What To Do When You Really Love Naps

Several years ago I went through a sleep study to find out why I was so tired during the day and unable to sleep deeply at night. I spent the night at the sleep center and then spent the next day taking a series of naps, all while hooked up to numerous machines to track my sleep patterns.

In the end, all they determined was that I had excessive daytime sleepiness - which is why I went to them in the first place. I already knew that. Their solution was a stimulant in the morning and a sedative at night. This would get my sleep cycle back to "normal," although it would be something I would have to do for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, I didn't opt for this route. Instead, I began to rely on several naps throughout the day to recharge my batteries. This, combined with coffee and cappuccino, was how I made it through the day. And that was all I was doing - making it through.

Soon I learned that I really didn't need those naps as much as I thought I did. They were often an excuse to not do the things I didn't want to do and a crutch to cover up procrastination and laziness. "I have this condition, so I will just baby myself and everyone will understand."

What began as an actual, physical condition became a blank check to stay home and nap. And I do love my naps.

But then one day I read Proverbs 6 like I was reading it for the first time.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11

What sounds like a great thing - a little sleep - can turn into a sin when done with the wrong heart attitude. It seems like just a tiny thing, taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon, but it's a huge thing when used as an excuse. And that's the place I had arrived to, thinking I had to sleep during the day to be able to function, which wasn't true at all.

Solomon wrote this proverb to warn us about being idle and lazy when there is work to be done for the kingdom of God. It's difficult to write or create or witness to someone in need if I'm tucked in bed. That little bit of sleep and slumber doesn't make me feel good enough to justify missing out on that awake time, using it to complete the tasks of the day.

So have I sworn off naps completely? Of course not, but I've discovered that a power nap right after lunch is better than sleeping for an hour or two. I feel better physically, I'm sharper mentally and there's no guilt for spending half the day in bed. I've found myself accomplishing more and doing better-quality work than when I'm trying to play catch up. And God has blessed the work of my hands because I'm in a better state of mind and heart.

This is not medical advice, nor is it a challenge to skip your sleep so you can be busier. I am simply sharing this story of the conviction in my own life, staying focused on what can be accomplished if I don't drown in my own selfishness. I would much rather be awake and working for the cause of Christ than dreaming about all the work I have to do.

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