Once upon a time there lived upon a cute little farm a little girl, her daddy, and mommy. When it grew dark around seven o’clock in the evening, everyone was already prepared for the night. Supper was complete, the dishes done, pajamas were on, and perhaps a single candle shone upon the kitchen table. In the winter time, it was unnecessary, due to the fire which flickered in the hearth, giving muted light and warmth.
Daddy and mommy spoke quietly, and mama knitted more by feel than sight. The bed-time story came straight from papa’s lips, and it was calm and dark within their little home. Soon the beautiful little girl slipped off to dreamland, then mama straightened a few things, put away her knitting, and papa banked the fire, secured the door, checked his rifle, already oiled and clean, and they snuggled up under the covers. It was 8:30PM, and all was quiet.
Eight and one-half hours later daddy arose, split a few bits of wood with the hatchet, and rekindled the fire. He borrowed a little from the fireplace, and got the cooking fire going in mama’s stove. Mama was up now, it was hard to see clearly, but a few flickering flames helped her find the way. It was 5AM. The rooster crowed. They could hear the world stirring and coming alive. They were all starting the day together.
The little girl was vaguely aware of the sounds and movement, but she slumbered on cozily for another half-hour, and by six in the morning she was up, dressed, and eating the most delicious pancakes in the universe. She was satiated with rest, and satisfied with food, and was a very happy little girl, sharing in the physical chores, and assisting her parents to the best of her ability. She carried her own weight, and then some. She slept nine or more hours every single night during her childhood, and thought it normal, because it was.
Today the story goes another way. Families eat a nine o’clock at night, perhaps. Artificial light floods their world. Nightlights, flashlights, streetlights, computer screens, TVs, clocks, cell phones, play stations, and games flash, shine, pulse, and create an endless day of light and noise.
A myriad of activities, artificial in nature, commandeer their life. Eating out at restaurants til late into the night, attending church also, and youth functions. Participating in sports, and extra-curricular activities and numerous other choices lead to the birth of living zombies, who find it normal to stay up most of the night, and sleep during the day.
Routines are a rarity, stability a foreign concept, and children eventually sleep from exhaustion, but it is often too little, too late.
It is not enough for a child to sleep seven or eight hours a night; he requires eight and one-half to nine hours each night. Furthermore, his sleep should coincide with the hours of darkness, and should take place in darkness.
The regulation of sleep patterns, bio-rhythms, and melatonin is based upon a healthy pineal gland, and this gland is connected to photo-receptors. Extinguish the light, and the pineal gland releases melatonin, and sleepiness comes, then sleep.
The introduction of an artificial world of stimulating light induces humankind to artificial and detrimental wakefulness. This leads to exhaustion in every arena, lack of mental clarity, mood swings, and mental stability. It can also lead to severe depression. And what is needed for that? A drug? Or shall we simply remove the lights, and sleep at night?
My advice, no matter how hard it may seem, is to timely remove all the artificial lights, blinking, bleeping, flashing, and glowing, and allow children the blessed opportunity to nap when they need it, and to sleep in harmony with the darkness.
In my experience, children are not naughty. However, a child can become so sleep-deprived that he becomes desperate for intervention.
The wise parent nourishes the child with rest.