From the Deputy Head of Senior School

You may recall one of President Trump’s recent late night tweets. As you might imagine, the tweet: ‘Despite the constant negative press covfefe’ prompted a range of reactions. While seen as humorous by some, others questioned whether the President might be suffering from chronic sleep deprivation.

Noting that President Trump has said he prefers three or four hours of sleep, one article cited a neurologist who commented the President displays several signs of sleep deprivation including ‘bad decision making, inability to focus, irritability, and impulsiveness’. The article went on to say the neurologist, Chris Winter, described himself as a ‘fairly conservative guy’.

As I explain to Year 10 students, sleep is important for a number of reasons. Not only does sleep help us feel more alert, it is also a key factor that assists our brains to transfer information from short- to long-term memory. While it can be tempting to keep working, there comes a point where doing so becomes counterproductive. It isn’t sustainable to sacrifice sleep, nor can lost sleep be balanced out by future sleep.

Study is only one of many things competing for students’ attention, and it is understandable that sleep may be compromised. Nevertheless, we can’t afford to lose sight of the importance of maintaining sensible sleep routines for health, wellbeing, and academic performance. Encouraging students to value and prioritise sleep may be difficult, but the benefits of sleep are clear. Research has found students’ academic grades improve with improved sleep. The reverse also applies.

Graeme Young
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning