Need to sleep a lot... do I not have a vocation?

Dear All,

I feel much concerned with this matter. I need between 9 and 10 hours’ sleep. It’s a great deal when you’re considering becoming a nun. I’ve wanted it for 4 years now, and it is THE thing that prevents me from entering anywhere.
I need lots of sleep, and when I don’t get it at night, I take a nap. It’s just such a nuisance. I don’t know what to do about it.
You can’t assume the Religious Life, neither marriage in this state, because if you want to raise 9 children (I’m a Traditional Catholic) anyway you need the best health. Same for Latin Mass communities.

What do you think?

Have you been to a doctor to see if there is an underlying health concern? I used to suffer from iron deficiency and I needed much more sleep then than I do now. It is fairly common with women and can be pretty asymptomatic in some individuals. There may be other things that could cause such fatigue so it’s worth checking. Also think perhaps about your lifestyle and your diet because these are also things that may affect your need for sleep. For example, do you eat healthily, do you do shift work that requires a disrupted schedule, etc.

Are you at all able to sleep less at night without napping during the day? For some people something as simple as getting into a routine can completely change their sleep patterns and it may be that if you were able to get into a new routine your body would adapt to it.

I would not be too concerned about it. Talk to some communities you are interested in and let them know that you need to get a certain amount of sleep. I do not know too much about sister/nuns but I know that many religious brothers take an afternoon nap for an hour or so after doing their work for the day. 9-10 hours is not a “lot” of sleep considering 8 hours is considered the norm in medical communities but they do say some may need a little more or a little less. Pray, pray, pray and talk to communities to see what their view is. God bless, I’ll pray for you

I use to have this problem too, and I am a guy , it does require talking to a doctor, and things come into consideration at least for me.

My weight was a big reason why i was so tired, along with depression, now by no means am i sitting here saying yup this is what you got, go hit that tread mill and be happy.

but it sounds like fatigue off hand, and as cliche as it sounds it is true, proper diet and exercise really does help.

plus it wont change over night so you have to be prepared to give this change some time.

God Bless you on your journey and hope you find the physical help you need with your issue.

if it’s your hearts desire, go for it.

you will solve the sleep problem in due time.

If you feel you really need that much sleep (ie. you will fall asleep standing up if you don’t get it.) you probably have a medical issue that you could speak to your doctor about.

That being said, I love sleep. If left to my own devices I could easily and unaplologetically sleep for ten hours straight. I love everything about sleep. laying down…pillows…being unconcious…dreaming…not being at work yet…It’s all an awsome experience that I’m thankful for every night.

I know people who don’t sleep, God love em, they doze off in front of the TV and wake up seven times in one night. They don’t know what they’re missing. I’m convinced that REM in the closest we mortals can get to heaven in this lifetime. That being said, there are things in my life that tend to cut in to my favorite hobby. (family, work, obligations, etc.) So, just like any responsible person does when real life rears its head, I get up and get on with the day. I may not like it at first, but it’s what you have to do if you want to have a fullfilling life that pleases God.

I think that if you wanted to be a sister or a wife with exactly nine children and you don’t have some debilitating physical condition, you will find reasons to wake up and get on with your day as well. You probably don’t really need sleep as much as you enjoy it and getting on without it is a discipline just like living on a protein shake diet or avoiding drugs.

I had a sleep problem, also. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep, but I would fall asleep on my feet…really. I would wake up at night, sit on the side of my bed and topple over. Or in the bathroom. I would fall asleep on the commode, topple over and hit my head on the bath tub or vanity. No joke and forgive me for being a lttle crude about it. It was severe sleep apnea which is now addressed medically. Take yourself to a Dr. post haste. You will sleep better for it.:blush:

If you really want to become a Nun then you will be better for approaching your priest about it who will help you with the whole process. The priest and your spiritual director and any convents you visit in the process will be able to guide you about your own sleeping pattern and whether you need to change anything etc to their requirements.

I urge you to speak with your priest. Each invidual convent will have different ways of managing the medical needs of Nuns there and they be your best answer.

Is it out of habbit (sorry no pun intended:blush:) that you need 9 hours or is it that you are used to that so you feel more ratty after a week of shorter sleep as of on holidays which means your body don’t adjust properly. Your spiritual director will be able to help you to make any adjustements if you need to as you prepare to enter any convent.

You can start that process right now by ringing your priest and declaring your desire for the convent and asking for help with it.

Good luck

It’s always good to take lots of naps.

