How Much Sleep Do You Need?

There are only so many hours in a day.

Or are there?

Life is not fair — that is for sure. And when it comes to time, some lucky people just have MORE than others.

“How do you figure that?” you ask. Well, there are some lucky people out there who can survive on less sleep then the rest of us.

Personally, I have a long term health condition that requires me to get even more rest than the average person. So, I really get the short end of the stick. I need a ton of sleep — which I DON’T get lately.

I was reading over at A Cowboy’s Wife, (don’t you love Lori?) about what she accomplishes in a day and I was blown away. (Yes – I was green with envy too!) That girl is a ball of energy — a phenom, a true Wonder WAHM!!!

Lori works till the wee hours of the night (1 or 2am) and then starts her cattle ranch, work at home mom day all over again at 5 am!!!

I almost wept with envy and shame.

Yes, I work till at least 12am every night, (usually between 1am and 2am, but lately often 3am,) but then I nap to recover.

I also have a nanny that helps me look after my house and my toddler. (When I only had Jackson, I managed it all with just a couple days of daycare, but when the babies came, Susan and I had to give in and hire help.)

I usually work about 10 hours a day, and on busy days up to 14 hours a day. Some days are much less if it is a busy day with Jackson’s after school activities.

What exactly does my day look like?

Well, it varies quite a bit day to day depending on meetings and my son’s schedule, but here is a look at a typical day.

I co-sleep with Olivia, so I often don’t get too much sleep between 2am when I finally crawl into bed and when she wakes up. My nanny starts early because I never know when Olivia and Jackson will get up for the day. If they are up early, I hand them over and crawl back into bed until I have to get up to get Jackson ready to go to school.

I drive Jackson to school at 8:20am and get back to my desk at 9am. I nurse while checking email and getting my day started.

I often have meetings, interviews, etc scheduled for 9:30am. I work until about 11:30am or noon at which time I am so tired I could cry. If I have only had a few hours of sleep, I then try to escape for a nap after I nurse. It doesn’t always work — some days are just too crazy and I never do get a break.

If I was lucky enough to sleep, I then rush back to my desk, nurse Olivia if I didn’t nurse her earlier, and try to get some work done before leaving at 2:10pm to pick up my son from school.

I get back around 3:30pm, depending on how long Jackson wants to play after school. I snuggle and play with Olivia and then get back to work.

I continue to work until about 5pm or later, depending on the insanity of my workload.

I usually stop for sure by 6pm to have dinner and spend time with my kids.

When I get my kids in bed, I get back to my desk and work from 8pm till 1 or 2am or later. Olivia still wakes to nurse — and I just give in and nurse her since I am up anyway.

(Honestly, I don’t mind night nursing at all. I love the excuse to go get her and have a sweet snuggle time with just the two of us. I will miss those late night bonding times when they are over.)

So, yes, my days are crazy. My laptop sits on my kitchen table and I am answering emails, writing posts, etc throughout my day and night.

I don’t get the sleep I need, but I definitely have to give in and nap to make up for my late nights. I am no Lori that is for sure!

On the weekends, I catch up on sleep. My kind husband lets me sleep in AND nap. I usually get at least ten hours of sleep each day/night on the weekends to prepare for my next crazy week.

My life consists of working, tending to my kids and trying desperately to get more sleep. At this point in my life, I don’t have much free time. Sometimes on weekends my hubby and I get out with friends, but not too often.

It is a crazy busy life, but honestly, it is a good life.

I nurse and see my kids all throughout my work day. It makes for a rushed, broken up work schedule, but I love that I am still there to drive my son and nurse and play with my baby. Fortunately, the bulk of my work is done while the kids are sleeping or when Jackson is at school and Olivia is napping.

The truth is, my laptop and iPhone are present at most moments of my day. Olivia has done the majority of her nursing at my laptop (except her late night feeds.)

I do step away for at least two hours most evenings to do piano practice with Jackson, play with Olivia and do their bed time routines.

