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Student Sleep Debt

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

Students do not get enough sleep.


And it’s because many believe that sleeping enough means they lose out, or worse, fail. As a HuffPost article puts it, “instead of letting our grades slip for a good night’s rest, we get three shots of espresso instead of two the next morning and are dragged to class, addicted to our coffee cups.”


The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:


· Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

· Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

· Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

· Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

· School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours

· Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours

· Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

· Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

· Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours


Most pediatricians agree the right amount of sleep for teenagers is 9 and ¼ hours. Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins also support this finding stating that most research studies find that teenagers need between 9 and 10 hours.


However, the average teenager is getting less than 7, and honors students may be getting less as they balance multiple commitments and demanding exam schedules. College and grad students sleep even less hours per night, and are more likely to inconsistently get regular sleep.


We know that it’s difficult to put into practice but reality does not allow us to power down electronics or skip or delay studying for exams in favor of more sleep.


To support a healthy sleep schedule,

· Students should try to go to bed at the same time every night and avoid sleeping in on the weekends as catching up on sleep during the weekends might make it difficult to wake up on Mondays.


· Naps are beneficial and even short ones help creativity and restoration.


· Screens should be powered down two or three hours before bed if possible.


· Avoid caffeine after sundown.


Do you have any success stories with managing your student sleep debt? Share it with us!

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