The Start Times Advisory Committee surveyed parents, students, and staff about sleep in June. On October 4, the committee presented the results of the survey at a community forum. This slide shows responses to the question: How often do you notice a student falling asleep in class? for the student survey and they asked Do you ever fall asleep in school?
Any time a child is sleeping in class they are not learning. The survey shows that 21% (1 in 5) high school students report falling asleep in class at least once a week. And no wonder: the same survey shows these students report that they’re getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night, well below that their bodies need.
Dr. Judith Owens explained the reason for this problem very clearly in her presentation to the community. The Circadian Nadir occurs in during the night when our sleep drive is still keeping us asleep and our wake drive is not yet helping us to be alert and awake. For adults, this happens at about 4am. For adolescents, it’s 6am – exactly the time when they need to wake up, go to school, and be ready to learn.