March 31, 2023
Melissa: Thank you for sharing this story from your class, which is a reality for so many educators and families in our economy. Sleep has insidious, but major impact- it feels like an « elephant in the room », so obvious, simple, free solution to improving learning. Yet, it is rarely discussed. In California, we had a change in legislation last summer that has been quite positive pushing start times for teenagers (middle school and high school), although this makes it complicated for some working parents to drop off children as a result. Out of curiosity, may I ask if your school provides any info to parents on merits of sleep?
Thank you for this post. I teach 5th grade and on Monday afternoon I counted 4 students who were asleep. I could hear the breathing of deep sleep from most of them. The majority of my class goes to bed after midnight and stays up most of the night on the weekends. Part of this is due to the working schedule of parents. Many work second or third shift. The older children watch the younger children and everyone stays up. There are days when my students look as if they are aging. I definitely see the massive impacts on behavior, memory and attention. In my opinion, this is a public health issue that should be addressed as such.
Love the focus on sleep! I just finished the Huberman Lab podcast with guest Satchin Panda, he studies circadian rhythm and does a lot of research with shift workers. He repeatedly mentioned the impact of school assignments for teenagers being due at midnight, and how it normalizes staying up late for kids that still need to be sleeping 9 hrs a day. All the unintended consequences of our societal norms are so intriguing when we are trying to be our healthiest selves!