Question of the Week

September 2, 2002


Welcome back to school, alarm clocks, and yawning until lunch.

"Until recently, teens were often given a bad rap for tendencies like staying up late, oversleeping for school, and falling asleep in class. Thanks to several new studies of teens and their sleeping habits, however, adults are beginning to understand - and sympathize with - these patterns."

When was the last time you woke up for work or school before your alarm clock because you were so well rested that you just didn't need any more sleep? How often do you beg your alarm clock, or the person who wakes you up, for just five more minutes?

"A component of the National Institutes of Health, the NLHBI is launching a five-year educational initiative to promote healthy children's sleep habits. The effort, co-sponsored by Garfield creator Jim Davis' PAWS Inc. studio, will target parents, teachers and health care providers.... The campaign's theme is 'Sleep Well, Do Well,' and the goal is to encourage at least nine hours of restful sleep each night. 'The message is that getting enough sleep each night will help you do your best in whatever you do,' said Hunt. 'This speaks to (a child's) need for achievement -- in school, in sports, in whatever is important to them.'"

Irritability, tiredness during the day, inability to focus, and impaired driving are just a few of the results of not getting enough sleep.

"No sane observer could defend the hours doctors in training used to work. Routine 36-hour shifts and 120-hour workweeks left many weary to the point of hallucination during their training, and embittered for a long time afterward by the pointless misery of the system. A slow reform movement culminated in last week's decision by the nation's accrediting agency for hospital training programs to enforce limits on residents' working hours. Still, the tactic of releasing new shifts of residents onto hospital wards every 8 or 12 hours comes with its own problems."

Few would argue against the notion that people function better when they have had enough sleep. It all comes down to scheduling and priorities; what needs to move down the priority list if sleep moves up? Are you too busy to sleep or too busy not to sleep and let you body catch up?

Question of the Week:
What are some suggestions for helping busy kids, teens, and teachers balance their hectic lives with their need to sleep? How can they do all they need to do and still be in a frame of mind to enjoy it and do well?

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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