Principal's Pride Page
Keeping you Informed
If you looked at the subject of this week's newsletter, it might seem odd that I'm going to focus on sleep or, more specifically, the lack thereof. However, we educators pride ourselves on a commitment to the overall health, well being, and success of students. I make no exaggeration when I state that getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important factors in school success.
One of the most practical questions to ask with regard to sleep is how much should we be getting? Last summer, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued new sleep guidelines. They basically stated that, though it differs by individual, we need as much sleep as it takes for us to stay awake and alert the next day without the assistance of caffeine. For a high school student, this means around 7-9 hours. They also state that it's completely natural to wake up during the night, provided you can fall back asleep.
Having said this, most people don't function well with fewer than seven hours of sleep, and getting less than this amount can harm your health. Over time, a lack of sleep has been a contributing factor to such maladies as depression, heart disease, lowered immunity, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
The problem is that, though we understand the importance of sleep, many of us are sleeping less than ever before.
Believe it or not, Americans are working longer than ever before (or at least since the recording of work habits). According to an August 2015 Gallup Poll, the average American works 44 hours per week, which is the longest work week in the history of Gallup surveys. If that isn't shocking enough, a record 17% of adults in the U.S. are spending 60 or more hours per week at work which, invariably, leaves less time for sleep.
Modern habits brought about by increased technology also interrupt and deprive us of sleep. Many people of all ages are staying up late at night to find entertainment from and on electronic devices. Though down time is important, one unintended side effect is that, according to new research, the amount and type of light emitted from such devices may interfere with the body's production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping to regulate sleep.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Here are some tips from the experts:
1. Keep your body's wake-sleep cycle predictable by getting up at the same time (even on weekends).
2. Get as much sun in the morning as you can, as this helps set your body's 24-hour clock.
3. Regular exercise encourages sleep, provided you don't do it close to bedtime.
4. Try not to have any caffeine for at least six hours before bed.
5. If possible, shut down electronic devices two hours before your bedtime. If this isn't possible, at least dim the light from the device.
6. Power down your brain by reading a physical book (not from a lit screen), listening to relaxing music, or drinking a warm, non-caffeinated drink (like milk).
7. Face the numbers of your alarm clock away from where you can see them easily.
8. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep within 20 minutes, head to a different room and try to do something relaxing (see #6). When you start feeling sleepy, head back to bed.
I certainly hope these tips help both you and your child. As always, thank you for your continued dedication to the success of our school...and sleep well!
Mark Your Calendars
- 1/13: Service Learning Fair, HS Cafe, 6-7 PM
- 1/13: Board of Education Meeting, HS Aud Lobby, 7 PM