Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sleep and Academic Performance - again

OK - so this is not the most "trendy" subject - sleep and academic performance. It's been around a while in MN. In fact, many high schools here start later now (I started at 7:30) because (most of) the powers-that-be finally recognize that teenagers aren't necessarily lazy, they are just tired from not enough sleep.

M's elementary school starts at 7:40 - which many parents see as great. Since most kids rise early (very early in fact), the 7:40 time seems fine to many. And the stay-at-home types really love all the afternoon time (school is out at 2:00) to run errands (doctor, dentist appoints, etc).

But - and this is a big but - M is not a morning person. In fact, none of the woman in my family are (that includes M, her mother, her maternal grandmother - - and on, and on.) I wonder how much M's academic performance suffers (problems focusing) because she is so damned tired in the AM. Every day, I carry her down stairs (at age 8 - she's the tallest girl in her class, so it's no picnic to carry her up and down stairs. I usually bang her head or gangly legs on some doorknob or wall), plop her on the couch, and coax her to get dressed, eat, and get out the door by 7:20.

All this leads up to this article in Slate:
Not exactly. There is an alternate—and perhaps more compelling—explanation for why breakfast-eaters do relatively well in school while breakfast-skippers may have a tough time: The skippers are also the ones whose bodies rebel against early-morning activity. Their circadian clocks are telling them that it's still nighttime, or they're plain exhausted and need the extra zzz's. Taken together, the scientific literature on breakfast and sleep suggests that making sure kids get enough shut-eye will probably do more for them than dragging them out of bed to eat their Wheaties. Yet the authors of the new review article—like most nutrition researchers—overlook the literature on sleep, which seems to exist in a separate, academic bubble.

1 comment:

amy said...

You can include M's aunty into the category of female relatives not being morning people. Except for the four years of college...for some reason?