Heather threw off the covers in frustration and propelled herself out of bed. For the last forty-five minutes she had repeatedly shoved her husband, Rick, to roll him over and stop his snoring. Her efforts had met with temporary success, but as soon as she would fall asleep again, his snoring would wake her. In defeat, she grabbed her pillow, yanked the blanket off of Rick with a smug smile, and trudged bleary-eyed downstairs to begin another night on the couch.
When we marry, we dream of contentedly drifting off in each others' arms. Yet numerous culprits conspire to rob us of this bliss. Snoring is by far the most common, affecting close to 30% of all marriages. Other people flail in their sleep, leaving their beloveds black and blue. Still others work staggered hours or are repeatedly paged throughout the night. And then there are the little ones, flailers extraordinaire, whom one parent, much to the chagrin of the other, may insist share the bed. Few things disturb sleep more than the presence of a two-year-old.
Every night, for countless couples like Heather and Rick, the sleep wars begin anew. Yet unlike traditional conflicts, one side in this war often doesn't realize the battle is waging. Oblivious to the havoc they're causing, they doze peacefully as their spouses fume.
The Need for Sleep
Even though God designed us to need sleep, sleep problems are rarely considered major health epidemics. Yet Dr. James Maas, author of Power Sleep, says that sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. And it's not just the amount of sleep that's important, it's also the type. Even if you're in bed for ten hours, you may not be able to reach all the stages of sleep if you're constantly jolted awake. You may awaken feeling as if you haven't slept at all. And if you don't reach all the stages of sleep, you'll be prone to more viral infections, mood shifts, and emotional stress. Even your safety is jeopardized. The National Sleep Foundation claims that sleep-deprived drivers cause 100,000 traffic accidents each year.1