Sleeping is my favorite activity. It is ridiculously fun. Young people love to sleep too. Since we both love to sleep, I can safely assume I’m still extremely hip and down with the latest trends. Never mind that I’m tempted to attend the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees concerts this summer. Never mind that just looking at energy drinks gives me heart palpitations. Never mind that neon colored clothing makes me want to have a heated discussion with the fashion gurus who seem not to care if their neon choices make my eyes bleed. And certainly never mind that I’m just now watching Harlem Shake videos on YouTube. Forget all of that. Because I love sleeping, and that makes me uber cool. Just ask the kids.
Now that we’ve established how current I am, back to the topic at hand. Sleeping. It’s the best, and I do it really well. So well in fact, I’ve required five to seven alarms on any given day. So well that I’ve slept through a hurricane that thoughtfully deposited a tree on the roof of my bedroom. So well, that I may or may not have overslept on occasion. I would apologize for it, but sleeping is just, so, good. I’ve tried to explain to people what a deep sleeper I am, but they don’t seem to understand. They exclaim, “Just get up when you hear the alarm!” What newbs. They have no idea.
Recently though, my life changed. All it took was one phone app: Sleep Cycle. This thing is amazing. I now use one alarm, and it works every single time. Before laying my head upon my insanely soft pillow, I set the Sleep Cycle alarm for a 30 minute window. For example, if I need to be awake by 7:00 AM, I set the alarm for 6:30-7:00 AM. And the app knows when I am most awake during that 30 minute window, and sounds the alarm at that time. When I awake I am more rested because I’m not jolted from deep sleep and magical dreams. In my former sleep life, morning jolts led me down a very cranky path at least three mornings a week. Now, I wake up happy, and if not rested, at least with statistical proof that I slept poorly. Sleep statistics are enough to make anybody smile. If that doesn’t sound exciting, I beg of you to take a look at the graph to the right. I don’t care how much you try to deny it, this is very, very cool. (Or "kewl" as the kids might say.)
I say all of this because, on top of being an absolute blast, sleep is absolutely vital to our health, and to the health of our students. A recent study found that sleep-deprived teens cause car crashes. Another study found that sleepy student athletes are more prone to injury. Increasing sleep is obviously something that needs to be addressed with teens, and not just on the weekends. But when students just can’t (or won’t) get more sleep, at least we can let them know they’re not alone, and there are tools that can make the wake up process more pleasant. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll be more pleasant throughout the day too! If it worked for me, I suggest it’ll work for just about anyone.