The “luxury” of sleep

My kids sleep until they wake up.    They also go to bed when they choose, which sometimes means 1am.

This ability to follow their natural sleep patterns, and to sleep until they are rested is virtually unimaginable to much of the population.

It is also the basis of some criticism. (But what isn’t when it comes to unschooling?)   People ask me “But don’t they need to learn how to get up early?” or “Don’t they need to learn that you can’t always sleep till noon?”

Well, if life is an endless drudgery of things you don’t really want to do but either believe you “have” to or are told you “should”, then I suppose being dragged out of bed every morning, bleary-eyed and grumpy would be a part of it.

My question to everyone is, “Why do you believe that chronic sleep deprivation is a necessary part of childhood/life?”

Here’s the thing.  When we travel – like when we went to the Bahamas in February – both my kids voluntarily get up earlier & go to bed earlier.   In Atlantis they woke around  8:30-9am and went to sleep around 11-11:30pm.   All without me saying a word about it.

My take on this is that, just like with most things,  you don’t need to be “trained” for years to get up early or go to bed early if the reason for waking up early is something you are motivated to do, are excited about or have chosen for whatever reason.  When we go to visit my family in Indiana, we leave between 6-6:30am and the kids, though sleepy when I wake them, are happy to get up and get on the road because the goal is something we all agree upon; getting to my parent’s house later the same day.  (It’s a 12 hour drive.)

Sleep should not be a luxury.  Well rested children are healthier and happier.   Not to mention well-rested adults who don’t argue with their kids every morning about waking up, and then argue with them again at night about going to sleep so they won’t be tired the next day.

Life is short.  Maybe we should spend more of it enjoying and cherishing time with our kids instead of regimenting it and acting as enforcers for an outdated system.


Leave a Comment