Speaking of nursing… time to nurse and type with one hand…

So — how much sleep do you need? When do you blog/work?

If you wrote a post about your daily schedule, leave a link in the comments.


  1. says

    Wow, Janice, that’s quite a day. Reading your post made me not only tired, but completely stressed out. I’ve never been in your situation, nor do I pretend to know the details of your life and work, but I do have an honest and sincere question… is it worth it?

    I ask only because with my personality I think I would feel like I am unable to give myself fully to my husband, or my kids, or my health, or my job because I’d be frantically trying to do everything.

    You’ve reminded me tonight to be content and blessed with my simple life. Thank you!

  2. says

    We share about the same schedule. My son goes to Montessori school every day so I get the majority of work done in the morning.
    Then I catch up on more when he naps and then get back to work after he goes to bed sometime between 8-9pm. I’m usually in bed by 12am-1am, I used to go to sleep at around 11 but it seems to be getting later and later. Then I’m up at 6:30am with my son to get him ready for school.

    On the weekends I sleep in until about 10am or so, I cherish the weekends for that!

    And Lori is a total phenom! She’s amazing…and sometimes I don’t think she realizes how amazing she is. She is probably one of the most productive people I know and you’d think with such little sleep she’d be a grump but she’s always ready with a smile you can feel through the interwebs!

  3. says

    Oh, you poor thing!

    Our life is much more simple at this point, so I am lucky to get about 7 hours of broken sleep each night. I can also nap a few times each week when my daughter sleeps. I blog during her naps and after she’s in bed for the evening.

    You have such a demanding schedule. I can’t imagine how you are so creative and driven on such little sleep!

    So here’s my obvious advice: Get as much outside help as you can, and sleep every single chance you get. As your kids get older, you will be able to get better rest at night. You’re in my prayers!

  4. says

    LOL – I think I have scared you all! No worries – I am surviving okay. :)

    Amy asked if it was worth it.

    Yes – for SURE! Not only do I love working and being creative (my mind is ALWAYS going!!!) but otherwise I would have to return to working outside of the home.

    This way I am with my kiddos and I can say when I need to be where. I can volunteer at school, take my son to piano and nurse my baby.

    The most hectic part of my day is managing my six year old son – not my managing my work! LOL

  5. says

    I think I’m good about getting the sleep I need now, but that means I am not getting other things done. And I’m STILL tired. I think that sleep sometimes doesn’t have to do with how much we overrun our bodies. There’s just so much we can take. I’m learning this big time. If anyone is curious, four children is A LOT! And when you work at home and want to give your all in so many areas, well, there is so much you can give. I’m dealing with this right now!


  6. says

    I have pretty long days. But i do it to myself. I get up at 630, start work at 7…..i am on the computer literally 10 hours a day and on hte floor w/ working for 5-6 hours a day. I go to bed at midnight and my body aches, my fingers crack, and i get migraines from sitting here too long. I have no idea why I do it.
    Only because i love it.


  7. says

    Wow! I personally need a lot of sleep or I am really miserable and get overwhelmed and cranky and that does not equal good parenting by me! I need to be in bed by 11 at the latest, and often am in bed by 10:30. I get very broken sleep still (baby is 1 – hopefully when he’s 2 it will have gotten a lot better, that was the turning point for first two boys!) and wake up for the day at 6:30 am.

    I do not get to nap at all but I probably could and feel better for it! I do not have time to stay on top of everything with that sleep schedule, but I’ve pretty much given up on having a sparkling clean house and I devote my waking hours to the kids and the work, usually simultaneously, lol. The computer is always on and I get as much work as I can done around their needs and wants!

  8. says

    Lori’s pretty amazing, isn’t she?

