Sunday, May 16, 2004

The importance of sleep

Local schools (and some universities) should research the effects of starting classes at the crack of dawn.

Research confirms real benefits not only at Edina but also at many other high schools that have made similar scheduling switches, says Kyla Wahlstrom, an education policy expert at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Grades have gone up, and dropout rates have declined. The results are impressive enough that other school systems have started to take notice. In Poquoson, Va., the school board has held public hearings over the past few months to consider making the first bell later. "We do believe our children aren't getting as much sleep as they ought to," says Jonathan Lewis, superintendent of schools in Poquoson. "We have children getting up at 5:30, quarter of 6 in the morning."

But what is it about getting more sleep that's actually helping students do better? Is it just that sleepy kids can't concentrate in class because they're dozing off over their books, or does something happen in dreamland that affects the brain's ability to learn and remember?

[I don't remember how I found this story...I was too tired at the time]