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"When you say to a child 'Bedtime, it's bedtime now' that's not what the child hears. What the child hears is 'Go and lie down in the dark. For hours. And don't move. I'm locking the door now."
March 15, 2011 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Scottish teenagers to receive sleep training in schools. [BBC] Resources to teach teenagers how to get enough sleep are to be offered to schools across Scotland.
posted by Fizz (58 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kids in my school already know how to sleep.

oh, you mean sleep at home! OK..carry on.
posted by tomswift at 6:04 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see that they're building on the valuable lessons learned from the very successful masturbation training program.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:06 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Corrected: "Scottish teenagers to receive sleep EXERCISE training in schools."
posted by Fizz at 6:09 AM on March 15, 2011


"Students, let's look at the first chart. Buckfast has lots of caffeine in it. Switch to cider and you'll pass out instead of staying up fighting and breaking shit. Got it? Great. Time for lunch."
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:13 AM on March 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


What the hell is Buckfast?
posted by Fizz at 6:15 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Buckie"
posted by longbaugh at 6:17 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A report by the charity said young people often believed they could make up for lack of sleep during the week by sleeping late at weekends. However, by going to bed even later at weekends they were actually forcing a change in their body clocks - giving the same effect as jet lag when they return to a school routine on Monday mornings.

Maybe it's just me, but staying up late in your own time zone is nothing like crossing time zones.

Where did the title quote come from? Isn't establishing a sleep routine vital? When my kids hear "bedtime" it is the beginning of a long routine that, yes, ends with me closing (but not locking) the door and forcing the little angels to "lie in the dark" and be quiet long enough for sleep to take hold.

Maybe if I say "bedtime" with a loud Scottish accent they will hear it in that scary "lie in the dark for hours without moving" way.
posted by three blind mice at 6:21 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where did the title quote come from? Isn't establishing a sleep routine vital? When my kids hear "bedtime" it is the beginning of a long routine that, yes, ends with me closing (but not locking) the door and forcing the little angels to "lie in the dark" and be quiet long enough for sleep to take hold.

Comedian Dylan Moran.
posted by Fizz at 6:24 AM on March 15, 2011


Shouldn't they be doing the opposite to prepare students to go to grad school?
posted by fuq at 6:26 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had a professor in library school who had sleep teaching down to a science. We met just after lunch, she would turn out the lights and spend 30 minutes "showing us how to use a database" while we drifted off, one by one. Perhaps she could consult with these schools....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:29 AM on March 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


At first I thought it said: 'sheep training.'
posted by ericb at 6:32 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alright, I suppose I will draw a hail of fire, but what is wrong with making sure that kids know how to get enough rest? I think it wouldnt be the worst thing for schools to teach more nutrition, personal finance, sex education, whatever... Bet for the average kid it would be a lot more useful and life changing to learn to get a good nights sleep than it would be to learn calculus.

Also, that Buckfast wiki link was a riot. I liked all the nicknames.
posted by jcworth at 6:32 AM on March 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Scotsman!
posted by electroboy at 6:46 AM on March 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think this is lovely. I know that my generation takes pride in not getting enough sleep. I hear it all the time. We are supposed to be plugged in all the time, updating and responding. We never turn off our computers or cell phones. Even when I am away from my computer facebook texts me to tell me someone sent me a message or responded to a comment. People text me at all hours of the day and night, and my brain hears that ring and I jump like Pavlov's dog, waking up from a dead sleep sometimes.

We spend a third of our lives asleep. At least, we are supposed to. And maybe these kids will.
posted by jenlovesponies at 6:48 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


As the father of three kids, I've had precious few nights where I've not been interrupted or kept up. Anything to get the little buggers darlings to doze off would not only be good for them, but great for my sanity as well.

sleepscotland.org has more. The logo on their home page - the central belt is supposed to be ... what? crossed arms? a pillow?
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 6:49 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next they'll be training teenagers how to be horny.
posted by Kabanos at 6:52 AM on March 15, 2011


Next they'll be training teenagers how to be horny.

They're not teaching teenagers how to be tired, they're teaching them how to have a healthy sleep schedule.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:54 AM on March 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I approve. It's pretty difficult to get enough sleep in the modern world, and teenagers need more than most. Unfortunately, I can see this being mocked into uselessness by a combination of teenagers, teachers and people who start a disturbing number of sentences with the words "When we were younger we didn't..."
posted by seanyboy at 6:58 AM on March 15, 2011


> I know that my generation takes pride in not getting enough sleep.

