3rd article review due 3/19

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"When Worlds Collide: Adolescent Needs for Sleep Versus Societal Demands" is the title of the article I read from the January 1999 issue of our alternative journal, Phi Delta Kappan. Mary A. Carsksdon, the author, studied the effects of school start times on adolescents' need for sleep. She talked about all of the outside factors that influence an adolescent's sleep patterns such as: employment, parental involvement, increased social opportunities and academic demands.(p. 349) I wonder if anyone has done a similar study, comparing sleep patterns and adolescents in the 1950's or 1960's and come up with similar results. My opinion is that thirty or forty years ago there was not such a pronounced effect on as great a number of adolescents as there is now. Ms. Carsksdon found that it didn't matter all that much as to how early or how late the school start time was. There was always a time during the school day in which students (and staff!) were less alert. This time was dependent upon the individual's sleep pattern and other influencing environmental factors. Consequently, students and staff were tired at differing times throughout the day. The older adolescents seemed to be affected more because they tend to go to sleep later than their younger counterparts, but yet need similar amounts of sleep. The author's findings proved that a student's performance in school is definitely affected by his/her sleep patterns, i.e., how much and between what hours sleep occurred. "Interestingly, students do know they are sleepy, but they do not have skills to cope with the issue, and many assume-just as adults do-that they are expected to function with an inadequate amount of sleep." (p. 352) What a sad statement on our society, but unfortunately, I've fallen into that trap myself. I'm finding that happening way too often this year. Trying to take these grad classes, teach full time (and keep up with that paper work too), be a wife and a mother to three daughters has left me lacking in the sleep category far too many times than I care to count! Yes, it is true that I have chosen to be in the situation that I am, but it gets a bit overwhelming at times! I do believe that a lot of every day misunderstandings or little conflicts would be almost nonexistent if everyone did get a good night's sleep every night. I think that people's outlooks on life would change a bit. Stress levels would decrease and there would be far less crabby people walking around. Wouldn't it be a more wonderful place if everyone did get enough sleep every night?!

-- Anonymous, March 12, 1999


Sorry - I typed in the wrong date on my "title" as to when this one was due. It should've been 2/15. Sue J.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 1999

It would be interesting to compare past sleep patterns to today's. Maybe there is a connection to the supposed decline in education test scores. Is it possible that with all the choices and options that are available today that many students and adults are overextending themselves? I know that in the course of the day I have students who have not had enough sleep (I know because I ask the sleepyheads) but I do not know if there are more or less than there were 10/20 years ago. I agree with the author that it does not matter what time the school day starts. A later time means that a student will feel that he can stay up later, I know because even to this day I do this.

-- Anonymous, March 21, 1999

Hi Susan: You pose some interesting thoughts but le me add this question into the mix and see if we can expand the discussion. Does our technology driven culture force us to think we need to do more? If this is the case, we may need to actually force ourselves to slow down. Do you think there is any merit to school day nap times for everyone? Or is this even an option to consider? What are your thoughts? Please e-mail me. Thanks! John

-- Anonymous, March 26, 1999

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