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Friday, January 10, 2014

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Solomon is gently slapping us on the wrist to wake us up when he asks, “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?” (v. 9).

We can all waste time in bed.  My alarm is set for 6:04 a.m. I chose the time because it gives me just enough time to worship, shower, shave and eat breakfast — and beat the rush-hour traffic to the newsroom where I work as a journalist in Russia.  But I have noticed something curious about the sleeping patterns of successful people whom I’ve interviewed as a journalist. Business leaders told me that they average three to four hours of sleep per night. Just the other day, I curiously asked a company CEO seated beside me on an airplane flight between Moscow and New York to share his secret for sleeping the entire ten and a half hours of flight. With a slight smile, he confided that he hadn’t slept more than 24 hours in the past seven days in Moscow – or an average of about three and a half hours per night.

Now, we should not run down our bodies by foregoing sleep. We shouldn’t strive to push aside sleep with energy drinks or coffee. To stay healthy, it is important to get an adequate amount of sleep and to find time to exercise every day.

But I find that successful people submit their bodies to what their mind tells them about getting adequate sleep.  They manage time well, seeking to engage only in useful, meaningful work during their waking hours. If they get too tired and cannot focus well, sleep might come to them in the middle of the day. I once interviewed a multimillionaire investor who had a pullout bed hidden in his plush sofa along his office wall. He told me that he curled up for 20-minute naps nearly very day. Then, refreshed, he plowed ahead with his work.

I’m not suggesting that we need to overhaul good sleeping schedules and get less sleep.  Solomon is talking about those who are lazy.  On the other hand, just think how much you and I could accomplish if we did get up just15 minutes earlier each morning? Fifteen minutes a day translates into 1 hour, 45 minutes a week—or nearly four full days per year. That’s a lot of extra time we would have for the Lord and for doing something good. 


Andrew McChesney

Journalist in Russia

Columnist for the Adventist Review