How Much Sleep?

A necessary evil or greatest pleasure?

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Comments (21)

(17) Anonymous, December 24, 2013 11:56 PM

I'm glad others think the same way as me!

I'm glad other people who have posted comments take issue with Lori. True, Rabbi Yaacov Weinberg, zatz'l, recommends minimizing sleep as one of the 48 ways of acquiring Torah. But this can be dangerous. A sleep expert here in Toronto says we're a sleep-deprived society -- and, as such -- increasingly prone to irritability, instability and inattention. The expert cites the Rambam as an authority for getting at least eight hours of sound sleep a night. And I think he's right. I realize that in much of the frum community, the late-to-bed ideology is much in vogue, whether it be bochurim studying late into the evening, or parents of big broods doing their shopping at 11 p.m. But this sleeplessness eventually catches up with you. I know one person who, because she pushed herself relentlessly, succumbed to systemic fatigue syndrome which virtually crippled her for years. So, sleep isn't anything to take lightly -- particularly in our 24/7, fast-paced, frenetic culture.

(16) Aliza, November 24, 2013 8:44 AM

With all due respect, I also disagree

Different people need different amounts of sleep. Some people CAN get by healthily with 4 or 5 hours of sleep. They are the exception, NOT the rule. Stanley Coren did an experiment for his book, "Sleep Thieves" where he gradually reduced the amount of sleep he got. He discovered it took him twice as long as to handle memos in his inbox (pre-email days!), he was irritable, and his ability to mentally process was severely compromised.

A better suggestion is for each person to find their optimum hours of sleep necessary and ensure they get that every night.

(15) J, November 22, 2013 3:46 AM

Reward yourself after a hard days work with a good nights sleep

I, like most of the commenters here disagree with Lori - medical study after medical study has shown the alarming long term effects of insufficient sleep and trying to cut corners on sleep. Sleep is a reward, and not just a necessary evil - after a hard days work we can rest assure that all of the human effort we have made to accomplishing goals is now being 'matched' by Hashem like an organization matching a donors contribution. It's a beautiful thought that we are not using our hands and minds and simply ' letting go' consigning ourselves to Hashem's loving care. Don't underestimate the power of dreams as well, which are analyzed at length in the Torah.

(14) Richard Dennis, November 21, 2013 7:52 PM

How much sleep you ask?

When you get up into the 80s, like me, you have other health matters that limit your sleep during the night. So, you take a nap somewhere in late morning or afternoon. Yes, there was a time that I, too, got by with 4-5 hours sleep. Not even close these days.

(13) Anonymous, November 21, 2013 6:13 PM


Im nervous about ppl taking it in an unhealthy way. I do not think trying to get less sleep is the answer in the least. A good nights sleep is the solution to almost every problemp of a persons day. And Its a halacha from the shulchan aruch to leap out of bed in the morning- hitgaber kari laamod baboker lavodas borei- because u are returned ur soul in the morning to be on a mission of productivity in ur day, but hashem created a need of sleep for our bodies to regenerate, our souls to get the rejuvination by learning with Him at night, and for us to understand the need for processing time after productivity and that we are not in control of outcome but we must give the days work over to Hashem for Him to seal it with a stamp of eternal stability as only. He can do. Sleep is critical. We are not the vilna gaon. I do nopt think we should strive for less sleep, but rather to use every moment that we are already awake anyway to be productive.

(12) Chana Gimble, November 21, 2013 3:29 PM

Lori's Opinion Only, Not the Medical Profession's Findings

I look forward to Lori's video every week and find them thought provoking. Although I know she portrays her perspective on topics, I strongly consider what she says, because I consider her learned in Torah. And that's why I'm concerned that some people reading this may believe that Lori's recommendation here is worthwhile for all (even considering the disclaimer about her kids at the beginning). I'm glad the other comments refuted Lori's recommendations. I agree that, for me, it's beneficial to cut back on sleep for certain reasons. But, also, I know my health, which is not only physical, but also emotional and spiritual, is dependent on my getting the proper amount of sleep. Sure, I've whittled down my sleeping time to get more done: But when I continue this on a regular basis, by cutting back, even, just 30 - 45 minutes a night consistently, I become susceptible to a loss of clarity in my thinking, irritability, (reaching for) sweets and chips in bigger quantities rather than healthier options etc.. All of which effect my relationships with my husband and family, quality of my work and energy I put into maintaining a healthy emotional and spiritual life. Let me clarify here, this is my opinion, and as the same as Lori's, is not based on the medical profession's findings. But medical science has found that enough rest is not a waste of time, but rather the alternative: Not getting enough rest results in a waste of one's awake time, because we're not able to perform our daily responsibilities--and passions--from a healthy place. And from a healthy place, similar to a vegetable planted in healthy soil filled with minerals and receiving sunlight to nurture it, if we don't get enough rest (consistently) to nurture us, we're more available to distorted thinking, negative feelings, not to mention the physical effects of our bodies being able to combat infection and even cancer. Enough sleep is a choice: Yes to Enough Rest.

(11) Anonymous, November 20, 2013 6:24 PM

Health Matters!

I have epilepsy and chronic depression. While I know that if I am sleeping during the day it is a sign that I am depressed, I also know that my epilepsy requires me to get enough sleep every night. And for me, that is 9 hours. My neurologist supports this and has encouraged me to get more rest. I, too, feel that there is so much that I need to get done, and I enjoy being busy, but as other folks have commented, I want to stay healthy. This video blog was thought provoking. Thank you.

