Between the Sheets
Editor’s Note: This is Part 2B in Let’s Talk Sex Series, Glorifying God with Our Bodies.
Period of Adjustment
A week after our honeymoon, in the middle of the night, I remember waking up in the guest bedroom of our apartment. I couldn’t figure out how I got there. And then as I sat up, I saw an eerily glowing light on the wall… DARTH VADER! Of course, I was freaked out, ran back to the master bedroom, woke Adam up, and asked him if we had a fight. He mumbled no and I fell back asleep where I was supposed to be.
If you’re engaged, I would highly suggest that you chat with your significant other about sleep habits before marriage. I had always been a light sleeper prior to getting married, waking at the slightest noise, needing complete darkness. Adam and I lived on a busy street in our first apartment together so the orange glow of streetlights would pour through our windows at night. My husband would periodically move into my space, make noises, or hog the blankets. It was new. It was strange. I was married.
I had also had a habit as a kid of sleep-walking and sleep-talking. Guess that carried over into our marriage. Our first couple months I had the worst time sleeping as I was trying to adjust to having someone in the bed with me. As you can imagine, sleep deprivation caused all sorts of issues in our marriage. Thankfully, I am now a sound sleeper, can sleep through some light and some noise, and I actually have trouble sleeping when my husband isn’t with me.
The Importance of Sleep
Most of today’s busy, overworked adults get less sleep than they need to be getting. I know that my best amount of sleep is between 8-9 hours a night. If you aren’t already doing so, get into a regular sleeping pattern – to bed at the same time, up at the same time. The more consistent you are, the better the sleep will be, the more regularly you’ll feel tired at the correct time and awake at the right time.
Why is sleep so important?
1) Sleep replenishes your body, giving you a chance to recharge.
2) Sleep is food for your brain. It helps you stay on-task during the day, giving you better productivity and keeping you from being easily distracted.
3) Sleep benefits your emotions. It helps you stay happier and more positive.
4) Sleep helps prevent car accidents. Sleep helps you stay more focused when driving and you’ll have better reaction time. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, many “high-profile accidents can partly be attributed to people suffering from a severe lack of sleep.”
5) Sleep prevents sickness and injury. You’re less likely to get a cold if you’re sleeping properly and less likely to run into the dresser on the way out of the bedroom in the morning when you sleep.
6) Sleep is an act of worship. By sleeping, you are placing your trust in God that He will take care of you while you are asleep. By sleeping, you are allowing your body the much needed rest it was designed by God to have.
Psalm 3:5 says, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”
Psalm 4:5-7 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Proverbs 3:24 says, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
Sleep is important to God. Glorify God by allowing your body the rest and sleep it needs and being grateful that we were designed to take a break and recharge overnight.
Sex and Sleep
When you’re not well-rested, the last thing you want to do is make love to your husband. Sex is a vigorous activity and it involves the whole mind, body, heart, and spirit. If you’re not well-rested, I can guarantee that you won’t be fully in it. Becoming sexually aroused is difficult when you’re sleep deprived, and sexual spontaneity is limited.
According to Dr. Phil Gehrman, as quoted on WebMD, “People who have trouble sleeping often develop elaborate routines over time…They become very sensitive to anything they think might threaten their sleep. And one of the things that can disturb sleep is a bed partner.” And he adds, “sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t bode well for the marriage.”
Sleep loss can also contribute to moodiness, depression, and quarrels – and all three things spell out POOR SEX or NO SEX. People who are sleep deprived often don’t realize they have a problem and don’t recognize how poorly they function, and just how much sleep they need. The National Sleep Foundation did a survey in 2009 and reported, “75% reported sleep problems…getting an average of 6.9 hours a night.”
If you struggle getting the right amount of ZZZ’s every night, have a talk with your spouse and with your doctor. If your spouse is struggling with a sleep disorder or getting to bed at a good time, be understanding and patient. You may need to compromise – stay up a little later and sleep in with your spouse if you can, or gradually go to bed earlier and earlier until you’re both in bed at the same time. It’s reported by sleep specialists that couples on a similar sleep cycle will be more in sync sexually and emotionally.
Pay attention to how much sleep your body really needs, not what you think you should get. Be aware of the quality of sleep you’re getting. And if you need time for sex, go to bed a half hour earlier to give yourselves an extra half hour in the morning, or head to the bedroom 30-45 mins earlier than normal to fit in some time between the sheets.
Honor Your Husband
The beginning of Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…” Although honor and purity is typically associated with abstaining from sex outside of marriage (premarital or extramarital), both have broader definitions. Dictionary.com defines honoring someone as “to hold in the highest esteem,” and defines pure as “free from contamination.”
Think of it this way. How can you hold your husband in the highest respect he deserves if you aren’t taking care of yourself? This isn’t selfish. God designed our bodies to sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll more likely be distracted, depressed, prone to argue, and to put off an essential need in your marriage – sex. Remember your first duty is to your husband. If your husband has called you to bed three times and you’re on the computer, shut it off. If you’re finding that you’re a bear on the mornings and you’re blowing up at your husband every day before work, you need more sleep. If you’re staying up late because that’s the only time you can get work done just to drink five cups of coffee in the morning to get going, rearrange your schedule. If you’re continually telling your husband you’re too tired for sex, then you’re too tired. GET MORE SLEEP!
Your sex life will suffer when you don’t sleep enough either because you’re too tired to find the time and energy or because you’re more irritable and not in the mood. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re letting something else get in the way, and anything that causes problems between you and your spouse contaminates the marriage.
Honor Your God
You may be asking yourself, “Why should sleep really matter?” or “How does sleep really glorify God?”
Your body was created by God for His glory and it belongs to Him. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
But when sin entered the world, it corrupted the body. You and I became slaves to sin. Sin controls every aspect of our lives, corrupting our minds, blackening our hearts, and deadening our minds. As a sinner, you willfully choose things other than God, choosing to give into our bodily desires. God cannot tolerate this! He sent His only Son to take your place and die for you, to take the penalty you deserved for being a sinner, and He set you free from the shackles of sin, purchasing you through His blood spilled on the cross.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Glorify God by being grateful for the gift of life, and not just eternal life. Glorify God by remembering your body belongs to the Lord, so take care of it. Honor the Lord by honoring your husband, by getting the sleep you need to love him well and to have the time and energy to enjoy “pleasure between the sheets.”
I’d love to hear from you…
Have you ever thought about sleep being an act of worship? How has sleep or lack thereof positively or negatively impacted your life or marriage?
To read other related posts in the Let’s Talk Sex series, click here.