One of the practical comforts I had during my recent bout with cancer was a good bed. A great bed actually, which helped me cope with insomnia.
My thinking on sleep surfaces has changed over the years and reflects what I consider to be my growing maturity.
As a new Christian I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag next to my bed. At the time I was associated with a group known as the Plymouth Brethren. (My Bookshelf thesaurus gives that name as a synonym for “ascetic.”) No one told me to do this; I just picked up that denying the body was part of pleasing the Lord.
Susan threw out my sleeping bag when we got married. She wasn’t as spiritual as me.
Years later when our first bed wore out I bought a new one. It had a pillow top and I felt so guilty about the extra padding that I returned the bed the next day and bought one for $100 less, much to Susan’s consternation.
Last spring I sprung for our third bed in 34 years, not counting a short fling with a leaky waterbed. I shelled out for a Sleep Number. At first I balked at spending so much on a glorified air mattress but it’s been worth it. Susan heartily agrees.
“Jesus wouldn’t own a Sleep Number bed,” my younger self might scold. But there are lots of things I own that Jesus didn’t, all of which make my life easier than his: a computer, a cell phone, a microwave oven, a tooth brush. While I don’t know what he slept on, I do think he slept more than we do, probably retiring and rising with the sun.
A good bed is a key to good health. Many studies show the correlation between quality of sleep and quality of life, e.g. 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep. Quantity of sleep is also important. According to a recent WebMD article,
“Studies show an increased mortality risk for those reporting less than either six or seven hours per night. One study found that reduced sleep time is a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
Bed is where we head when we’re sick and tired. It’s where we pass a third of our lives. It’s where we make some of our happiest memories. It’s where we conceive the children who will care for us in our dotage and we want them to be warm, softhearted people.
So why is it that we skimp when it comes to cost? Americans probably spend twenty times more on our cars than our beds yet we spend a tenth of the time behind the wheel as between the sheets. How convoluted is that!
The moral of this bedtime story: Don’t shortchange yourself; invest in a good night’s sleep.