Proper self-care can actually help us be better Christians and humans.
We all know how important sleep is to our health — but did you know that getting enough sleep actually helps you be a more virtuous person?
Researchers recently conducted three experiments to study whether the quality of our sleep affects how generous we are. And sure enough — it does.
In the first experiment, researchers performed functional magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain and asked questions to 24 adults after eight hours of sleep and after a night with no sleep. When they were well rested, the participants scored well on a helping behavior test. But after sleep deprivation, 78 percent had less of a desire to help others, even when it came to friends and family. The scans showed that areas of the brain associated with social cognition — our thought processes related to other people — were less active with sleep deprivation.
These results make sense. A lack of sleep drains our mental abilities and takes a toll on our physical health. We lack energy; we experience memory, focus, and mood issues, weakened immunity, higher risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, and more.
However, this recent study takes it another step further — when we don’t get sufficient rest, our ability to help others, to go the extra mile, is weakened. In other words, proper self-care actually helps us be more virtuous. Our mental and physical health is connected to our spiritual health.
So if you want to be a better person, pay attention to your sleep. And the next time you encounter someone who doesn’t seem very generous or kind, rather than get upset, you may want to recommend they get more rest!