Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

Dear Academy Families,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had restful, fun holiday breaks…it certainly felt like a long one!

Speaking of rest, in the latest issue of Independent School magazine (Winter 2013), published by the National Association of Independent School (NAIS), there is a telling piece by Peter Wells and Rosemary Baggish on the sleep habits of teenagers. We all certainly know our students stay up too late doing homework, but does that really pay off? Research now shows that not only does academic functioning decrease due to lack of a full night’s sleep, but such tiredness will also contribute to a teenager’s bad moods.

Some stats from the article:

Of 15,260 independent school students surveyed, only 8.3% said they got more than eight hours of sleep the night before, with 9.9% saying they got less than five hours! Even for the more modest goal of seven hours of sleep, only 64.2% claimed that minimal amount.

As far as bad moods, here is a percentage breakdown of those reporting how they felt with “less/more” than seven hours of sleep:

Felt sick: 27/16
Felt nervous/worried: 48/33
Felt tired: 66/45
Sick before test: 22/12
On top of my work: 53/69
Hard finishing work: 61/43

Clearly, getting more sleep would help a student not only to feel better, but also to do better! Now how can we make that additional sleep more likely to happen? Talking with students about time management is one place to start, which we do at the Academy…is homework efficiently done, or do interruptions like IM’ing and social distractions make the night longer than need be? If this is the case, you can feel free to use my name to say, “Mr. Berkman says you need to get more rest!” But don’t count on that working, either…

Warm regards,
James S. Berkman
Head of School

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