I didn’t realize it until we were several months into our Round-the-World trip, but my whole family (my husband and two children, ages 14 and 10) were sleep deprived. We had been that way since before the kids were born because we live in a society that rewards sleep deprivation.
We were a typical American family – we were hard working, hyper-scheduled, and generally just plain busy. We tried to keep a balanced schedule, sit down for meals, eat healthy and put our kids to bed (after sports and homework) at a decent bedtime. But typically the kids got about 8 hours of sleep (or less) and we got about 6.
A few months in to our schedule-free trip around the world and I could see that on an average night my kids needed 10 hours of sleep and we needed at least 8. Every night. This seems to be on track with actual research. (See the latest CDC article below)
Despite often being in remote places like Bali where the roosters crow all night long or Guatemala where there is a constant barrage of fireworks, we slept more and better. I do suggest you travel with ear plugs as the sounds of life (including traffic, roosters, fireworks, laughter, and occasional drunkenness) are part of the world.
After a year of moving and adapting to all kinds of sounds (and getting plenty of sleep) it was a rude awakening to return home to be delivered to a nasty note from a neighbor. The anonymous neighbor was angry because our children were playing outside on a summer night after dusk.
” Please bring your kids inside after dark, some of us have to get up early for work in the morning.”
Being hyper-scheduled and sleep deprived doesn’t make us more productive. It can, it seems, make us more grumpy.
We make getting a good night’s sleep part of our healthy home routine now. We are more aware of how sleep affects all of us.