Christian Science helps one realize harmony in every activity, and that includes sleep.
Sleep is considered important—for one’s work productivity, for being at one’s best with family and friends, and for one’s overall enthusiasm and joy. But in many instances people find that it’s very challenging to get a good night’s sleep. According to market research, 2020 global spending on sleep aids was eighty billion dollars.
It’s heartening to know that there is another way to approach these problems. Christian Science gives a different perspective that helps one realize harmony in every activity—including sleep, which for most people constitutes about a third of their time.
The Bible says that God is divine Love (see I John 4:8). For Father-Mother God to truly exist, God must have expression, as a song to truly exist must be sung, or a dance must be danced. God expresses Himself in spiritual ideas (each of us), who have no existence apart from God but whose only existence is their coexistence with their divine Parent.
It is possible for all of us to sleep normally and feel consistently rested and refreshed.
Thinking of oneself as being purely spiritual may be a fresh thought. But it simply means that beyond a physical picture of who we are, whether we are a kindergartner or a senior citizen, our actual individuality—who we are eternally—already and always restfully coexists with this infinite Love as its unique expression. And sleeping normally is an expression of that restfulness.
According to this higher concept of individuality, we are always resting. But this rest is not inactivity or unconsciousness. Rather, each of us, in our true being as a reflection or expression of God, is resting mentally in the infinitude of unlimited Love—serene, at peace, and expecting good.
The Bible says that God created the universe in six days and then rested (see Genesis 1:1—2:3). We can apply this concept not literally but metaphorically, since the number seven represents completeness in Hebrew sacred texts. Do we have this Sabbath-day consciousness of things being complete and perfect and “very good”? Having this consciousness is truly resting and is the opposite of worry, anxiety, self-condemnation, and depression. God gives us dominion over those states of thought, which are foreign to our true, spiritual nature. Christ Jesus said that we shouldn’t worry about even the most basic things. Rather, he said, we should seek to understand God’s government, and then we’d see all our needs met (see Matthew 6:28–34).
In the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy you can find a series of mostly biblical terms with a spiritual interpretation of those terms. Part of the definition of death is “The flesh, warring against Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life” (p. 584).
Fretting or worrying may be considered normal, but in God’s universe of good, these have no place. In fact, worrying is a kind of death thought, since it is antagonistic to the peace and freedom that come from one God whose creation is complete and perfect and at peace.
Understanding that this is our nature as God’s creation enables us to refuse to be bullied by thoughts of fear, lack, or a false sense of responsibility and therefore counter that worrying. Our individual consciousness can truly shine as the reflection of the one God, who is always at peace. And because of God’s great love for us, He’s always giving us reassuring and peaceful thoughts that help us recognize that since fear and worry are not God-based, they are not our own at all. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He demonstrated untroubled rest by, among other things, staying fast asleep in a small fishing boat during a raging storm (see Mark 4:37–39).
How we each put into practice being rested as the spiritual reflection of the Divine is individual. I have found that having a certain discipline about when to go to bed has been helpful and freeing. But instead of thinking that I have to lay my head on the pillow and sleep at a certain time, I look forward to my right-before-sleep time as moments to be still with God. It’s an opportunity to review my day, be grateful for the good I’ve seen, and consider the Ten Commandments and other teachings in the Bible. If I’m still awake after this, I love to pray for my neighborhood, for the world, or for my church.
Some years ago, when I went to bed, I would watch things online or use my smartphone. But prayer has led me to not be preoccupied with screens or email when I go to bed but to cherish that time as quiet time with God, a time for listening for thoughts from God. This has helped me to not only sleep more regularly but also have undisturbed sleep.
Should one catnap or take a siesta during the day? In certain cultures and for some individuals, taking a nap is common. What’s really important is to turn to God to know how much and when to sleep. The advantage of dealing with sleep issues through prayer and spiritual understanding alone—as opposed to relying on material sleep aids—is that through prayer one can deal with the fundamental causes of sleeplessness. Further, the side effects of prayer are all positive!
It is possible for all of us to sleep normally and feel consistently rested and refreshed as a demonstration of our true spiritual nature. We are truly always resting at one with infinite, divine Love.