Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kids aren't Getting enough Sleep and Morning People Rule the World

Articles peppering me with the theme of kids not getting enough sleep are coming at me from all directions as of late. There is a consensus across the country that kids, especially adolescents, need more snooze time. Anyone who has been a teenager or lived in close proximity to one already knows this sans all of the research and hype. We know it to be true, but continue to schedule school start times that are more suitable for senior citizens than youth citizens. In work, in school, and in fun it seems like you just can't get away from it, morning people rule

I am not a morning person. In fact, I am probably as difficult to rouse now as I ever was when I was a teenager. My father is in his 70s and he is still a night owl with a strong aversion to mornings. It is likely that I am not going to change anytime soon no matter how desperately I would like to re-set my biological clock in order to fit in and be popular with those pesky early risers.

When I see all of this information regarding adolescents and sleep I know that for some of them at least, the inability to retire early and rise early will not change. So, should they just struggle through this stage of their lives tired as hell and try to get used to it, or should the world change and try and give them a break before real life after high school sets in?

Frankly, I can see both sides. Being forced to rise early certainly did not change me into an early riser. As an adult it was the job where I had to arrive at 7:00am each day that I used the most sick days. I didn't come home from that job and get things done either, I came home and slept. Sometimes I tried to go to bed early, nothing helped, I felt sick until my schedule changed. It is the same thing with trying to get up early to exercise, my muscles are so stiff and sore that I need to stretch for at least an hour and ingest a large cup of caffeine before hitting the gym.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that confirmed night owls such as myself certainly don't get much respect. If I over sleep it is usually because I was up late the night before doing something productive and not due to laziness for which I have sometimes been accused. I might add that going to bed earlier does not help, I still resist getting up. The sad fact is that my children are the same way. My husband is a night owl like me, so how could we expect anything different from our offspring?

More than likely my children will grow up to encounter the same problems that I have, the world is run by morning people who try and make us night owls feel lazy and unproductive because we are not giddy with the sunrise. When I think about adolescents and those of us who prefer the evening to the early morning hours, I think that what the world needs is less discrimination and more tolerance for all sleep types . The world is more colorful and interesting when we don't all arise at the break of day.


Kristine said...

Interesting post! And, I am a typical morning person. My brain just works better early in the day. My husband is the opposite... My problem, though, is that I don't go to bed early enough, and then getting up is hard, even if I'm a morning person...

Megs said...

YES Karen, YES, YES, YES! Ahhhh yes.... this little night owl loves your post! and particularly loves your reference to pesky morning people! Coco is our little lark in a family of nightingales. Eowyn is the world's most incredible sleeper-inner!

I miss you...