    Being a mom of five, I’m pretty much on the go all day every day. A set schedule just doesn’t work in our household, so I grab whatever time I can for blogging, and then I’m generally up until 1:00 to 2:00 am every night working on whatever I didn’t finish during the day. I’m also a part-time transcriptionist somewhere in there. 😛

  9. says

    I have to agree that I think Lori is pretty awesome! She is always so pleasant, even with so little sleep… A trait I would love to possess. I am a bear if I don’t get my sleep!

  10. says

    Hey Ladies,

    This is Susan here… Janice’s twin sister.

    Yes, Janice and I often lament that we were born with bodies that crave sleep.

    I LOVE sleeping and napping. But I definitely do not get to do enough of it.

    The amount of sleep I get varies, but I do generally try to ensure that I get 8 hours…

    Because of my serious anxiety, since Sophia was born I have had to take a medication that makes me even MORE tired than usual. So it forces me to get more sleep.

    The other factor that forces me to sleep is my co-sleeping girls who constantly wake when I’m not there. Once I put them to sleep, I usually get up and work more, but Sophia keeps waking and I go back. So usually when she wakes at 11 pm for a nursing, I stay in bed with them.

    Depending on what project we have on the go… or like now — during Christmas rush — I sometimes have to stay up very late (2 or 3 am) and don’t always get the sleep I need.

    But my schedule is very different than Janice’s. My girls wake up at about 6:30 am and my nanny arrives at 7:30 am and leaves at 4:30 pm. I try to get most of my work done during that time. But I also have many interruptions — including nursing (which I don’t mind at all) and taking Julia to ballet and preschool.

    I stop working at 4:30pm and look after Julia and Sophia until I get them to sleep at about 8 pm.

    Then I usually come back to my desk and work until 10 or 11.

    But many days if I have to work until 2 or 3 am, then I go back to sleep for a couple hours after my nanny arrives.

    For the last couple months, I have basically stopped working on the weekends.

    These days, Janice puts in my hours working than I do. I wish I could work more, but if you read my post about anxiety a while back, you’ll understand why I’ve had to cut back.

    I LOVE my work!!! And if I could, I’d work all night every night, but my silly body can’t keep up.

    At this moment, with my girls so young, I’ve had to realize that I can’t work as many hours as I want. When they are a little older, I’ll hopefully be able to work more.

    But working at home puts me in control of my schedule and that is the best part. I get to nurse Sophia, watch Julia at ballet class, take them to appointments and basically drop whatever I’m doing if they need me.

  11. says

    I WISH I could write a post detailing my day but in all honesty…I WING IT! Little man’s so busy these days. I’m lucky to have help from daddy. We keep each other sane. In just a few months it’ll be back to me and little man during the day. I don’t know how I’ll manage! I’m trying to work on some kind of schedule to keep from being strapped to the computer all day. If I’m online, the housework’s piling up. If I’m not tending to the house, blogwork’s piling up. I’ve had to come to terms with taking a break online otherwise I’ll start having feelings of resentment. I commend you and Lori. I suck at being consistent!

    Nursing and typing with the other hand, I can totally relate! I didn’t even notice that there were TWO shift buttons on the keyboard until motherhood! They sure do come in handy!

    Thanks for sharing your day and the spotlight of a well-deserved PRO Mommy Blogger!

  12. says

    I sent an email to my girl friends about my stress & lack of sleep cycle. She said I should post it here…So, here it goes!

    I just had to share a few thoughts with my girl friends who I knew would definitely understand where I’m coming from.
    I have been very sleep deprived and busy which has started a viscious cycle resulting in stress, dirty house, presents to make, clients to see, children to feed, more household chores that were put aside to do something else, but now can’t wait and need to be done now, so I stay up so late I get them done, just to be more sleep deprived the next day…. (Lisa, I’ll hand you some No-Doze, how fitting would that be?) You get the picture. Anyway I had expressed some of my stress to my husband. He had no verbal response at the time, but there was some evidence today that he understood.

