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20. "Ample sleep” is necessary for children -and adults!

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20. "Ample sleep” is necessary for children -and adults!

As discussed above, skills, knowledge, and memory are context dependent and require the usage of lingering neural networks. Lingering neural networks gain efficiency and speed with usage but wither when not in use. Cognitive biases (network strengthening) are created because of this phenomenon. We can rekindle our lingering networks by conscious usage ‘memories’ in the waking hours, and by unconscious usage of ‘memories’ during naps and regular sleep. The more we sleep, the more chances we give lingering networks to be rekindled. Conversely, when we limit our sleep, we deprive ourselves the chances of rekindling our networks. ‘Absent-mindedness’ and ‘bad memory’ due to lack of sleep is not only well documented, but easily observable in daily life. Lack of sleep hampers all bodily functions, and can be lethal if prolonged. This maxim may therefore me the most important maxim of all. Although sleep is not directly controllable from the classroom context, teachers can affect students’ sleep habits via discussions and perhaps control of homework assignments.

Q. Do your student get enough sleep? Have you discussed it with them? If they don't get enough, what can you do to promote more sleep?

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My students definitely do not get enough sleep.  I often tell them they need more rest, especially the students who are Global Communication majors and take mostly English immersion classes.  

I try to give my students a workload that can be managed over a lengthy period of time (not crammed into one or two days), and arrange my due dates of major assignment at time that do not overlap with other classes with major assessments.  In addition, I try to regularly remind them (sometimes while speaking to the entire class and sometimes while talking to them in person in our Self Access Learning Center), to get between 8-9 hours of sleep.  Some of them look at me seriously and say they will try... but most of them laugh!  It really doesn't seem like a full night's rest is valued by most of them. 

I wonder if anyone else has any suggestions of how to promote more sleep?

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Hi Annie! Very Happy 

Looks like some people are on summer vacation... was waiting for others to chime in...

Anyway... here is a nice article with lots of clickable references (in the second half). Great stuff!  Cool 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/

Enjoy!
Robert

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Robert,

I was just about to post the link to that article!!!

It seems that "you snooze you lose" is applicable to many situations!!

Hope everyone enjoys the article!

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Hi Robert,
Thanks for sharing that article.  I really appreciate the message of that article in that it stresses the importance of rest, the default mode and allowing the brain a chance to rekindle information.  I think that the message is something that everyone knows at some intuitive level, but in the average work-driven society, this is just not valued.  I really hope that this research becomes more and more widespread and conventional.  Then, maybe, rest/sleep/vacation time will become more widely valued.

For now, as teachers, I suppose we could spread this message by explicitly telling our students the benefits of rest and sleep.  And remind them to regularly schedule it into their lives. 

Smile

Annie

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