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I recently noticed a correlation between the stages of healthy sleep and a healthy devotional life. The last blog entry discussed stage one and stage two sleep. This time we will discuss the deep sleep of stage three and stage four.

After stage two sleep is finished (usually about 20 minutes), a healthy sleeper will drop into the deeper stages of sleep – stage three and stage four. The vital signs and bodily functions are at a minimum, essentially an almost-coma state. Body temperature is not regulated; some have commented that we are our most reptilian in deep sleep.

Deep sleep is where our body heals and grows. It is also where the brain does housekeeping, pruning out old pathways that are no longer being used. Without this vital phase of sleep, the body and brain easily malfunction and disease is easily produced. Syndromes such as fibromyalgia can surface if deep sleep is interfered with. Some have linked Alzheimer’s and dementia to dysfunctions in deep sleep.

A healthy and sustaining devotional life will also have devotional periods of deep housekeeping – humbling of self, repenting, asking God to reveal any sin that has crept in…assuring that our daily lives walk in the holiness and purity that Christ gave us experientially as a gift. Some things will need to be pruned and corrected. Restful times soaking in the Lord’s presence are also needed. Deep and sustaining spiritual growth happens during these special times of our devotional prayer life. We heal, we grow, we become stable and solid.

After a cycle of deep sleep (stage three and stage four) has finished, the healthy sleeper will cycle back into stage two for another session of autopilot reinforcement and maintenance before delving into the “exciting” stage of sleep – REM sleep (dreaming). The next blog entry will focus on the crazy dreams of REM sleep.

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