    Even though it was after my husband picked up his little brother from the airport, who was now hanging out our messy house, my “Fairy God-folding Mother” came and folded my laundry for me while I was taking care of Girl Scout business. (Those girls stressed me out even more!!) Of course this was all after going to sleep at 11:30pm last night and waking up at 5:30a for my 6am client. And here it is 11:30pm again. At least the house is clean because I’ve been cleaning it since about 10pm. But now I need to get Amarys’ teachers’ gifts together. I think they’re all done – thank God for buying stuff on sale after Christmas last year- I’m definitely going to have to do that again this year!! PIER 1 HERE I COME!! But this time some of that stuff will be for me, thank you very much!!!

    Anyway, my point is I have another busy day lined up for tomorrow. I’d seriously type out my whole schedule for tomorrow, but I don’t feel like it. I’m sure you believe me. And the middle of the day includes the holiday party at Amarys’ school and that’s a decent portion of what’s stressing me out. I don’t feel like bein’ around NO MORE KIDS IN MY STRESSED OUT STATE!!! I need a masage. Maybe I should forward this to my husband…BABE, I NEED A MASAGE. Scratch that I NEED A DAY OF PAMPERING, topped off with a movie and a nice big creamy dessert at the end of the night.

    Then Saturday is my husband’s cousin’s wedding starting at 11am until who knows what time that night. Maybe Sunday I can take the day off. Maybe my “Fairy God-cleaning-cooking-babysitter Mother” will show up that day so I can take a nap or see a movie…or better yet BOTH!!

    Well, I wish you a less stressful MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Any one up for spliting the cost of a babysitter, leaving the kids at home on Tuesday and seeing a movie with me? that would be lovely. I’m so not kidding. If you’re interested, have your people call my people.

    p.s. I LOVE MY HUSBAND :)

    (That was it. and by the way it’s now 1:40am, I wrote the previous at 11:30pm. I think the gifts are done now :O

  13. says

    Well I think I could write a whole post on this but I’ll try to sum it up- I’m not a very scheduled person.When I schedule myself and don’t keep with it, I get stressed out and hard on myself. My day looks somewhat like this..

    I wake up at about 9:00am…with my kids

    I home school my 3 & 5 yr old- My husband is home in the am so I get to wake up, take a shower, look at my e-mails while he gets the girls going, bath, dressed, fed. I am not a morning person and we are both independently employed so this works well. He leaves to work about 11:00sh ( some days earlier) I get off the computer and spend a good 1 1/2 with the girls doing school. I don’t pick up the phone, ( I do Twitter some when they are involved in a project) and then we get lunch and go outside. I usually bring my computer and get another hour works in…

    We have field trips, singing class my 5 yr old takes piano. I work about 6 hours a day and sleep from about 3:00am-9:00am ( sometimes 2-9)
    My girls sleep from 9:00-9:00 so sleep I do get but on a very different schedule then most-
    I do laundry throughout the day and the girls help with dusting and make their own beds etc…tho housework is what gets done last. My dream for this coming year is to have a housekeeper come once a week..someday have a personal chef show up to make me organic meals and freeze them for the week ( haha)…I try but just can’t be consistent…OK this was therapeutic..I guess I did my post on your comment..hehe

    Thanks for the support as a seeing you on Twitter..I’m there at 2:00am..

  14. says

    I think all moms, and especially all mom bloggers, work just as hard as I do and get little sleep. I would rather sacrifice that sleep though just so I don’t take away from the family time.

    I think your day sounds just as crazy and it cracks me up every time I see you tweeting & typing with one hand;) I cannot type with one hand at all!

    I appreciate the mention and kind words from you and some of the commenters:) LOVE being called a PHENOM! WOOT

    Thanks for sharing your schedule, a little part of you & your day.

  15. says

    I normally get about 8 hours of sleep at night. If I don’t, then I’m just not productive the next day. I make mistakes, work more slowly…it’s just not worth losing the sleep.

