Drowsiness isn’t just an annoyance, it’s a significant health and safety issue. In fact, in 1990 “Insufficient Sleep Syndrome” was added to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. It is suggested that tens of thousands of people die each year, including thousands on our roadways, as a result of “drowsiness.”
Drowsiness produces a sort of inattentiveness that can bring great harm both to self and others. According to Harvard Medical School:
Insufficient sleep may not have led the news in reporting on serious accidents in recent decades. However, that does't mean fatigue and inattention due to sleep loss did't play a role in [many] disasters. For example, investigators have ruled that sleep deprivation was a significant factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, as well as the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.
Investigations of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, as well as the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, have concluded that sleep deprivation also played a critical role in these accidents.
Says Dr. Max Hirshkowitz, an internationally recognized sleep expert with 40 years of experience in sleep research and sleep disorders, “People can grow accustomed to being tired, but they don’t actually begin to need less sleep. We’re fooling ourselves. We’re running on half a battery, and we think we’re OK. We don’t even know what it’s like to be alert anymore.”
The world will drain us and rob us of our spiritual energy and alertness if we let it. We must purpose daily, moment-by-moment, to seek our rest (and restoration!) in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16). Only in this way will we find ourselves alert, watchful, and expectantly awaiting the return of our Savior. To this end, the Scriptures call us to be ready.
But we Christians can fool ourselves into thinking that we are “OK,” that we are alert, watchful and waiting for the return of the Lord, when in reality our senses have been dulled. We can be duped into a sort of inattentiveness that can result in great harm to both self and others as we fail in our own readiness and we fail in warning others.
To borrow the words of the sleep expert, "We’re running on half a battery, and we think we’re OK. We don’t even know what it’s like to be alert anymore.”
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).