Friday, June 22, 2007

The Brain, Part 3: The Adolescent Brain On Sleep Deprivation

One more relevant part of the teenage brain article from Discover magazine's The Brain: An Owner's Manual discusses the issue of teenagers' sleeping patterns and how it can affect their education. By the way, guess what: They're right and their parents are wrong. Whoops!
In addition to all the pressures and temptations facing adolescents, the typical teenager is sleep deprived — the key to why they suddenly become hard-to-revive morning slackers. Melatonin, the brain chemical that promotes sleep, is released an hour later at puberty, turning teens into night owls. Yet many high schools start at 7 a.m. The resulting fatigue, says Mary Carskadon, an adolescent-sleep expert at Brown University, may contribute to adolescents' famous penchant for moodiness and could interfere with learning. "Sleep deprivation," says Carskadon, "could mean the difference of a grade or two, or affect the agility at learning a new piano piece or any number of other skills."
This is interesting because research has shown that we're specifically fuxxoring our children when it comes to the most important thing in their lives, (whether or not they actually feel this way at the time), learning. But why should we care about that, as long as we're able to work their education around our schedules, dropping them off before work and picking them up after, right?

Also, who is an expert at adolescent-sleep? How would you like to have that as your official title? "I'm an Adolescent Sleep Expert." Specialize to minute enough detail?

(Apologies to Kathleen McAuliffe and Discover magazine. This is the last excerpt from this article I'm going to post. There's more to be said in the article, and not all of it is so negative. You'll just have to buy the magazine to find out.)

np: Scorpions - "Hour 1"


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