On a recent trip to California, I spent some time with a big, fat, sleeping sea lion.
Oh, how I wanted him to wake up, move, stretch, bark — anything but just lie there. Borrrr-ring! I knew he had to sleep because, like a good tourist, I researched before my visit.
Sea lions need fourteen hours of sleep per day. Sleep time out of the water allows their body to rest. It gives their body the energy to swim and hunt the other ten hours of the day. It dries their fur, allowing their skin to secrete oil as insulation from the cold water.
Their lives literally depend on sleep.
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
As a child, hearing that irritated me to no end! I knew my minutes were numbered. Bedtime was on the heels of that little ditty. As a culture, we embrace "early to rise" and we all want to be "healthy, wealthy and wise". But, I’m not so sure about the "early to bed" part.
We live in a time that is in constant conflict with sleep. There is always one more thing to do, one more task to accomplish, something we don’t want to miss out on, so we keep at it. We teach our children they must do the same. Sometimes we physically drag them with us, other times they learn by watching our actions. A parent is a child’s first and most impactful teacher, and many of us just need to get some sleep.
God talks a lot about rest.
God created the heavens and the earth in six days. On the sixth day, He created His first children and then He rested. Let’s be clear — God didn’t need to rest. He never needs to rest, but He does know how to teach His children. He knows that words are powerful, but actions always speak louder.
He spoke creation into existence, but He formed Adam and Eve with His hands. He gave them dominion and communicated His provision for them with words, and then He rested.
God showed them the importance of the action not by telling, but by doing.
God didn’t say, “Now rest.” He RESTED.
You need sleep and so do your children. Children’s bodies and brains grow during sleep. Our brains process information and commit it to memory while we sleep. A Harvard study shows that a good night's sleep may even protect against cancer. It certainly makes us all more pleasant to be around.
So, is your family getting enough sleep?
Age / Requirement
1-4 weeks: 15-16 hours
1-12 months: 14-15 hours
1-3 years: 12-14 hours
3-6 years: 10-12 hours
7-12 years: 10-12 hours
12-adult: 8-9 hours