I second and third and fourth everyone who said that you should go see a doctor before making any decisions or getting upset about whether you will or will not be able to do certain things. That is the most important thing. There could be an underlying health problem that is easily fixed! If it is, there’s no problem! :slight_smile:

With all that being said, I would say that if there is no underlying condition and you still need that much sleep you would need to speak to different communities about your needs. Talking to your parish priest probably won’t give you any answers because he won’t have experience living the rigors of religious life. The life of a priest is very different from the life of a sister or nun.

I don’t know if you are looking into a contemplative community or an apostolic community. It is true that most contemplative communities do have a rest period during the day, however, most still do not get a large amount of sleep. Each community will be different. I’m in an apostolic community and I really don’t remember the last time I had nine hours of sleep and I don’t think I’ve ever had a nap except in the case of illness. I’m not saying this to scare you but to be realistic about the rigors of religious life. I usually get a solid 7 which is hard but I get by on it!

Again, each community is different, different customs and responsibilities, so you will have to talk to them. But first, get thee to a doctor! :thumbsup:

Get medical assistance–full lab panel.

Have your ears checked–overly sensitive ears can lead to depression which makes one sleep.

Chronic fatigue can create a greater need to sleep. I used to get by on 7, but now need almost 10.

I definitely would not recommend childbearing until the situation is resolved. If you already have sensitive ears, they will become even more sensitive when pregnant the first time. Being pregnant will make you sleep like nobody’s business as well.

Some psychotherapy would likely be a good idea, too.

May the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus pray for you, and all who have sleep problems.


As a simple point of interest and hopefully a small aid in your discernment I offer this:

In monasteries of women (and men) where the nuns are bound to sing the Office in choir, there will sometimes exist a branch of women called donatae (sing. donata) who are sisters not bound to the choral office due to some ailment or abnormality. If you do find that you have a legitimate medical problem that would prevent you from breaking your sleep to pray Matins in the middle of the night, then let the vocation directress know and she will let you know if you can either be dispensed from Matins or if necessary allow you to become a donata (or something similar) and by virtue of the form be dispensed from certain Hours altogether.

I only know of one monastery of women that have donatae (I believe they have two now if not one) and that’s the Norbertine Canonesses in Tehachapi California. So for women with disabilities, there is still hope, and if the Norbertine Nuns make exceptions, I’m sure others do as well!

In addition to a full physical, since you’re single and considering becoming a nun, I’m going to guess it’s quite safe to assume you don’t have a partner in your bed.

You could easily have sleep apnea. Where you hold your breath, or your airway obstructed, and stop breathing for extended periods of time. You would never know without a person telling you that you’re not breathing at night. You do not have to be a big time snoring person for this either.

Ask your doctor for a sleep study as well as a complete physical. They won’t necessarily go there.

If you have apnea, gettingit treated will save your life, as well as fix this problem within a matter of days.

And of course as othes have said, get a complete work up otherwise. It’s not really normal to need that much sleep plus naps. Something is wrong. Don’t let your doctors treat it as if it’s not serious.

Many prayers for you!

Just to correct, when I say “fix this problem”, I don’t mean cured. I mean that with appropriate and perhaps constant treatment (cpap machines while sleeping) you will feel rested in a matter of days.

Thanks to everyone for your answers. I actually have iron defficiency, and I looked after it. But I still need a great deal of sleep.
I have considered becoming a “lay sister” or something of the sort so that I may have a less tough timetable, or an oblate (with the full religious habit)

No doctor thinks it’s a problem needing between 9 and 10 hours sleep. I just must put up with it and it might be a sign that I have no vocation. I’m drawn to apostolic life though.

What happens when you don’t get 8 hours of sleep? If it’s irritability or slugishness your in good company. I don’t say that sarcasticly. I have felt as you do but eventually realized this is part of life for many. We must carry our cross and sometimes stand bleary eyed in the face of all challenges.

Have you also looked into autoimmune with regard to thyroid? Most drs. won’t test for it.

It’s not normal to feel exhausted after 9 or 10 hours.

Push for more answers.

I get very grumpy and in a bad mood and always feel tired when I don’t get enough sleep. the thing is I keep waking up in the night.
I’m presently writing a diary with my hours’ sleep in it and I might show it to the doctor in 3 weeks time.

I keep feeling I might never be a good wife neither a good nun if it carries on like this.

St. Joseph got most of his important messages in his sleep. :smiley:

lots of people feel like you do, always tired. This does not make you a lesser person, just a tired one. Let the doctor advise. God bless.

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