Sleepy college students

March 11, 2007

asleep.jpg

I have a handful of students in my 9 am music theory class that can not haul their asses out of bed to make it to class on time. I have been assured it is a “sleep issue” and not boring lectures that is the problem.

I remember seeing a documentary on our need for sleep and how it is different at different stages in our lives. I found a very helpful article on college students’ need for sleep on Stanford University’s website.

I have always been an early riser and a nap taker. Not through any practice or moral superiority, that’s just what my body wants. My parents are the same way. The tendency to get up early or late is likely genetic. Regardless of whether it is or not, young people getting ready to exist in the post-parental world have to learn how to get up on time to be at work or at school. If they are having difficulty getting up in the morning, they should go to bed earlier–as “uncool” as that may seem.
Faculty, as designers of their curricula, should be aware of these very real limitations of our students. We cannot expect them to stay in school all day long, barely having time to eat meals, and their evenings are filled with homework and late night activities – curricular or not. Staying up late is common for college students and ultimately very unhealthy. I doubt that dorm overseers can really enforce a go-to-bed-early policy. And although I feel strongly that universities and colleges must educate their students about the benefits of sleep, students need to buy into those benefits themselves.

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