Summary: The second chapter of Bronson and Merryman's book, Nurture Shock, studies the effects of sleep deprivation on children. According to their research, "children from elementary school through high school get an hour less sleep each night than they did thirty years ago" (30). There are many causes for this lost hour of sleep like busy schedules, burdensome homework, and televisions and cellphones in the bedroom. And as you would expect this lost hour is taking its toll on our children--not just academically and emotionally, but to "phenomena that we assumed to be unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of ADHD" (31).
The Main Problem:
Certainly we should be concerned about the amount of sleep our children receive. But I think the problem of sleep deprivation springs from a much deeper problem.
Psalm 127:2 says, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." According to this verse, sleep is a gift from our loving God. Yet, instead of receiving this gift, we resist it because it gets in the way of what we want to do. You've heard people say, there's never enough hours in a day. Well, even Jesus had to work with 24 just like you and me. So here's the issue. We don't like sleep because sleep is an admission that we aren't in control. It's a physical expression of our spiritual need to lay down and rest in the arms of One who is sovereign and never sleeps.
Do kids need sleep? Yes, of course. But a greater need is for their parents to go to sleep and model for them a life of simplicity and humble submission to the Lord.
- Read my reflections on chapter 1 of Nurture Shock called "The Inverse Power of Praise"