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    How much sleep? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. How much should I sleep?

    DreamingA. The answer is personal. Some people need seven to ten hours a day, others can get by on three. Some can only fall asleep if they listen to music, others can only fall asleep during sermons!

    The real consideration is not how much sleep but how much wakefulness there is. Though Shir HaShirim says, “I sleep, but my heart is awake” (5:2), this doesn’t mean that one should never sleep deeply but that, by a Divine miracle, the body can be at rest whilst the heart continues to beat. That’s why one of God’s great gifts to His creatures is the ability to sleep and be refreshed (Heine said, “Sleep is the most precious of all inventions!”).

    The important thing is that when you are fully awake, you should be alert and energetic and stir yourself when people need your interest, support and response.

    The great curse is to waste good daytime hours in sleep: the Midrash noted the Biblical words, “Sleep to fall” (Gen. 2:21) and commented, “The beginning of a person’s downfall is (too much) sleep” (Gen. R. 17:5).

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