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Getting Enough Sleep
Last night I went to sleep when my children did. It was only 9:30, but I was tired.

My husband was on call last night, too, (he's a pediatrician), and I swear his pager went off every hour. It was definitely not the best sleep for me, let alone for him (he had to go in for two hours in the middle of the night).

Then this morning I didn't get up until 8, which is late for me. And it got me thinking: if I hadn't gone to sleep early, I'd be in even worse shape. My body obviously needed the sleep. So why do we scrimp on sleep so much?

I think it's because we want to have fun. Once the kids go to bed, we really want some time to ourselves, even if we are tired. So we stay up way too late.

The pioneers used to get tons of sleep. They'd go to bed with the sun, and up with the sun, and often they slept eleven hours a day in the winter, even the adults. That doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me. But now that we have electric lights and televisions, staying up until midnight is normal for most of us.

I just don't think it's good for us. I get so grumpy when I'm tired, and by two in the afternoon I'm really lethargic. I've always needed a lot of sleep. Even today, eight hours often doesn't cut it. I need a good nine hours to feel like myself, which means I should be going to bed by 10:30 every night, though I don't. My youngest daughter doesn't need that much sleep. She never has. As a baby she only slept 9 hours over the entire day, including naps. I was absolutely exhausted. But she wasn't. She was happy as a clam. At one point I actually made a chart of how much she slept in a week, and when, and took it into my doctor and said, "You have to make her sleep! This is ridiculous!" But there was nothing my doctor could do, and Katie got rid of her naps in the day pretty early and put in her nine and a half hours at night. So that was okay.

I know some parents who deal with the sleep issue by just putting their children to bed at 7. That way they have the evening to themselves. But their kids get up at 5:30 or 6, and I simply could not handle that. I always put my kids to bed a little late, like 9, just so they'd sleep until 7.

But this sleep problem is a big one for us, because we also need couple time, don't we? And that's hard to have while the kids are awake. So as the kids have gotten older, we've instituted the "you have to be in your room at 9" rule, even if they're not sleeping, just so that we can be on our own.

Tonight I'm going to go to bed early again. I'm off to speak at a conference this weekend, and I don't want to start the weekend exhausted. But I wish I'd just get into the habit of sleeping well all the time!

What about you? What do you do about sleep? And how do your kids sleep? Let's talk about it!

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At 9:50 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

I have a 21 month old that needs lots of sleep (10 - 12 hrs a night plus a 3 hour nap) and a 10 month old who needs not as much. He only sleeps 8-9 hours and might take a nap. I've tried putting him to bed early, I've tried keeping him up late. He's awake before 6 am no matter WHAT time I put him to bed. Can be aggrivating since I'm pregnant and need my sleep!


At 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Our kids go to bed around 9, but now that summer break is about here, we'll let them stay up a bit later. It is hard for us though, because we live in a small house and 'our' time is not easy as everything is heard in our house. So we'll see what we do this summer. We are looking for a new house, so maybe that will help with the noise issue. :)



At 4:28 PM , Blogger Melissa said…

Oh my goodness, i know what you mean about staying up too late just to get some alone time! I have a three year old and a four month old and once they are in bed i just want some time to myself to do what ever with out being interrupted. But then i end up staying up too late and am tired when my boys wake up in the morning!


At 8:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

My 2 year old goes to bed at 7:30 and my 4 year old goes to bed at 8. they are not allowed out of their rooms until 7 in the morning. If they wake up before that they can read quietly in their rooms. They both rest during the day but rarely sleep. Again they are allowed to read quietly in their rooms.

I need my sleep and my time with my husband so those times are non-negotiable in our house. That is what works for us.



At 8:47 PM , Anonymous Burning Bushes said…

Our kids are down by 7 or 8 and we try to head to bed before 10. We set our alarms for 5 but hardly seem to make it up before 5:30. I still feel tired, even with setting good sleep boundaries. I think these years with kiddos and so many responsibilities are just tiring.

I blogged a while back about the importance of sleep. You may enjoy the post. It's here:


At 10:28 PM , Anonymous Kristin D. said…

My husband and I don't have any children and I already have a sleep/time problem, I hate to think what is going to happen when and if we have children! It seems I need more sleep than the average person and I never seem to get it, as a matter of fact I should be sleeping now! LOL Great post though and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who struggles with this!


At 9:27 AM , Anonymous Cassandra Frear said…

I have always needed more sleep than many other people in my family. For me it depends on what has been happening in my life recently. Some times I am just more tired, and I have to pay attention to that. I used to scrimp on sleep, too, until I found myself afflicted with chronic migraine symptoms. One of the treatments for migraine is getting enough sleep at the same time of night. I have to be very consistent. This "affliction" forced me to do what I needed to do. Now it is a no-brainer, and everyone understands. And that's one thing I thought about -- the expectations of others. That was a major factor for me in sleep deprivation over the years.


At 4:54 PM , Blogger Kimberly said…

I never get enough sleep. We have 9 children, with 8 at home ranging in age from 19-17months...I haven't slept through the night since i was pregnant with our first child...

I do lay down every afternoon with the 2 youngest, and now that the children are all out of school, i hope to get a little more rest(ha).

My husband and i always retreat to our room for some alone time, dead-bolt the door and turn the music up..if we didn't we would never get any time alone...

It isn't easy, but so worth it.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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