I have met several people (all roughly my age or younger) who regard sleep as wasted time. Tired? Just have a coffee or a Red Bull! Personally, my sleep patterns were way more screwed up in university (didn't get to bed until 5 AM last night? Just sleep in until 2:00!) than high school, but I've always appreciated the value of a good night's sleep and/or nap. A quality 20-minute snooze trumps any energy drink on the planet.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:01 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> What the hell is Buckfast?

Fortified wine, very similar to Thunderbird.
posted by vbfg at 7:05 AM on March 15, 2011


At least you resisted the urge to say "£5, same as in town".

(I still can't get over the fact that you named yourself after that Viz comic you know. An all time favourite...)

Incidentally - how does Mayor Curley know about the green menace? He's in Maine is he not? Has word of the Buckie spread thus far?
posted by longbaugh at 7:09 AM on March 15, 2011


Fortified wine, very similar to Thunderbird.

But with caffeine, so more like Four Loko.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 AM on March 15, 2011


People growing up in chaotic, difficult home situations, as can be found in Scotland and England and the US and everywhere else, often have terrible sleep patterns. Their parents allow them or cannot stop them stay up playing games or watching television or smoking cannabis or drinking with friends or texting etc. etc.

This is hard on these young people, who will have problems getting to school or college or work and paying attention, which is more likely to doom them to educational disengagement and failure and poverty. So the idea that schools should try to encourage healthy sleep patterns is well-intentioned and a reasonable public health response.

I'm sure we all had well-adjusted strict parents who made us go to bed and did other good responsible things, and I'm sure these parents are still around and are making their kids go to bed, but some children aren't so lucky, and this is an attempt to make up for that.

I'm completely skeptical about it working, alas. The attractions of X-Box every night versus a half-hour lecture droning on about sleep patterns in a class you probably skipped anyway and some brochure with stock photos of Young People and text attempting to be hip and with it? And all to be delivered by teachers, poor chaps, who [sarcasm] I'm sure signed up to be agents of social change for third-sector lobbyists.[/sarcasm] I guess the charity got some funding to do a glossy presentation pack from some Government agency.
posted by alasdair at 7:15 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The teachers I encountered throughout my years attending Alabama public schools had no problem whatsoever in putting me to sleep, and they did it in the course of the normal curriculum, no special program required.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 AM on March 15, 2011


This is usually called "heroin" isn't it?

Actually maybe this is a useful program and should not be disparaged without cause
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:25 AM on March 15, 2011


Imagine going to bed every night knowing that when you wake up, you will still live in Glasgow.

That would keep me awake too.
posted by unSane at 7:34 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never had enough trouble getting to sleep as a teenager. Only when I started work...
posted by londonmark at 7:40 AM on March 15, 2011


ends with me closing (but not locking) the door and forcing the little angels to

whip out their phones and start texting their friends.

There needs to be more emphasis on that old "beauty sleep" idea: that people who get enough sleep are actually measurably more attractive. (And, of course, that people who don't sleep enough are uglier than those who do.)
posted by pracowity at 7:41 AM on March 15, 2011


Next they'll be training teenagers how to be horny.

They're not teaching teenagers how to be tired, they're teaching them how to have a healthy sleep schedule.


Next thing you know, they'll be teaching teenagers how to have safer sex! (which is fine by me)
posted by John Cohen at 7:42 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just me, but staying up late in your own time zone is nothing like crossing time zones.

"Staying up late" is not what they're talking about. They're talking about changing your sleep habits so much that you change your body clock. Then when you have to get up at 7am, it's like fighting jet lag -- it's basically what jet lag is

Body clocks skew late in the teen years anyway (leadlng to "lol lazy teens sleep till noon" which doesn't take into account the fact that they went to sleep at 4am) which is always going to make getting up for school difficult.

Shifting the high school start time to 10am (especially in Scotland's dark winter) would help these students way more than any amount of chat about sleep hygiene. And would ease rush hour. But wouldn't be Calvinist.
posted by bonaldi at 7:54 AM on March 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I majored in Sleep... I graduated summa coma laude, with a 4.doze.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:06 AM on March 15, 2011


And to think that they called me mad for taking naps in study hall!

