Tag Archives: sleep

Does anyone get enough sleep anymore? Maybe you do, but the teens in your life almost certainly do not. What makes the prospect of sleepy high schoolers yawning and grumbling their way through life? Kids not getting enough sleep are in no position to learn effectively, make good decisions, or manage their famously turbulent emotions. They certainly don’t have the ability to earn their best grades or test scores. Clearly, teen success depends, in part, on better sleep hygiene. As in all teen hygiene-related matters, adult support and supervision may be required. Simply put, don’t just tell the high schoolers in your life to get enough sleep. Help them. Start by implementing–and enforcing–the routine for optimal sleep. The 10-3-2-1-0 formula establishes an easy model for superior sleep hygiene: 10 hours before bed – No more caffeine 3 hours before bed – No more food 2 hours before bed – No…

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Successfully preparing for the SAT or ACT, or just about any test for that matter, requires integrating a wide variety of information. Not only do you have to master concepts in multiple disciplines—from fractional algebra to the correct use of punctuation—your best score will come when you can match these concepts with an array of test-taking techniques. Over the years, test prep professionals have compiled every tip, trick, equation, fact, and technique you need to get the best score possible—but remembering them is a whole ‘nother ball-game. Raise your academic game with these five proven methods for enhancing learning, maximizing retention, and integrating skills:   1. Take Notes by Hand In class or a tutoring session, you might feel like you understand everything coming out of your teacher’s mouth. But the fact is, no matter how much sense a technique might make in the moment, your ability to apply what…

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Author David Benioff wrote a line about envying people who sleep easily: “Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” This sentiment sounds poetic but may also be supported by science. Neuroscientists at the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at University of Wisconsin–Madison conduct deep research into the mechanisms and functions of sleep. Drs. Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi have posited the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis, according to which “sleep serves to renormalize synaptic strength, counterbalancing a net increase of synaptic strength due to plasticity during wakefulness.” What exactly does this mean? Basically, the brain resets while we sleep at night, which creates room for more growth and learning the next day. These researchers led a team studying the brains of mice via sophisticated electron microscopy. Without getting into the intricacies…

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As anyone who has ever struggled to leave the comfort of a cozy bed knows, sleep matters. In fact, sleep deficits are linked to such a litany of physical and psychological disorders that one has to wonder why a solid 8 or more hours a night isn’t prescribed medically for children. Adolescents, existing as they do in an attenuated state of development, need a whole lot more sleep (9.25 hours) than they typically get (7 hours). No wonder teens can be so moody. Yes, sleep supports optimal physical health, emotional well-being, and better decision making. But if that’s not enough for you, let’s throw in better grades and test scores. Researchers learn again and again that people often learn better when sleeping before and after–but obviously not during–instruction or study. A large group of scientists, mostly from French universities, explored one easily appreciated aspect of this dynamic: Relearn Faster and…

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So… you are finally ready for the big test. You go to sleep Friday night, confident in your progress and abilities, and proceed to be agonized by nightmares that limit you to two hours of sleep. Or worse, you get so much sleep that you slumber right through your alarm. Better to have a strategy to make sure that all of your hard work was not in vain. For starters, don’t do any prep work Friday night. Cramming may work for final exams and college, but if you aren’t prepared for the test by the night before, you are in trouble. From personal experience, I can attest to this. Many years ago, I was frantically preparing a new manual for an SAT math class that I was running in New Jersey. I did something I hadn’t done since college – the dreaded “all-nighter”. With the book close to completion, I…

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Now that another school year has ended and both students and teachers are looking forward to a much-needed summertime break, the time has come to praise the productive side of “downtime.” Do you ever look at your scribbled-over calendar days, resting your eyes with relief on an upcoming “blank” day when nothing is planned? You are not alone. Our busy world tends to valorize constant activity, but the truth is that taking breaks and having strategic downtime is crucial to doing your best work. Even the Harvard Business Review acknowledges The Upside of Downtime. What is downtime? For most students, the grinding schedule of weekday school hours suddenly melts away in the summer, and the student gains control of his or her time. Jobs, camps, trips, and summer sports begin to provide some structure to the upcoming days, but overall most students have more power to design their own days…

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