Every week, I write a short blurb about teaching and learning for my school’s parent newsletter. They’re supposed to be brief, punchy, and informative. I’ve decided to post old ones on this site from time to time so that teachers and leaders can steal them to use in their own newsletters. I hope doing so saves you time.
– Dr. G
School’s Too Important to Sleep Through
We know that many of the highest paying, most fulfilling jobs require graduates who are skilled at reading, writing, and solving problems. This is one of the many reasons we take academics so seriously here at _________. Previously in this space, I’ve discussed the myth around Google as a replacement for teacher-led instruction. This week, I’d like to talk about sleep.
It’s long been known that teenagers in the U.S. do not always get enough sleep. This is a huge problem that has only worsened now that kids are able to bring cellphones with them to bed. Scientists have found that a lack of sleep leads to poorer performance on activities related to school. Sleep-deprived children tend to get angry quicker, pay attention less, and tend to be more anxious and depressed. While most young people would prefer to stay up late if given the choice, this is not in their best interests. They need a full night’s sleep.
Many students tell me that they have a bedtime, and that their parents hold them to it every night. Starting up a bedtime after your child has gotten used to not having one might be a struggle in the short term, but it pays off in the long run. I suggest having a family conversation about the benefits of sleep for healthy living, and negotiating a bedtime routine that will allow them to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. This routine should include the rule that their cell phone charges in a separate part of the house, away from earshot. By keeping bedtime sacred, and removing the temptation to check their phones, we give our students the gift of some much-needed shut-eye.