Tag Archives: sleep

We’ve long promoted the necessity of sleep for teens and analyzed the causes and remedies for test anxiety. Yet, the recent research uncovering a connection between the two still came as a surprise. Researchers from the University of Kansas wanted a better understanding of the relationship between sleep, anxiety, and test performance, particularly how their mutual interactions unfold over time: “(Nancy) Hamilton and graduate student co-authors Ronald Freche and Ian Carroll and undergraduates Yichi Zhang and Gabriella Zeller surveyed the sleep quality, anxiety levels and test scores for 167 students enrolled in a statistics class at KU. Participants completed an electronic battery of measures and filled out Sleep Mood Study Diaries during the mornings in the days before a statistics exam. Instructors confirmed exam scores. “The study showed ‘sleep and anxiety feed one another’ and can hurt academic performance predictably.” Was reported test anxiety a valid predictor of academic underperformance?…

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“You can only climb as hard as you rest.” Jared Leto shared that kernel of rock climbing wisdom to explain his prodigious productivity. Even a moment’s thought assures us that this concept makes perfect sense. Now consider the average high school student, so buried under so many academic, extracurricular, and social commitments that he can’t even get a good night’s sleep. This avalanche of activities might seem like the only path to success, but overwork all too often impedes real achievement. Not only do people, particularly teens, require lots of sleep for optimal performance, but even breaks make a difference. Margaret L. Schlichting and Alison R. Preston of The University of Texas at Austin found that reflection boosts learning. Their research subjects who used time between learning tasks to reflect on what they had learned previously scored better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads…

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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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