Key 2—Take Care of Basic Body Needs
“No one ever hated his own body: on the contrary, he provides and cares for it.” (Ephesians 5:29, The New English Bible) Taking basic steps to care for yourself can make a world of difference in your health.
Get enough rest. “Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6) The demands and distractions of modern life have whittled away at the time people spend sleeping. But sleep is essential to good health. Studies show that during sleep our body and brain repair themselves, benefiting memory and mood.
Sleep reinforces the immune system and reduces our risk of infection, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease. Rather than artificially bypassing sleepiness—our natural “safety device”—with sweets, caffeine, or other stimulants, we should heed it and simply get some sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night to look, feel, and perform their best. Young people need more. Sleep-deprived teens are more prone to have psychological troubles and to fall asleep when driving.
Sleep is especially important when we are sick. Our body can overcome some illnesses, such as a cold, if we simply get extra sleep and drink plenty of fluids.
Take care of your teeth. Brushing your teeth and flossing them after meals, and especially before going to bed, will help ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Without our own teeth, we may not benefit fully from the food we eat. It is reported that elephants do not die of old age but that they slowly starve to death after their teeth wear down and they can no longer chew properly. Children who have been taught to brush and floss their teeth after eating will enjoy better health in youth and throughout life.
Go to the doctor. Some ailments call for professional medical attention. Early diagnosis usually results in a better outcome and less expense. So if you do not feel well, get help to find and eliminate the cause, instead of merely seeking to relieve the symptoms.
Regular checkups from accredited health-care providers can head off many serious problems, as can getting professional medical attention during pregnancy. Keep in mind, though, that doctors cannot perform miracles. Complete healing of all our ills will take place only when God makes “all things new.”—Revelation 21:4, 5.