    Let’s see… I wake up at 6:30, get ready, do a little housework and then take the boys to school. (I have discovered if I get online, then we always end up running late.)

    Sometimes I’ll go on a hike and take photos (my work). The light is the best this time of day (or the evening). Then I’ll upload any photos, edit and might post to my photography blog. Then I work on the biz side – web site, marketing, phone calls, etc. I also have a blog about learning and teaching Spanish which I enjoy working on.

    After I pick up the boys, we come home and hang out together until supper time. Sometimes I do more work after supper or exercise if I haven’t earlier in the day. (I make this a priority.) After they go to bed, I might work for another hour, but not too close to bedtime or I can’t fall asleep.

    It’s pretty simple, but I like it. I had a health scare earlier in the year… it opened my eyes quite a bit. We don’t have as a big of an income, but we don’t need it. As long as we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies, life is good.

  16. says

    When I’m not pregnant I can function fairly well on 5 hours of sleep. My day starts at 7am and sometimes doesn’t end until 1 to 2am. I have to take care of my daughter during the day along with the house. After everyone goes to bed around 11pm that’s when my work hours start from designing for my stores to finishing up laundry.

  17. says

    7 to 8 hours otherwise the family has to live with a crazy lady! I left my night owl days behind me when I graduated college. I’m usually in bed by 10 pm and up again at 5:30. As much as I hate getting up early, that’s my most productive time of day.

  18. says

    I work really late and I think it’s turned into a serious case of insomnia, but I recently started taking Melatonin at bedtime and it seems to be helping get me off the vampire schedule. :)

    WAHM’s are some of the hardest workers I know, and Lori is among the cream of the crop. She is always positive and helpful and selfless, and I’m so thrilled to see you gals give her a shout out here!

  19. says

    I actually don’t look at people who work long hours and get tons done as wonder women or anything. Likely because I don’t envy that type of schedule.

    I am the type that believes you can have it all but not at once. Right now I have my family and I’m Mommy (I do own a business but I made sure it was passive) and when they are off to school I’ll likely put a lot more time into my business.

    As far as sleep is concerned I need a good amount. At least 8 hours. We’re all supposed to get a lot of sleep anyways, but many of us don’t get it. Sleep affects so much of how we can handle/process things and it is a priority when I can make it so…meaning, when I don’t have a newborn keeping me up 😉


  20. says

    I cannot nap, if I do I wake up feeling much worse! I usually try to get 7 or 8 hours a night, but it doesn’t always happen. As for blogging, I try to catch up early in the morning and then after the kids go to bed at night. Sometimes I have days where I get an hour or so in the afternoon to catch up on email too. My blog is one of my last priorities. God, dh, kiddos, homeschooling, healthy meals, then blogging…

  21. says

    Typically I get a full 7hrs sleep but much like you I also take meds and come noon time I’am so completly pooped!!! I work a full 40hrs at home for McDonalds as their Customer Service Rep,in addition to caring for my kids, the daily routine of cleaning the house ect and now I took on the responsibility of 3 more children 10 hrs a day!!! ITS BEYOND CRAZY BUSY!!! my husband is a super hard worker, unfortunatly his hours are VERY long and he travels alot.
    Thank the Lord our youngest is a good sleeper and always has been, even though he nurses he sleeps through the night, so I’am able to crash after I put him down….I look forward to my “chill out” time be it playing on the computer or just sitting in bed watching TV…Its deffinetly the time I need to myself each day. And as rough as some days truley may seem and having gone through an emotionally challenging year, I always remind myself how lucky I’am.

  22. says

    Sleep is one of my biggest stresses too. I was staying up until 3 or 4 am to get everything done, and napping during the days. But lately I’ve been trying to get to sleep earlier and do without the naps so I’m not sleeping while the girls are awake. But I’m getting behind with stuff again now though, so I have no idea how to catch back up.

