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The Value of a Good Rest According to Pope Francis

What makes Lolo Kiko energetic on the daily? He shares with us his sleeping habits!

Pope Francis doesn’t spend a lot of time sleeping. He goes to bed at approximately 10 or 10:30 pm, and wakes up at 4:45 every morning—with the only exceptions being Mass on Christmas Eve, which starts at 9:30 pm, and the Easter Vigil. Only in those cases does the Pope pull an all-nighter.

When Pope Francis returns from his trips to other continents, he also tends to wake up later in order to recover from jet lag. (Read: How to Stay Youthful in Body and in Spirit) He slumbers in room 201 in Casa Santa Marta, in a bed with a wooden headboard, resting on white cotton sheets, and under a comfortable blanket.

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A view of Pope Francis’ apartment at Casa Santa Marta Residence at the Vatican on March 2013. (Photo from ABACA / Newscom)

Outside the door of the Pope’s room, there is always a Swiss Guard ready for anything the Pope needs—just as one of his room aides remains on duty during the night. The Pope is guaranteed maximum privacy and autonomy, but in his advanced age, there is always someone ready to intervene if he needs help during the night.

Even if Lolo Kiko does not spend many hours in bed, deep rest is still very important for him, as he believes that sleep means to trust in God and to abandon one’s defenses.

Every night, before he settles in, Pope Francis entrusts his prayers, concerns, and projects he wishes to accomplish the next day to the Lord. In fact, one of his favorite saints is the Sleeping St. Joseph, who is known for receiving messages and directions from the Lord in his dreams.

Bedtime Prayers

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The Sleeping St. Joseph is very dear to Pope Francis because he embodies the importance of rest. (Video screenshot from ROME REPORTS in English YouTube)

In the Pontiff’s study, above a wooden chest of drawers, the Pope keeps a statue of the Sleeping St. Joseph. This statue is quite common in Latin America—and now even in the Philippines, thanks to Lolo Kiko’s introduction. 

The Pope slips little notes underneath his Sleeping St. Joseph every day, along with some prayers and requests for help. Thus, the saint “works even when he sleeps.” (Read: 7 Inspirational Prayers From the Holy Bible)

As the Pope once said, “With these carpenters, one must have patience: they say they will make you a piece of furniture in two weeks, then maybe they will take a month. But they do it for you, and they work well! Only, one must have patience.”

The Power of a Nap

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Every time he wakes up, Pope Francis shaves with his electric razor to have a perfectly smooth face in case he has to bless little children. (Photos from AGF and Vatican Media)

Another part of the Pope’s routine is this particular habit that he would never renounce: the habit of observing siesta after lunch. His siesta takes at least 40 minutes to help him recharge and face the commitments of the afternoons with more energy. (Read: The Pope’s Cup of Tea)

It is a practice that Pope Francis first started in Buenos Aires, which is even more important today! As you know, the Holy Father has very long days that start at the first light of dawn,—leading to meetings, audiences, phone calls, and documents to prepare. He has no respite even during lunchtime, as he would often talk to prelates and friends who visit him. You can say that siesta is the Pope’s sacred rest!

For the Body and Soul

It follows that a nap in this whirlwind of commitments is fundamental. Thus, the Pope doesn’t hide this habit at all! (Read: 3 Must-See Documentaries About Pope Francis)

In fact, he says, “Rest is necessary for the health of our mind and our body, yet it is often so difficult to achieve due to the many needs that weigh on us. Rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what it asks of us.” 

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