Wait, no, they called me "lazy". Meh, I was dozing off while they were lecturing me.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:08 AM on March 15, 2011


Might be healthier for many teens to go to school latter, yes. Especially if this leaves enough time for them to get up only after the house has been evacuated of its other annoying residents. (Give peace a chance!).
posted by Goofyy at 8:19 AM on March 15, 2011


Speaking as a night owl since birth (seriously, my mom gave up on putting me to bed before 11 when I was two), I'm so sick of being lectured about not getting enough sleep. Early people, if you were forced to go to bed when you feel bright and chirpy and ready to greet the day and had to get up at just the right point when you feel exhausted, WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I'm just really tired of "you have to live on an early bird schedule and something is wrong with you and you are damaging yourself with no sleep because you are not tired from 10 p.m.-6 a.m." crap. From what I recall of reading this experiment, it doesn't really work. You're born with what you're born with, and as bonaldi pointed out, it'd just work better if some of us were allowed to NOT have to wake up with the sunrise, rather than trying to train your body to do what it absolutely doesn't wanna. And that's how I sleep regardless of caffeine or television. Again, been doing this since I was two. After years of the working world, I've just learned to live sleep-deprived because ain't no way I'm going to fall asleep before eleven or twelve, no matter what I do.

I do have to say that I like this quote at the top, though. Ain't that the truth.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


longbaugh, For the cheap wine connoisseurs bumwine.com
posted by stuartmm at 8:31 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sleep hygiene

And this is me, going in for a sleep study tonight. Frankly, it looks like a racket. The screening visit with the Physician's assistant seemed more like a sales pitch than anything else.
posted by warbaby at 9:16 AM on March 15, 2011


I need remediation in how to get up and get dressed.
posted by jfuller at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2011


KirkpatrickMac: "The logo on their home page - the central belt is supposed to be ... what? crossed arms? a pillow?"

The rumpled, folded over part of the blanket/sheet.
posted by Night_owl at 9:39 AM on March 15, 2011


Gods, I would have given anything to have learned how to sleep properly when I was younger. I've spent my entire life failing to fall asleep. I hear everything, every creak in the house, every dream "woof" the dog offers up as it rolls over, every little thing. And on the rare occasion that it's all quiet, my mind takes over racing me around the landscape of my imagination, which would sound like fun, if you didn't live in my head.

Insomnia isn't so much something I suffer from anymore, it's the character defining aspect of my life: Crabby at work? Surly to my friends. Generally short tempered and well armed?

Ah, quin must not be sleeping again.
posted by quin at 9:55 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quin: I'm loathe to do this, having suffered a life of well-intentioned help for insomnia/sleep issues that turned out to be worse than useless, but Colin Espie's CBT book was a life-changer for me and some other surly insomniacs I've mentioned it to. It may help.
posted by bonaldi at 10:07 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


bonaldi, I realize that most people probably look at "CBT" and immediately think of cognitive behavioral therapy, but my initial reaction was, "Cock-ball torture as a cure for insomnia? That's certainly counterintuitive."
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gods, I would have given anything to have learned how to sleep properly when I was younger.

Me too. I "learned" by early high school how to quiet my mind and fall asleep reasonably quickly and ever since I can generally fall asleep in 5-10 minutes, but boy did I have some long nights when I was 11-13.

As a parent, I've given up all my lofty goals and narrowed them down to three: teach my kids to eat well, sleep well, and read books.

Speaking as a night owl since birth (seriously, my mom gave up on putting me to bed before 11 when I was two ...

...

I'm sure we all had well-adjusted strict parents who made us go to bed and did other good responsible things, and I'm sure these parents are still around and are making their kids go to bed, but some children aren't so lucky, and this is an attempt to make up for that.

No offense, but my first daughter would stay up to 11pm too if we let her. It took about, oh, 500-600 nights and naps for her to learn how to go to sleep. It's worth it. For everyone.

I have friends who let their 2 yo stay up as late as them (i.e. 11pm) and I think they're literally nuts. It's not a shifted schedule (i.e. kid sleeping into 10-11am), so you just know that kid has a crazy sleep deficit. Don't even get me started on letting those little ones watch TV late at night...

Little kids need lots of nutritious fats and sleep. Give it to them (the second is much harder to train than the first) in plenty.

It is very hard but not impossible to shift your schedule from being a night owl to being an early bird. I've done it. Literally. For 8-10 years, I slept 2am-10am and worked noon-8pm, and now I sleep 10pm-5:30am (I go to bed earlier if I can help it.), and work 7am-4pm. When you don't have a choice, it becomes easier.

