Does the Proverbs 31 Woman Ever Sleep?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Haunted by exhaustion and the need for sleep most of the years of my motherhood, I was sometimes discouraged by the Proverbs 31 woman.  I would find myself trying to live up to her standards and failing, especially when it came to sleep. One verse in particular made me feel like a real loser: verse 18: “…her lamp does not go out at night.” (NIV)

On November 14th, 2015, I was reading Proverbs 31 again.  When I came to verse 18, I stopped and talked to the Lord about it. “Do you really expect me to get so little sleep? Five or six hours each night just isn’t enough for me.”

The answer hit me immediately.

All he did was repeat verse 18 directly into my spirit. “Her lamp does not go out at night.” 

The way he said it brought immediate understanding to my mind.

Ah, the lamp.

The lamp depends on oil to burn.

Oil is the Holy Spirit (Exodus 29:7).

Oil is also gladness and joy (Hebrews 1:9).

Night.  It’s a dark or hard time in life.

Finally, this verse took on new meaning for me and brought me freedom.

What does it look like for us to be a Proverbs 31:18 woman?

It looks like we’re available & prepared in the night of life.

It looks like we are joyful and hopeful in the night of life.

It looks like we are anointed, appointed by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the Proverbs 31 woman of the family we’ve been given, even in the dark night of life.

It looks like we carry Light in the night of life.

God’s not asking us to work our fingers to the bone and live a sleep-deprived life.

As usual, God’s asking us to draw close to him, so he can fill us, so our oil will not run out when the night of life comes.

I should have known.  It’s so like him.


Lord, we desire to be women of noble character.  Thank you that the root of such a trait is attainable and life-giving.  All we have to do is simply draw near to you.  As we draw near to you now, please fill us up for the rest of this day.  Anoint us, appoint us, empower us to bring good and not harm, to work with eager hands, to provide, trade profitably, be hospitable, prepared, fearless, to make coverings and be clothed, joyful, wise, and watchful.  With much appreciation, relief and expectation for the rest of this day, we thank you.

A word cloud

Featured image is a photo by Jackman Chiu on Unsplash.


  • Kim

    Love this Amy!! Good stuff. Thank you for shedding light on this verse because I have struggled with it as well.

  • Amy

    Yes! So good. I just did a google search “does the Proverbs 31 woman sleep?” and this came up. I know God is a good father and values self-care (hello, sabbath!), so I needed help reconciling the lamp not going out AND rising while it’s still dark. This perspective is helpful. Thank you, Amy!

    • Amy Burgin

      You just made my day and maybe my whole year Amy! Thank you SO much for sharing! Jesus, we want to keep oil in our lamps! Let their be oil in our lamps! Let the fire not go out!

  • Anonymous

    Wow! This make so much sense. I was just reading Proverbs 31 and thinking the same thing for the umpteeth time. I need sleep.
    I googled “When does the virtuous woman ever sleep”. Your post came up.
    I am thanking God for providing me with this clarification.
    Phew! Maybe I can be a virtuous woman after all ❤️🙏💪
    Thank you!

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