    It’s odd – when I was a ‘working’ mom, I was so rushed and never had time either, just for different reasons. And I know that blogging isn’t a ‘job’ in my case (doesn’t bring in an income) but sometimes it feels like one. And I do wish it were – I love doing this so much more than any ‘real’ job that I’ve ever had. :)

  23. says

    I used to need so much sleep to function. My oldest son (Now 5) woke up every 30 minutes his first year. I was a wreck. I then had another son 20 monhts later, and now have a newborn. I haven’t gotten more than 6 hours per night, nor have I slept through an entire night in over 5 years. It starts to grate on one after a while… what I find even worse than not sleeping though is never any ‘me’ time. My oldest two don’t nap (and my babe seldom does). I hate that I get up when they do — around 6am, and someone is always up until I go to bed (usually around midnight). I am longing for my own time!

  24. says

    Thank you for sharing! I see all these women (including you) doing so much and I always wonder HOW they do it. B/c my schedule is much like yours. Except with no nanny. And I am not up as late. I’d die. But I never get to nap. I am so tired all the time. If I don’t get to bed by midnight, I am unfit to live with the next day.

    But my point is, I do feel like I work nonstop. And I guess there are many of us out there working nonstop. I think it’s just the plight of a mom.

    I love what I do, but I often wonder if it’s worth it. Hmmmm.

  25. says

    I unfortunately need a lot of sleep also or I am a mess. My DH and I have talked about the idea of bringing someone in to frankly just free him up so that I can get more done and he can too. It is just justifying the expense up front.

  26. says

    Oh and there I was thinking that I was along. I wrote an article about this and I usually get up at 6:30am, get myself ready, prepare breakfast for the kids, everyone up at 7:30ish, ripping and running like crazy until my husband (thank God) takes the eldest off the French School. I wait for him to return and I had off the my day job around 11 and work (sneak to blog… Shhhh), check my email etc, head home late (get most of my work in an empty office) in time for dinner. Spend time with the kids, hubby, tv, back to blogging, chatting and networking on twitter, facebook, utterli – Im dead dog tired.

    Cocktail Anyone?

  27. says

    I work outside the home first, then I work at home after that in a busy household of six plus pets. I usually get almost 6 hours of sleep a night, not enough in my opinion. I need 7 or 7 1/2. I take naps on weekends. I do my best blogging in the wee hours of the morning – midnight on work nights and anywhere until 2 or 3 AM on weekends. And there you have it. Another sleep-deprived mom with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Good thing I can multi-task!

  28. says

    I appreciate your honesty and openness. You have a crazy schedule, that’s for sure!

    I go to sleep between midnight and 1 a.m. on most nights, but don’t wake up until 8 a.m. (when our 2-year-old daughter wakes up). My “working days” are M, T, and W – my MIL comes over and plays with my daughter between 10:30-3:30 on those days (I take breaks for cuddles and puppets and lunch…). I try not to work much during my daughter’s waking hours on the other days…although my wonderfully supportive husband does give me time to write on the weekends.

    It’s tough balancing everything. Most of all, I want to keep “perspective” – to remember that my husband, my kids, and my health come first. Of course, ambition and money and personal fulfillment matter…they just matter less.

    P.S. I just subscribed to Lori’s feed. Thanks for pointing me in her direction.

    P.P.S. I used to nurse and type like a pro when my daughter was a newborn. Might as well multitask in those moments… :)

    P.P.P.S. Rest up and enjoy the moments with your kids and your business! You’re doing a great job.

  29. says

    I have sleep apnea and I used to need about 11 to 12 hours a night. Then, I would still want to nap. But now, now I can make it on 8 a night consistently.

    Now, that said, I love to nap so on the weekends when my husband is here or if my mom is here and taking over school pick-up with Walker and watching Jace, I almost always sneak a nap. But to me, a nap isn’t a nap if it lasts less than 3 hours. If I can’t sleep for 3 hours, I don’t even want to bother laying down.

    Sleep apnea was ruining my life but things are much better now…..


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