Can You Adjust to Lack of Sleep?

I spoke at a Sleep Workshop last week. The woman introducing me asked the audience of about 50 people how many of them received 8 hours of sleep per night. I was shocked that not one person raised their hand! Most of these people did not have babies to keep them awake at night yet!


Can our bodies get used to a lack of sleep? No.

Sleep is a necessity for our bodies. The American Sleep Foundation published a study which concluded that chronic lack of sleep may lead to various health issues. Some of the health issues sleep deprivation has been connected to are high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, obesity and metabolic disturbances.


The recommended sleep hours per age for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, infants between 12 and 15 hours, toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.

Dr. Sigrid Veasey, a sleep professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, says that sleep deprivation makes our thinking and reasoning inaccurate. Our judgement is disturbed, including the ability to judge how well you are functioning on lack of sleep.
Dr. Veasey says, “The more you deprive yourself of sleep over long periods of time, the less accurate you are of judging your own sleep perception.”

Sleep deprivation is not healthy for our babies, toddlers or older children either. When our children have not slept well since birth, they do not even know what if feels like to be well-rested. This disturbs their long-term health and development.

We see great value in keeping our children well fed each day. It is just as important for to make sure your child gets enough sleep each day. Make sleep a priority.

Helping Babies Sleep

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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