How much do nuns sleep? (what time do nuns go to bed?)

Back in theology school, I was intrigued by nuns when I heard that nuns wake up at 12.30 am in some monasteries. Since I was curious to find out how many hours they slept, I decided to conduct more research. I visited a Catholic church to learn more about this and interacted with many nuns. Last Wednesday, on my online Christian forum, we discussed the schedule of nuns, and someone asked when they ever go to sleep. This discussion stemmed from our previous discussion about cloistered nuns and their schedules. Having done in-depth research on this, I had all the right answers. So, how much do nuns sleep?

The sleep routines of nuns vary based on the monastery. While some sleep for 6-8 hours, others sleep for only 3-4 hours. What they have in common is their nighttime activities, including praying and bible studies.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we look at how much nuns sleep. Keep reading to find out what nuns do at night, what time they go to bed, when they wake up, and much more!

What do nuns do at night?

When the night approaches, most nuns first have an early dinner. They then maintain silence so that those who wish to read or pray do so without feeling disturbed. Nuns participate in a night prayer called Compline, sung in English. After prayers, some nuns meditate while others go to bed. Some nuns also engage in other activities, such as Bible study at night, while others engage in their hobbies, such as painting.

What time do nuns go to bed at night, and what time do they wake up?

what time do nuns go to bed?
What time do nuns go to bed at night? Image source: Freepik

The time that nuns go to bed varies based on the monastery. While some nuns go to bed between 9 and 10 pm, some monasteries have light outs at 11.00 pm. Such monasteries give nuns more time to engage in activities like prayer or creative arts.

The waking-up time also varies based on the monastery. For instance, some nuns must be up by 5.00 am while others wake up as early as 12.30 am. The first thing nuns do when they wake up is prepare for morning prayers.

Where do nuns sleep?

In some religious orders, nuns sleep in monastic cells. This is a devotional space with a few furnishings, including a bed and desk. In some orders, the Monastic cell looks like a small house and features a separate garden.

However, in other orders like Trappists, nuns have no monastic cells. They sleep in a large room referred to as a dormitory. This means that they do not sleep separately. Sleeping in one large room gives them a chance to interact more when they are less busy.

Do nuns wear their habits when they go to sleep?

How much do nuns sleep? 
Do nuns wear their habits when they go to sleep? Image source: Freepik

No. Habits are mostly worn during the daytime when in public. Since nuns don’t have specific rules regarding what to wear to bed, most nuns wear what feels comfortable, like nightgowns. However, when choosing what to wear to bed, nuns always observe decency. Additionally, nuns do not take off their habits until it is time for them to sleep since they are not allowed to show off too much skin.

Why do nuns only sleep for a few hours?

While some nuns sleep for 6-8 hours, some, especially cloistered nuns, sleep for 3-4 hours a night. Cloistered nuns that sleep for very few hours believe that they should spend more time in silent contemplation and prayer rather than in other activities like sleeping. They sacrifice a lot, including too much sleep, to avoid getting distracted from their calling. Despite their beliefs, nuns are humans just like the rest of us and therefore need adequate sleep to be both mentally and physically healthy.

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