Sleepless in Atascosa



 

 

The greatest miracle ever performed through a man was done while he was asleep. Magicians pull rabbits out of hats. God pulled a woman out of Adam’s side. Eve, the crown jewel of all creation, was fashioned and forged by God against the backdrop of peace and rest.

Sleep is deceptive. At first glance, it appears that a sleeping person is doing no work at all. Yet, within the human body, the miracle that makes life sustainable is performed routinely by our bodies, while our conscious minds sleep. Our subconsciousness awakens, and our brains defragment while we dream. During sleep, our bodies’ tiny cellular robots go to task: repairing muscles and organs, removing dangerous toxins, restoring our immune system, and releasing revitalizing hormones. This nightly biological overhaul is one of our greatest allies in achieving healthy weight loss. Sleep doesn’t cost you a penny. Yet, it is priceless.

One of my greatest discoveries during my weight loss journey was finding out just how indispensable sleep really is. My greatest leaps in healthy weight loss were accompanied by consistently getting at least seven hours of sleep. When you get good sleep, your body heals itself and detoxifies. When you don’t sleep well, your body accumulates injuries at the cellular level and becomes toxic over time. Even your brain starts to build up toxins in times of sleep deprivation. And when your body becomes toxic, its natural response is to go into “marshmallow mode,” where it puffs itself up with added water weight and fat to counter the toxins retained inside your body.

It’s no surprise to me that as our culture becomes more driven by workaholic tendencies and grows more restless through the endless array of internet derived distractions, our number of insomnia cases rises. It also follows ever so logically that obesity rates would naturally sky rocket in this kind of climate. When sleep rates go down, obesity rates go up. And there is no amount of caffeine that will make up for your body’s lack of healing sleep. In fact, caffeine is a diuretic that expels the necessary minerals and water your body needs to detoxify, which only compounds the toxicity component that was already aggravated by your lack of sleep. So, try to keep your coffee consumption down to one or two cups a day, and steer clear of caffeinated drinks during afternoons or evenings.

The Bible is replete with warnings about our need for rest. God created the Sabbath as a way for people, animals, and even the soil to rest. For centuries, people have tried to observe a weekly day off, but they forget that God also created sleep as a sacred daily sabbath. When we try to run counter-plans to God’s design, horrendous problems manifest. When we skimp on sleep, we create a biological debt that our bodies cannot repay. The result is any number of chronic diseases, obesity being just one among many.

Another way to rest your body is through fasting. Intermittent fasting is quite popular these days, and it does have its benefits. However, I would like to remind you that your body is meant to fast each night while you sleep. This is why we call our first meal “breakfast” because we are breaking our fast. And your body fasts best during your sleep when your belly isn’t full. So, eating a behemoth supper is incredibly counterproductive to our natural process. It’s okay to feast and party occasionally, but our bodies were never intended to make that the norm. One of the most crucial disciplines of my weight loss was adopting the practice of eating a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a small dinner such as: an omelette with pancakes for breakfast, a tuna fish salad for lunch, and tomato soup for dinner. This provided a runway for my body to fast and heal effectively during my sleep.

So, if you are looking to lose weight… get woke, and get some sleep. Dial down the size of your dinner, and cut your caffeine intake to a moderate level. And always remember that God’s invitation to dream and rest is for your best. Sleep well, friends.

PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.

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