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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

How much sleep do you need? Are you getting enough sleep?

Adults require eight to nine hours daily. Less than seven hours of sleep has an immediate and negative impact on our body. Chronic deficits sabotage health and shorten our life.

Boy asleep with arm around dog

And your children need regular and adequate sleep. Anything less than these recommendations results in compromised immune systems, lessened ability to learn, and emotional outbursts.

How Much Sleep You Need Based On Age

The number of hours for daily slumber varies according to age.

  • Babies to one-year-olds: 12 to 15 hours
  • One to three-year-olds: 12 to 14 hours
  • Four to six-year-olds: 10 to 12 hours
  • Seven to 12-year-olds: 10 to 11 hours
  • Teens through adult: 8 to 9 hours

Fall Asleep Easier

For better sleep for you and your child,

  • One to two hours prior to bed, turn off all media. TV, movies, and computers stimulate the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. Use the period just before bed to play board and card games, read, and bathe.
  • Children who sleep poorly and wake frequently often sleep better when their tummies are satiated before bed. Balance blood sugar with a bedtime snack that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This could be a half a tuna sandwich, peanut butter on a banana, almonds and raisins,  hummus and crackers, or oatmeal with cream. 

When we function on little sleep, we carry the deficit until we can make up what is needed. Teenagers often go to bed later, and then sleep late on weekends. They are not being lazy but catching up on the hours missed during the week.

Sleep Rejuvenates Us

The single parent who perpetually sleeps less than seven hours has a body that is keeping score. Schedule a reasonable bedtime and give yourself needed rest or eventually, exhaustion catches up.  

The first thing God blessed in Scripture was rest. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done,” (Genesis 2:2-3 NIV).

When you are rested, life looks better and you can hear the Lord’s voice more clearly. 

With adequate sleep, we make smarter decisions. 

You Need Sleep For Good Health

In addition to being emotionally healthy, physical health is a priority for connected families. One of your most important assets, your health is a pathway to the quality of life you want for yourself and your relationships. Our emotional health impacts our physical health, and our physical health can be an indicator of our emotional health.

To improve emotional, physical, and spiritual health, often the first step is to develop the habit of scheduling regular and adequate rest in the form of sleep.

By example, parents teach children the importance of habits that facilitate energy and longevity. One of the best gifts we give to ourselves and our children is a parent who exercises personal responsibility for our good health.  

Habits That Facilitate Good Sleep

In addition to getting seven to eight good hours of sleep nightly, here are habits that facilitate quality sleep.

  1. Decide your health and wellness is a gift to you and your children. One of the most powerful ways to love your children is to maintain your good health. 
  2. Find Biblical wellness and health coaching. First Place 4 Health offers online and church-based small groups. The Eat. Live. Thrive community, run by Danna Demtre and Robyn Thompson and targeted for those over 40.
  3. Exercise gives you energy and releases happy endorphins. Aim to stretch and walk 10,000 steps daily; Resistance or weight work twice weekly; Swim, Pilates, Barr, or kayaking twice weekly for core work. 
  4. Nourish your body. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats in your meals.  
  5. Hydrate. Carry a reusable water bottle or insulated tumbler and daily drink half your weight in ounces of water. 
  6. Take personal retreats. Walk outdoors, lay in the fresh grass and gaze at the clouds, close your eyes, relax and listen to a song. 
  7. Attend a conference or support group to heal emotionally such as First Place 4 Health’s Restore event and Bible studies, Weight Watchers, or Celebrate Recovery. 
  8. Surround yourself with others who value health, wellness, and fitness. Walk and pray with a friend; join a hiking, biking, or rowing club; go to the park and play with your children.

Sleep For Your Child

Once children become school age, invitations for sleep overs increase. But these activities can affect your child’s health through sleep – or more importantly, through lack of rejuvenating and necessary sleep.

  • Limit overnighters. Children should be in their own bed for adequate rest. Spending the night is a common opportunity for poor choices. 
  • Make certain each night that your child is sleeping safely at home.

As aspect of character development is concern for others and keeping their best in mind. Self-care includes personal hygiene, a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.

Is Worry And Anxiety Keeping You Awake?

When our mind is occupied with anxiety, worry, and concerns, sleep can be elusive. Consider reading Psalms before bed. Prayer is an opportunity to turn burdens over to God. After all, he’s going to be up all night anyway, so give problems to him to care for while you get crucial sleep.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (NIV)


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Meet PeggySue

We’ve heard of soccer moms and stage mothers. I’m a writer who trailers my kids and horses across the nation. My Apple computer, fondly christened MacBeth, is the essential I bring along.