... and then there's also always the time-tested sleep-aid of masturbation. Teach that to teens and tweens and you kill 3-4 birds with one stone.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2011


I hope these classes are combined with later starting times. My high school started at 7:15, making it all but impossible to watch The Daily Show and get a proper amount of sleep. Waking up at 6, you'd have to go to bed no later than 10 to get eight hours of sleep, and growing teens should be getting more than that.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:13 AM on March 15, 2011


I hope these classes are combined with later starting times. My high school started at 7:15, making it all but impossible to watch The Daily Show and get a proper amount of sleep. Waking up at 6, you'd have to go to bed no later than 10 to get eight hours of sleep, and growing teens should be getting more than that.

Yeah--my senior year of high school, first bell was 6:40 a.m. This was for block scheduling--they let us out at noon. You know what happened? Well, I lived a block away from school and ALL of my friends would come over and nap in my living room after lunch. Seriously, my mom would come home at 3 and find four or five punkass teenagers completely zonked out on her sofa.

I have really good sleep habits. Except for maybe once every four years or so, when I have really bad insomnia for a night (almost always coinciding with starting a new job or something like that), my eyes are closed and I'm out within five minutes. However, I am not a morning person. Put me in bed at two, and I'll get eightish hours of sleep and wake up feeling lovely. No amount of forcing myself into an early schedule helps. People say you'll get used to it once you start working. What I found more true was that I'd start out okay, through sheer force of will, but as time passed, I'd settle back down into my natural schedule. Over time, I'd often be later and later to work, despite my truly best efforts. Also really crabby. Really.

My mom always struggled with this with my father and me. He, like me, was a night owl, naturally sought out jobs that would let him be active when he was, slept well but slept late. She's a morning person. Can't stay in bed past 7 am. Seems bizarre to me, but it takes all kinds.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:42 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Their parents allow them or cannot stop them stay up playing games or watching television or smoking cannabis or drinking with friends or texting etc. etc.

Also, what? Cannabis is a great sleep aid. Not that I'd actively encourage a 16-year-old to indulge but it wouldn't be exactly encouraging bad sleep habits, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:45 AM on March 15, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi : my eyes are closed and I'm out within five minutes.

Hate you. So much.

posted by quin at 11:52 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hate you. So much.

Well, if it makes you feel any better (maybe not?), I also can't really read in bed or watch TV in bed without passing out, often with a book quite literally on my face. So there's that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:54 AM on March 15, 2011


Sleep is more important than food. Yeah, read that last week and have been waking up feeling amazing all week. Good sleep really is worth it, and if the little buggers can learn it early in life, so much the better for them.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:02 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the more recent consensus was that teenagers' sleep deficits are caused by a start time for school that is completely at odds with their internal body clocks, not by some failure on their parts to realize that sleeping late on weekends isn't going to make up for lack of sleep during the week. In high school I remember sleep-walking until lunch, then perking up until the end of the school day, when I sometimes fell asleep while changing for sports practices, and then feeling chipper again until midnight, at which point it was far too late to get a good night's sleep.

I vaguely remember some district here in the States where test scores were boosted by simply switching the elementary start time with the high school start time. (They share buses, so the start times have to be spaced by a certain amount.)
posted by palliser at 12:06 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi : my eyes are closed and I'm out within five minutes.

Hate you. So much.


Heh, my usual time now is 15-30 seconds! (Mostly because I have small children and a general sleep deficit.) After many years, my wife is still amazed.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:20 PM on March 15, 2011


Public school is basically glorified daycare, so why not have naptime?
posted by mingo_clambake at 3:10 PM on March 15, 2011


Eh, my mom tried, but it's pretty obvious which of us have the night owl gene in the family (hint: both parents), it was the only way I'd sleep through the night, so she gave in. The 11-12 p.m. thing has not budged for ANYTHING (see below) short of mega-illness.

"It is very hard but not impossible to shift your schedule from being a night owl to being an early bird. I've done it. Literally. For 8-10 years, I slept 2am-10am and worked noon-8pm, and now I sleep 10pm-5:30am (I go to bed earlier if I can help it.), and work 7am-4pm. When you don't have a choice, it becomes easier."

Well, I don't have a choice about my work schedule either, and I've learned (very unpleasantly, mind you) to wake up early, whether I want to or not. However, I've never been able to make myself get tired earlier to compensate. It probably doesn't help that I wake up probably at least every 15 minutes between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. (when I actually have to get up) checking the alarm in fear that I'll sleep through it, and trying very hard NOT to fall back soundly asleep so that I won't sleep through. I had to work 7 a.m.-4 p.m. for 4 months at one job and it nearly killed me, I kept waking up earlier and earlier until I'd be up at 4 a.m. wide awake, exhausted, and terrified of sleeping too comfortably. Knowing I have to get up in 2 hours or less just freaks me out because I'm fighting nature to do it.

