Posted by inkstainedhands in , , , ,

I just read an interesting article in the Jewish Press by Blimi Westreich on sleep deprivation and whether or not waking up early makes one more productive. You can read the full article online. Basically, she uses surveys, expert sources (such as researchers and neurosurgeons) to say that teenagers are less likely to do well in school early in the mornings and cannot reach their potential in morning classes because "teens don't reach their full level of alertness until the afternoon." There has been a movement to make school begin later in the day and the schools that have implemented this have announced good results, including higher attendance, better grades, lower drop-out rates, and fewer cases of depression. Students were happy that they did not have to wake up as early, parents were happy that their teenagers became at least slightly less irritable, and teachers were happy because students were no longer as likely to fall asleep in their classes and showed up alert to first-period classes.

While I cannot verify this information and don't know if it is fully accurate or not, it does make a lot of sense. I used to have to wake up at 7:30 AM every morning to go to school. That actually isn't so bad compared to what some of my friends had to do in order to commute to school, but for me it was very unpleasant nevertheless. I am the type of person who enjoys learning and therefore doesn't mind spending long hours in school (my high school hours were from 8:30 AM to 5:05 PM), but I must admit that waking up early made me pretty miserable and irritable.

When I got to college and had the ability to set my own hours and decide when I want to start classes every day, you can be sure that I opted for the later classes. During my first semester, I started classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 AM (waking up at 8:15) and on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:55 AM (waking up at 9:45). Although I was not waking up that much later than I had in high school, it did make somewhat of a difference, as did starting classes later. Once I wake up I have more time to orient myself and get myself together. I have time for tea and breakfast and I can have a nice morning chat with my mom before going off to college. I then have a 40-minute ride on the train during which I can either nap or do whatever work I had not yet finished (usually reading assignments). I also take a 15-minute walk from the train to college, and by the time that is all over, I am pretty awake and alert and able to learn during my first class. Contrast that to high school, when I would pull myself out of bed, rush through my morning routine, skip breakfast, and hurry out of the house so I could be in school by 8:30. Sure, I could have woken up earlier for high school to give myself time for breakfast and everything else, but it just didn't seem worth it.

I am not getting more sleep now that I am in college than when I was in high school. If anything, I am getting less. But I feel more energetic overall and am more alert in class, so I definitely think there is something to the idea. Anyway, it was just something interesting I read that I wanted to share with others. :]

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 25, 2010 at Saturday, December 25, 2010 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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