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As Pandemic Slams Sleep, Is the Sabbath an Answer?

As Pandemic Slams Sleep, Is the Sabbath an Answer?

Admit it: You’re probably more tired now than you were before the pandemic. Some 60 percent of Americans said as much in a recent survey sponsored by—surprise—an online mattress marketer.

A news story notes, “The coronavirus pandemic has many Americans saying they’re more tired than they’ve ever been before. According to a new survey, six in 10 Americans say their sleep routine during quarantine has them feeling more exhausted than they’ve ever felt in their life! The poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Leesa Sleep, finds nearly 70 percent agree their sleeping habits have become quite inconsistent. Another 63 percent think their sleep schedules might be permanently ruined by the pandemic.”

The culprits tie into the upended lives that Americans are experiencing due to lockdowns, quarantines, and new working arrangements. “Forty-four percent [of respondents] say they stay up later since they don’t have to commute to work. Nearly half … admit they get out of bed only 10 minutes before their remote workday starts. It’s no wonder so many people are tired. Many are staying up late to binge watch their favorite TV shows. Researchers report 67 percent of Americans are staying up until the early hours of the morning to sneak in a few more episodes each night.”

Bingeing on television, movies, or even social media was never a recommended activity, but it appears such late-night activities are even more tempting now. It doesn’t help that smartphones and tablets emit blue light that can also disrupt sleep patterns.

The need for proper rest cannot be overstated. Jim Geikie, chief marketing officer for Leesa Sleep, said in a statement: “Sleep is as important to your overall health and wellness as diet, exercise and managing stress. Many Americans struggle to get a good night’s sleep, and a good mattress is essential.”

Of course, one could attribute Mr. Geike’s statement to a clever marketing strategy—but the truth is, he’s right. The principle of sleep as being necessary to good health can’t be challenged. Just ask any college student who’s had one too many all-nighters preparing for exams!

Is There a Sabbath Connection?

Sleep is how the body rejuvenates itself physically, but did you know that God also provided a way for us to be comprehensively rejuvenated? Similar to one’s nightly dose of sleep, this day of rest also occurs on a regular basis—on the seventh day of each week. It is called the Sabbath, and studies reveal that observing it brings real benefits far greater than even a good night’s rest.

In 2014, the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, an institution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, noted that Sabbathkeeping has direct health benefits: “According to a cohort profile published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2008, research in 1969 found that among individuals surviving past age 35 Adventist women in California lived 3.7 years longer than their counterparts and Adventist men 6.2 years longer. In a later, larger California sample, the differences were even more prominent—4.4 years for women and 7.3 years for men.” In fact, the study found that church attendance on Sabbath produces greater longevity than exercise, a plant-based diet, and community.

Man with arms outstreched

What’s more, Loma Linda University professor Dr. Jerry Lee added, “We have found that there’s a relationship between Sabbathkeeping and mental health.” If you keep the Sabbath, he said, you’re more likely to have a positive mental outlook. He added, “If you have a stressful event for you, you just leave it in God’s hands.” Here we find what matters is not that you keep the Sabbath, but the reason you keep the Sabbath: God.

Seventh-day Adventists, the subjects of the study, are a people who follow all of God’s Ten Commandments, including the fourth command, which states, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work. … For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11). 

The Sabbath day is not an arbitrary vacation; it is a day intrinsically tied to one’s reverence of God as our Creator. As such, observing it is a choice that affects all areas of life.

If you believe that God set aside a day especially for you to remember Him, then you would probably be more concerned with managing your time. If you realize that the Sabbath is a way for God to demonstrate His love for you—and vice versa—then you would likely take better care of yourself—and perhaps think twice before binge-watching a series until the wee hours of the morning.

As one noted Christian writer of the past century put it, “Faith in God’s love and overruling providence … fills the heart with joy and contentment in the highest or lowliest lot. Religion tends to promote health, to lengthen life, and to heighten our enjoyment of all its blessings.”

There’s so much to learn about the all-encompassing benefits of the Sabbath that we have an entire website devoted to the subject! Feel free to explore and see what the Bible says about how keeping the Sabbath holy, and wholly, can bless you and your family!

First, you may wonder if the day of the Sabbath was somehow changed after Jesus’ time on Earth. This free resource, “Was God’s Law and the Sabbath Changed?”, gives you a definitive answer you can trust!

This article contributed by Mark A. Kellner
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