I think it was high school history. Or maybe junior high English. I don’t exactly recall the specifics but I do remember falling asleep in one of those classes. When I woke up, the next class had settled in around me and the teacher had begun lecturing.
It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. The class seemed as surprised as I was embarrassed when I got up to leave the room. I even had to explain to the teacher I didn’t belong in that class.
I’ve always been a good sleeper, but during my adolescent years I was proficient. I usually slept a good 10 hours at home and would still get drowsy toward the mid-afternoon in junior high, high school and college.
I learned to plan my day such that I would always get enough sleep. After a mandatory 8 a.m. class in my first semester in college, all subsequent “first”classes were scheduled after 10 a.m.
Part of the problem: I was a night person, but this worked for me because I also was a journalist who usually worked the night shift.
Here are some highlights from the study:
- Only one in five adolescents get the optimal amount of sleep of nine hours or more, the study found.
- More than half of all adolescents feel tired or sleepy during the day.
- About one-third of kids feel too tired to exercise at least once a week.
- About 20 percent of adolescents fall asleep in school or while doing homework at least once a week.
- High school students are far more likely to be short on sleep than middle school kids.
The risks of not getting enough sleep include susceptibility to illness, depression, poor learning retention and my personal bugaboo, crankiness.
Not surprisingly, electronic devices are suspected to be a major cause of sleeplessness. Here’s what adolescents have in their rooms:
- 90% | Electronic music device
- 57 | TV
- 43 |Electronic/video games
- 42| Cell phone
- 34 | Land-line telephone
- 28 | Computer
- 21 | Internet access
I could spend days breaking down this study. For example, there seems to be little correlation between obesity and sleep, but youngsters who work clearly are less likely to get enough sleep.
Other quick nuggets:
- Adolescents’ odds of getting A’s in school are slightly better if they get enough sleep.
- Two cups of caffeinated beverages or more increases odds of too little sleep.
- Most parents are unaware of their children’s sleep problems.
- Youngsters with sleeping problems are more likely to be night owls.
Now that I’m in my 40s with young kids, I’m a morning person. I rise between 5 and 6:30 a.m. depending on how many times they wake me up. To be honest, I get through the day much better now than when I was a night person. The only drawback is that as 9 p.m. approaches, I want to get to sleep in the worst way. Now, if I can just get those kids to sleep through the night….