sleep that the job takes twice as long that is terrible time management. On the other hand, if I sleep when I should be working that is a selfish waste of time as well.
I also make sure to get some extra sleep if I start to feel sick. I figure I am better off taking a short nap on those days than to miss a whole day sick in bed. When I was in Bible College I was amazed how some students would study most of the night before tests. I would study a few days before the test and then go to bed early the night before and be rested up when I took it. It really seemed to help.

Dick Dayton's picture

When I was in college as a physics student, our coach insisted that we be in bed no later than 11:00. He said that, if we needed extra study time, to get up early, but not to stay up late. I continue to find that good sleep occurs earlier in the evening.

Also, it has been my discovery that systematic and vigorous exercise on a regular basis helps my mind function better.

As we think about the self control that Aaron spoke of, I like to refer to it as "Spirit control" more than "self" control. I want to discipline myself under the guidance of the Spirit, that my life might show God's workings.

If we fail to get adequate sleep, it will affect our ability to function, which has a direct effect upon the impact of my spiritual life. We know that sleep deprivation is dangerous for pilots and truckers, so we should realize it is not good for Christians.

Over the years, we have developed the philosophy that "Sunday morning starts Saturday night." I purposely seek to make Saturday afternoon and evening a time for quietness, so that I am fully ready to serve the Lord early Sunday morning.

Dick Dayton