“Sleep is for wimps.”
“You have a long time to sleep when you’re dead.”
“What’s more important: giving in, or getting things done?”
I admit it: I’ve said all these things in reference to sleep. My own sleep habits have been terrible since birth. My mother says it’s a miracle she didn’t simply smother me to keep me from crying in the crib–she doesn’t think she slept for more than four hours at a time for the first two years of my life. (My mother, on the other hand, could be a professional sleeper, and takes great joy in a good night’s rest or a two-hour nap.)
At MSMS, of course, despite my efforts at levity, sleep deprivation is no laughing matter. Students regularly burn the candle at both ends in their efforts to earn the scores they want in classes, participate in extra-curricular activities, and maintain something of a social life. I’m not sure how to measure the cost to their physical health and mental well-being. However, I recently dipped into the subject of sleep studies and found evidence that the price is high.
Sleep scientists have for years advocated starting school later in the day to accommodate the hormonal changes in teens’ bodies. That may work well for teens; it may not work so well for the adults charged with educating them. It may also be appropriate to rethink the “school-life” balance. Is it possible to have students do less and achieve more?