Does anyone get enough sleep?

I’ve always been a huge fan of sleep.  Unlike the couple Hoagy Carmichael wrote about, I’m more likely to plead exhaustion and say good-night than to stay up til dawn gazing into my lover’s eyes.  There’s nothing romantic about being tired and cranky, if you ask me.

As a parent, of course, I’ve experienced sleep deprivation.  It is the great shared experience of mothers everywhere; we’ve all been there, done that, and would like to sleep it off somewhere.

Last week, I read an article about the effect of sleep deprivation on a genetic level.  700 genes were found to have disrupted activity when the study’s participants got less than six hours of sleep each night.

I’m not certain what that means, but no wonder new moms are exhausted.  Not only did you just create all those brain and kidney and skin cells, but now your own genes cannot even relax with a job well done.

Then there was an article about sleep deprivation leading to binge eating. 

I don’t binge eat.  It’s probably because I sleep eight hours a night and have happy genes.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem, even for those without babies in the house.  Thirty seven percent of drivers admit they have fallen asleep while driving in the past year.

How much sleep do children need? | A Faded GingerIt’s also a problem for many children today.  I honestly think a lot of the behavior problems, specifically the tantrums and meltdowns and lack of ability to cope, and, yes, the inability to sleep soundly, I see in children are due to them being chronically tired.

They are not little adults.

If sleep deprivation messes with 700 genes, what must that do to a child with a rapidly growing body?

How much sleep do children need? According to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns need 10.5 to 18 hours per day for their first two months.  It doesn’t matter when.
  • Babies from three to twelve months need 9 to 12 hours each night, and two naps of 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Toddlers from one to three years old need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep per day.
  • Preschoolers aged three to five need only slightly less, 11 – 13 hours each day.
  • School aged children aged five to twelve need 10-11 hours of sleep each day.
  • Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep per day.

Do you feel like you get enough sleep?  What about your children – do they?

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8 thoughts on “Does anyone get enough sleep?

  1. I am sure I don’t get enough sleep. I try but I babysit my grandkids two nights a week plus have then two weekends a month. They are EARLY risers! When we are not away from home working on a project and there are no grandchildren in the house I tend to get better sleep, but insomnia is always knocking at my door.

    I totally agree with you on the not staying up late gazing into my lovers eyes…I would much rather cuddle up and fall asleep in his arms.

    • I just read about your kitten keeping you up those two nights. I am often up at night letting one or the other of my dogs out/in, but usually I’m able to fall right back to sleep.

  2. I have experienced many a sleepless night due to insomnia and the effects are horrible on my ability to think clearly. It all started with menopause. Lately though I have been able to fall asleep normally and am very thankful. Also, I doubt and worry that many school aged children 5-12 are getting enough sleep with the heavy homework they are given these days.

    • I’m glad to hear you’re once again able to sleep soundly. It’s always good to know that those phases don’t last.

      I think homework is only part of the problem. I think sports is a bigger one. I know children who have games that don’t end until 10pm.

  3. i had reverse insomnia during menopause. i’d go to sleep fine and first started waking up at 5:30 which felt great. got things done before i had to go to work. then it was 5, then 4:30, then 4:00, then 3:30. that’s where it stopped and i am grateful for that-back to normal, whatever that is.. i think part of kids’ problem is junk food as well. we don’t think about how small their stomachs are how hard it must be for all those preservatives to be digested. i noticed my kids slept really well unless they had a lot of processed foods – oreos etc. i baked for the most part but never was one of those mom’s who said to another mom, my child can’t have store bought cookies or frozen pizza but i could see a difference.

    • I hope the reverse insomnia doesn’t happen to me, because 3:30 sounds ridiculous.

      I am no fan of all those chemical preservatives, either, but I never noticed it affecting sleep. I wish more research was done in those areas.

  4. I know I don’t get enough sleep. I can see how that might lead to binge eating. You feel lousy and just want to feel better. Eating probably helps with that for a few minutes. You crave energy. I have been focused lately on sleeping more and eating better. I am tired of being tired. I have been giving up other things to get more sleep. I think my daughter gets about between 12 and 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, but there are times I think she is still tired. I am working on getting her a more consistent schedule. We have sort of been revolving around my husbands schedule which means eating later and later bedtimes, but I think that might not be working so well for me and my daughter. I have been going to bed a little earlier and getting up earlier and she has been going to bed a little earlier and getting up a little later. Sleep makes every other part of your life better. I am not sure why we think it is so great to skip it.

    • It’s harder when your spouse works a non-standard schedule. We had that for a long time, too. It gets easier as the kids get older, and there are a lot of advantages to it.

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