ArticleDownload Worksheet September 5th, 2012
Test Tomorrow? Get Your Sleep
While increased study time unquestionably helps get better grades, when it comes at the expense of sleep it may be better to hit the pillow than to hit the books.
A new study published in the Journal of Child Development challenges the old adage that the more you study, the better your grades. When sleeping is added into the equation it becomes an important indicator of how well students perform in school the following day.
The study found that 10th and 12th graders who studied more than average on a given night experienced more academic problems at school the next day. The study was longitudinal, which means that it followed students through time from the 9th to 10th and 12th grades, asking them to record the number of hours spent studying and sleeping each night for two week periods. The results indicated that students learn best when distributing study time evenly over the course of a few days.
The importance of sleep for teens
After a bad bout of sleep, students are often groggy the following day, making them less responsive in the classroom.
“Lots of things happen during sleep,” Helene Emsellem, director of The Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md. told NPR.
“We don’t just physically restore ourselves. We also process all the information we’ve gathered during the day. We take the information and organize it and make all the connections,” Emsellem explains. Without adequate sleep, students do not learn as well.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 60 percent of high school students are sleep-deprived. Teens require at least 9 hours of sleep each night but rarely get it. With homework, after school activities, jobs and social events, getting enough sleep is no easy feat.
Teens’ biological clocks are also working against them. Naturally, teens find it difficult to fall asleep before 11 p.m. and wake up before 8 a.m. Many high schools start before 8 in order to free up buses for transporting middle school students.
However, a recent study by a private Rhode Island school showed that there may be benefits to later start times, especially for high-schoolers. The study found that moving start times from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. increased the number of students getting 8 hours of sleep from 16 percent to 55 percent. This also coincided with improved attendance, fewer visits to the school clinic and improved moods of students.
Are teens staying up later?
In addition to teens’ natural sleep rhythms, there may be other factors causing students to stay up late at night.
A Drexel University study concluded that an increase in caffeine from energy drinks and sodas is the culprit in keeping students up late.
And while another study from the University of Michigan showed that homework loads have increased by over 50 percent since 1980, Drexel found that teens are not necessarily spending these extra hours studying, but rather surfing the web, text messaging and gaming.
Tips to get more sleep
Amy Wolfson, a professor of psychology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. gave some tips to NPR on how to combat the perils of cramming for tests at the expense of sleep:
- Keep a regular sleep-wake schedule. A fluctuating schedule by more than 60 to 90 minutes, even on weekends, can have negative consequences on a student’s mood, health and academic performance.
- Aim for 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night.
- Keep a regular study schedule. Late night studying can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Move tech items such as cell phones and computers out of your bedroom. These can affect the ability to fall asleep and can wake you during the night.
- Cut out caffeine from your diet, especially 3 to 5 hours before bedtime.
–Compiled by Jessica Fink for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Obama passes baton to Clinton at DNC
The Democratic National Convention wrapped up its third day on Wednesday in Philadelphia with speeches by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Continue readingBarack ObamaDemocratic National ConventionDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonJoe BidenMichael BloombergMichelle Obama
Young people do care about being part of the democratic process
On July 15, I joined hundreds of supporters, members of Congress and vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to see Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton speak at a rally in Northern Virginia. Continue readingCivicsElection 2016Hillary ClintonPoliticsSocial StudiesStudent Voices
10 things to know about the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will not be the only exciting event to watch this summer — the Democratic and Republican National Conventions will also be televised.Democratic National ConventionElection 2016presidential nominationrepublican national convention
Calls for unity are met with protest on first day of Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention began on Monday amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and calls for unity to back Hillary Clinton. Continue readingBernie SandersDebbie Wasserman ShultzDemocratic National ConventionDemocratic PartyDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonWikileaks
Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight
While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. Continue readingDemocratic PartyElection 2016feminismFirst LadyHillary ClintonSecretary of State