(10) Anonymous, November 19, 2013 10:39 PM

Health effects of sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is associated with obesity, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and an increased risk of automobile accidents. You can read more in this book summary: Personally, if I lose a few hours of sleep, I become depressed, and even if I have an exciting activity planned, I don't enjoy it.

(9) Anonymous, November 19, 2013 5:06 AM

sleep is vital

of course one should not sleep excessively, but sleep is not a waste of time! sleeping a third of your life (by sleeping 8 hours a night) is not bad! true, there were some gedolim who managed on very little sleep, but most of us can not do that! in order to be productive and accomplishing people, we need to sleep! some people even need more than eight hours. Sleeping too little is unhealthy and dangerous. I do not think that what we should be doing is weaning ourselves off of sleep. If Hashem created the need for sleep, then it is fine. Of course, like everything, it should not be taken to the extreme. But there is a mitzva to take care of your health, and not sleeping is unhealthy.

(8) TMay, November 17, 2013 6:49 PM

Latest medical report says

The latest medical research says that the brain swells when awake and shrinks when asleep and allows the brain to bathed in fluids that carry away toxins thus allowing the brain to be more efficient when awake. I personally value my brain and want to help it. It is in charge along with some other organs of a lot more than itself in the body. That is what medicine is saying now. I think it does other things similar to what a computer does when we shut down a computer. The computer puts files/memories in the right place and deletes, and in the human brain it is my experience does a review and allows discrepancies to rise up to consciousness to be compared with fresh experiences and perceptions in order to arrive at valid conclusions and allows one to ask questions about the discrepancies. There was an old saying that said to never make a big decision without sleeping on it. I believe in that. I worry about juries who make a decision the same day the case is wrapped up. In other words, the brain is working while we are asleep, so it is a misconception to think the time is wasted.

(7) Harry Pearle, November 17, 2013 5:58 PM

VARY Amount of Sleep and Take Naps?

Something to think about. But why not vary the amount of time for sleep and taking naps? And what about, Franklin's advice: 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'? And what about dreams and inspirations? I often get my best thoughts in the middle of the night, out of dreams. What about dreams? THANKS

Harry Pearle, November 18, 2013 11:16 PM

See: 'Treating Insomnia to Heal Depression' (NYTimes)

Just saw this article, Nov 18, in the NYTimes, which supports the idea that we need enough bedrest to feel good during the day. Have a look at the study.

Dvirah, November 23, 2013 7:47 PM

Dreaming is Important

Dreams can be very important (cf. the many stories involving dreams in the Tanach!).. One's body sleeps but one's mind and soul do not. True, some dreams are merely "wish fulfillment" but many are teaching dreams and for me, at least, impact on my behavior when I apply the lessons.

(6) Deborah, November 17, 2013 4:59 PM

Sorry Lori but respectfully i found this one kind of patronizing. What will be the next step, stoping going to the bathroom because its a waste of time? Noone is an energizer bunny forever and thinking that u can get by with less than u need is kind of foolish.

Alan S., November 18, 2013 11:21 PM

I agree...
Why is the Rebbitzen taking her valuable time to even comment on this issue? Has there been a brouhaha about this issue that I missed?
What value does a sleep deprived person add to the sanctification of Hashem?
Sleep deprivation issues are well known. Just ask Judy Gruen.

(5) Anonymous, November 17, 2013 4:16 PM

respectfully diagree

Sleep helps me remain more calm and sane, so why would I try to be cutting down on that. Sleep is not a "waste of time." It's a necessity to survive and by cutting down when you're really good on 7 or 8 hrs is just beyond me. I understand getting things done, and living is important as well, but you will be efficient doing those things when you have slept.

(4) Benjamin, November 17, 2013 3:36 PM

Great Advice for Exceptional People -- Not for Most

I totally get what Lori is saying, but this advice is really only appropriate for mentally and physically fit people who are, in reality, exceptions to the rule. Over 1/3 of all Americans are sleep deprived, yet this advice implies that people who are getting 8 hours/night are somehow lazy. My rule of thumb is to listen to one's body. Hashem created everyone with their own internal clocks!

Anonymous, November 17, 2013 8:14 PM

respectfully disagree, as well

I agree with the other comments. Sleep is NOT a waste of time. Ask anyone who has sleep problems and cannot get their 7 or 8 hours a night - ask them how they feel. The brain does need its time to organize itself and not giving it the necessary time makes one feel foggy and detached. I believe sleep is an essential part of living - just as important as the waking state is the sleeping state. Lori - speak to anyone who has trouble sleeping and they will tell you how vital sleeping is to living. I believe in allowing the body to dictate the amount of sleep it needs. I don't use an alarm unless I have to be up at a certain time and my body seems to know when 6 or 7 hours has passed. That is trust in Hashem.

(3) sonia, November 17, 2013 2:52 PM

This time I disagree

Science has been proving how important 7-8 hours of sleep are. No to talk abount children and teenagers. While we sleep, the human growth hormone does its job. No only to grow when you are young, but to refresh and repair our cells. It also shows that people who sleep 7-8 hours have less stress levels and... have less tendency to overweight. You can do many fascinating things during daytime. But slee is also a parto of aour life, and a very healthy one. I am a biochemist.

(2) Anonymous, November 17, 2013 2:44 PM

I agree with previous comment completely. I think this is an unfortunate advice.

(1) Deborah, November 17, 2013 7:45 AM

Less sleep = better life quality?

Sorry, but I can only disagree with Lori this time. thinking that u can have a better life and accomplish more by sleeping less is an illusion. there are plenty of medical researches which prove that lack of sleep have far-reaching consequences which are not to be taken lightly.


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