Maybe you lucked out with an easier changing sleep set point, I don't know, but I sure as fuck haven't managed to get tired early enough yet. Or relax knowing that there's an end time on my sleep.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:40 PM on March 15, 2011


This Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire made mrs. mendel and I realize that I wasn't actually just lazy and she wasn't actually just more motivated, but that our typical sleep schedules are actually a few hours off from each other.

(Her: Go to bed at 10:30, get up at 6:30; me, go to bed at 2 AM and get up at 10 am.)
posted by mendel at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is very hard but not impossible to shift your schedule from being a night owl to being an early bird

no, it was very hard but not impossible for you to shift your schedule, that doesn't mean that it's possible for everyone.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:47 AM on March 16, 2011


The Scots seem to be tackling some pretty basic capabilites around now. They're also teaching cops how to ride bicycles.
posted by aqsakal at 2:41 AM on March 16, 2011


It is very hard but not impossible to shift your schedule from being a night owl to being an early bird

no, it was very hard but not impossible for you to shift your schedule, that doesn't mean that it's possible for everyone.


No, I'll repeat, it is very hard but not impossible to shift your schedule from being a night owl to being an early bird. To clarify, yes, it certainly is possible for everyone.

My cite? The article linked by jenfullmoon (to argue the other way, which confused me).

From what I recall of reading this experiment, it doesn't really work. You're born with what you're born with, and as bonaldi pointed out, it'd just work better if some of us were allowed to NOT have to wake up with the sunrise

When I read that article, what stood out was this quote from an actual expert in the field of sleep:

"They all said it could be done. "I do think there are people for whom genetically this is going to be much harder," said Dr. Gary Richardson, senior research scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders Center in Detroit, "but nobody for whom it's impossible.""

Emphasis mine.

Just because the writer of that article did not really want to do it, but was only doing it for a week to write an article does not mean that it is impossible for everyone. In fact, the article indicates the opposite, which spawned my comment about everyone.

IMO, night owls stay night owls because they want to be night owls. I've never met a person who honestly wanted to be a morning person but couldn't do it (which could be my own confirmation bias talking). You have to WANT to go to bed and wake up early. Most night owls who've tried to switch certainly want the latter but are unwilling to give up the former. And that's OK. Bartenders, third-shift nurses or third-shift anythings, there are jobs that go 12-8 (am or pm) or 8pm-4am, etc. My own assistant works noon-8pm.

But I'd second the good doctor with my own anecdata and say that anyone can become an early bird if they really want to. Why would you want to? ... that's another ball of worms.

If anyone has a genetic late-owl streak it's me. My preferred bedtime is now my preferred wakeup time. I suppose we'll see if it kills me.

Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the University of Warwick Medical School, explained: "If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48 per cent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 per cent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke.

Sleep Deprivation: Late Nights Can Lead to Higher Risk of Strokes and Heart Attacks, Study Finds

From an informative series: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:19 AM on March 16, 2011


The Scots seem to be tackling some pretty basic capabilites around now. They're also teaching cops how to ride bicycles.

To be fair, these are cops who are (supposed to be) using bikes to chase criminal suspects. One day of training seems like a minimum.

The book was funny, though: "Unless a person is a regular cyclist before commencing bike patrol duties, a conditioning process is inevitable ... This process, which includes the re-training of muscles and the toughening of the backside, can cause discomfort."

Also, put this in american police training guides: "A diet which relies heavily on junk food is neither appropriate or healthy."

my inner pedant screams "THAT!!!" but then my inner descriptivist shushes her up
posted by mrgrimm at 8:22 AM on March 16, 2011


I've never met a person who honestly wanted to be a morning person but couldn't do it (which could be my own confirmation bias talking).
Hi! I've certainly got better at getting up in the morning, but in no sense am I a morning person. Nor do I blame the victim.

Yes, sleep experts say you can shift your schedule. They also say that you have to maintain it with rigid discipline, because it will never become natural.

I suspect you and numberwang are talking past one another, actually. Can a nightowl rejig things and work a 9-5? Sure. Can they become a full-on lark by force of will? Not according to anything I've read.
posted by bonaldi at 5:35 PM on March 16, 2011


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