Sleep more, worry less. Reagan Cool | Courtesy

By Reagan Cool

If you give your sleep to God, He’ll give back to you.

I know because it works. I used to pull at least a couple all-nighters a semester, fin­ishing the third paper of “hell week” at 5:30 a.m. or running through the stack of titles and dates a few more times before the 8 a.m. final. In the des­perate hours between dusk and dawn, it is easy to let our oblig­a­tions over­whelm us.

I finally asked myself one night as I nodded off around 1 a.m., “Is this exhaustion worth it?” I decided it wasn’t, and I dis­covered that sleeping didn’t cost me my grade. Sleeping more helped me to finish all my work on time. I was also able to work-out, and pray, and sustain con­ver­sation, and be present to my friends and pro­fessors. Mirac­ulous.

The truth is that we do not work as well when we are sleep-deprived. Even if it feels like I am busy, my rate of pro­duc­tivity dwindles and my judgment flounders as I trespass on the time reserved for rest. The work that takes me four hours at night requires just one or two in the morning when well-rested.

The Bible fre­quently reminds us to tithe, and I fre­quently remind the Bible that I can’t. Con­sider the poor widow in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus watches her drop two small coins into the treasury, then calls his dis­ciples: “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are con­tributing to the treasury. For they all con­tributed out of their abun­dance; but she out of her poverty has put in every­thing she had, her whole living,” (Mark 12:43 – 44).

What more pre­cious thing do we have to offer as stu­dents than our time? Sleeping honors our bodies. We are able to be more fully the men and women God crafted us to be when we are rested. No longer just enduring the day, we are free to enjoy it. We were created for adven­tures far more thrilling than sur­vival, yet we subject our­selves to this dull expe­rience of reality when we refuse our body’s needs.

Sleeping is also an act of faith. By tucking myself in at night when there are items left unchecked on my to-do lists, I promise God: “I worked earnestly today, and I trust that you will provide the restoration and the time to com­plete what I must tomorrow.”

And it never fails. I wake up restored instead of frantic, and the time away from my work gives me a better under­standing of what the important things are. The con­dition, of course, is honesty. Sleeping more doesn’t help me accom­plish my work if I wasn’t really working to begin.

As college stu­dents preparing for and dreaming of the vast future ahead of us, it is easy to adopt a dauntless attitude, certain that we’ll live for at least another century. One of the unex­pected beauties of sleep, however, is that it is a good practice of memento mori, reminding us of our death and the impor­tance of what’s to come. Pro­fessor of English Patricia Bart says that sleep is good practice for death. Man’s will pushes him forward all day. Choosing to go to sleep is a sur­render of his will, of not getting every­thing he wants. So it is, too, at the end of our life, when we sur­render our will to that which we cannot control. When we go to sleep each night, we offer our day, and when we will go to sleep some day, we will offer our life. The prepa­ration for death, which is living well, helps us in turn to die well.

Live well, tired classmate. Your work is important. Go to sleep.

Reagan Cool is a junior studying phi­losophy and religion.