My three children fight for their sleep. They refuse to climb out of bed and search for pants, socks and uniform shirts, to put their lunches in their backpacks, to pack a book for the 45-minute bus ride. They are not sick, but they are tired. Tired of this routine, as thousands of children — and their parents — in the Boston public school system are.
“Here’s the problem with denying children the sleep they need: They don’t learn as well when they are tired. Grades are not the only thing to suffer — students experience anxiety, depression, poor concentration and behavioral problems. What’s more, the latest research on teenagers’ sleep patterns suggests that, as puberty begins, their circadian rhythms shift to a “sleep phase delay,” which means they naturally fall asleep as late as 10:00 and 11:00 at night, even as their need for up to nine hours of sleep remains the same.”