During my Leaders Who Last Seminars,  I mentioned practicing Sabbath as a principle–not just a day.

 I ran across an article by Lauren Weber from the Wall Street Journal regarding the problem with “Sleep Deprivation” in the USA.

Here are a few statements that caught my attention:

One-Third of American workers aren’t sleeping enough to function at peak levels. Chronic exhaustion is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity according to researchers from Harvard Medical School. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 40.6 million workers, or 30% of the U.S. civilian work force, don’t get enough rest. And the Harvard scientists estimated in one recent year, sleep deprivation costs U.S. companies $63.2 billion in lost productivity per year, mainly because of “presenteeism,” people showing up for work but operating at sub par levels.

“Paul DeLuca, P&G’s North American learning and developing manager says, ‘The line between work and what’s outside of work is greying.’ “

Lack of sleep in the U.S. is killing our productivity and, in some rare cases, literally killing us–people falling asleep at the wheel of their vehicle due to lack of sufficient sleep, or dying of illnesses resulting from years of sleep deprivation.

For years I have been teaching and coaching regarding the need for a better work/life balance…working fewer hours, taking time off, exercising and getting decent sleep. I am afraid that we have an understanding of a good philosophy of work, but are not practicing a good philosophy of leisure. It would appear that the sleep issue is getting worse, based on the article by Lauren Weber.

Our workaholism, our drivenness, our perfectionism, our insecurity and our fears keep our tech toys in non-stop mode.  We are caught up in what author Dr. Richard Swenson calls “Constant Connectivity” and it is killing us–killing our relationships, killing our home life, killing our health, killing our productivity, killing a deepening intimacy with Jesus and, in some cases, killing us!

I am reminded of Psalm 127:2 (ESV), “It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Wow, does this not describe many of us?

Because of our work (that we often create ourselves) we go to bed late (too late) and rise up early (too early) eating the bread of anxious toil. Worrying about the work. Am I doing enough? Is my boss happy with me? Am I meeting expectations? Meeting my numbers?

Let’s be honest now! Is it really worth it working 70-90 hours a week? Is it really worth it being so exhausted at the end of the workday that you barely have leftovers for the important people in your life? Is Jesus really being honored in the way you steward what He has invested in you?

I had this brought to my attention in my late 20s when I almost did myself in with an insane work schedule and an abominable attitude toward Sabbath. It took a visit to the doctor and a stern warning to get my attention. By His grace, things are now very different.

How are you doing on the sleep issue? Most studies I’ve come across say the average person needs 7.5 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking you are the exception and can get by on 5-6.  There will be a price to pay. Maybe you’re already paying it!