The importance of sleep to the adolescent learner cannot be underestimated.

I was reminded today of this in a parent conference where Mom said her child was staying up until 2 or 3 AM almost every night trying to finish work not completed during the school day, stressing about falling behind, getting bad grades, and overall feeling like I’m not up to this.

My response was that the lack of sleep was a major concern to me and I am willing, as always, to extend deadlines to meet the child’s needs.

We don’t understand the importance of sleep for learning despite the efforts of neuroscientists and developmental experts to clue us in.

Our time of sleep is when our brains have the opportunity to go through the overwhelming sensory input and cognitive registry that the day has brought. Our brains sift through everything, discarding the unnecessary, unimportant, and trivial, connecting new learning and observations to existing memories, and reconstructing mental frameworks of understanding.

We don’t do this consciously. It is what our brains do while we sleep.

Deprived of sleep, none of us can remember well and that goes a hundred-fold for children.

Sleep is essential for learning.

Good night, sweet dreams, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

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