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If We Snooze, Do We Really Lose?

According to If We Snooze, Do We Really Lose, I apparently had an old fashioned childhood. Throughout elementary school and middle school, I rarely stayed up past 10:00 on school nights. I had to go to daycare on weekday mornings, so I had to adjust to my parent’s schedule of leaving the house by 7:30. It wasn’t until high school where my sleep habits would drastically change. By the end of my senior year last year, I would nap religiously after school for two or three hours, then stay up until 2 or 3 o’clock. In addition, I had this stupid policy were I would never do homework before 9:00 and always quit before midnight. In the mornings I would get up around a quarter to seven to go to school and be fairly tired but conscious during the day. To sum up my sleeping habits, if I needed to sleep, whether it be in class, after school or driving (just kidding), I would sleep and make the best of what I got. I know it’s the same way with other people, but if I sleep for over 9 or 10 hours in one night, I would be tired and worthless for the rest of the day. I don’t know if there is any scientific explanation for this, but I suppose the body goes through different cycles and 10+ hour’s means you’re going into another one.
For me, I don’t really think that school had anything to do with staying up late daily. Sure, every now and then I would do homework until late, but if you are good at managing your time, homework can get done rather quickly. I believe that the dominant factor in lack of sleep was television. Our house finally got cable, or dish, last fall and that was probably the more exciting that Christmas. We had so many channels that I could never stay on one channel because I was going to miss something on another.
In the article, Dr. Avi Sadeh tests the affects of lack of sleep on young students and concludes that the loss of sleep on a person is equivalent to two years of education. The overwhelming evidence against night-owls raises a few questions of mine. If the students were in a normal sleeping cycle, would they go to sleep before the suggested time for the study? And how would this affect they scores they got on their tests? Kids have a general idea of the homework schedule or the other things that need to get done, and those who are more motivated will do them. I assume that younger children are less apt to stay up later doing homework or other activities, so if they needed the good sleep what could be stopping them?
There are many factors that determine the amount of sleep a person will get, mainly activities that people are involved in that consume time. I can see how someone can be busy with school, sports, religion or work, but this doesn’t justify staying up late. There are too many things for a person to waste their time on like watching TV or videogames or the computer, and the time spent on these activities is taking away from what needs to get done. Time management comes into play here; if you are good at spending your time wisely on the necessities of life, then you should have no trouble with losing sleep. I guess we could blame the media or parents for youth “insomnia?, but the only person who has control is the child. I can’t see a parent forcing their child to devote all of their time to a sport or make them watch TV. Now someone could complain saying those children’s minds and bodies are developing and they aren’t able to be self reliant yet, but that is beside the point.
What I got from If We Snooze, Do We Really Lose, is that there are many correlations between lack of sleep and decreased productivity. Steps have been made to give students more time in their day to sleep, by example starting school later. If I had the prospect of going to school an hour later, I would still get the same amount of sleep because I would stay up later. One thing I was expecting to read in this article was something regarding diet. Surely the fact that students are consuming more caffeine and calorie dense foods play a factor in the amount of sleep. I, for example, am an avid supporter of Cherry Coke and Mountain Dew, and chugging one or two of those before bed probably affect my sleeping habit. I guess the solution to the problem is going to be pretty generic: manage time wisely, do your homework early, don’t watch too much TV, don’t have a Myspace, watch your diet, exercise…
Now that I have come to college, my habits of sleeping have gotten a little more reasonable. Besides staying out late on Thursday nights, I am usually in bed by 12:30 and in a solid sleep until around 7:30. Some days I need to power nap between classes, but overall I am not extremely tired. Its kind of funny, I was taking after supper today and totally forgot about to finish this position paper, evidence that the studies are valid?

Comments

I do agree with you about the time management. If we just sat down and actualy did our homework before we did somting else we probably would be better off. For myself I would go to class and after school I would spend 2-3 hours in the gym or at practice. When I would come home from that I would be so physacly exasted I would crash on the couch and take a hour nap by that time I would not be able to even look at my homework till 9:00. This is a challenge for athletes in all areas even in the college realm. Theyt miss class because they travel so much it is hard to find time to get their work done and sleep. Even worse people with jobs to pay for school. Most people can't get ahead in the world without a college degree and most people cant afford it. They might be working two jobs or they might have kids that take time from their schedual. No matter what the distration you must learn to use your time wisley.

Hi,

You should have a look at power naps. They provide more benefits as the 2 or 3 hour nap you used to take in only 20 minutes. In particular you never feel groggy after taking one.