Daphné Gatte ’16 prepares herself a cup of Tazo Earl Grey tea every morning. She allows herself one caffeinated drink per day, usually before 2:00 p.m., but she said she consumes herbal tea as a replacement. Her mindful consumption of caffeine is one of the things that she cites as a reason for her victory in Head of School John Palfrey’s sleep challenge.
Palfrey issued his sleep challenge for the entire month of October as a means of encouraging students to think about the amount of sleep they typically get.
“Can you get more sleep than I do? You are challenged: for the month of October, log your nightly sleep using any form of tracking — on a gadget or on a plain sheet of paper, it doesn’t matter. The honor system governs. I will also track my amount of sleep on a daily basis,” wrote Palfrey in an email to the student body.
Gatte averaged 11 hours and 10 minutes of sleep per night, earning her the title as the student who logged the most hours of sleep. Although Gatte felt as if she was not qualified to compete due to the fact that she spent a week in Isham and a few days at Lawrence General Hospital, Gatte typically tries to go to bed every night by 10pm and wakes up before 9am.
“I am a sleeping person. I go to sleep at 10, I have first free and I sleep as late as I can. I really think that my mood and my productivity is linked to the amount of sleep I get. I try to get as much sleep as possible but in a place like Andover, that’s kind of impossible,” said Gatte.
Gatte has a strict protocol before she goes to bed. She tries to avoid eating or exercising an hour before sleeping and turns off her devices 15 minutes prior to settling down in bed.
“I read and I like writing Chinese characters before bed because it’s a moment in which I can relax while being efficient. Since you’re focusing on the lines, your mind is already calm and it’s less active,” she said.
As a Post Graduate (PG) from France, Gatte understands that not everyone is in her position and that other students may have a bigger workload than she does. According to Gatte, she is relieved from the pressure that Seniors and other PGs may have about the college application process because she has already been admitted to a university.
“I think that to get more sleep, students have to think that sleeping is as important that their academic results. It’s difficult, though; Students have the pressure of their grades so I can’t say that because I have it easy… But even if you’re tired during the day, just taking a nap helps,” said Gatte.
At the end of the competition, Palfrey gave out two FitBits. As the winner, Gatte won a Fitbit of her choice. All students participating in the sleep challenge received gift cards and were entered in a raffle for the second FitBit. Justin Muchnick ’16 won the raffle.
“This competition just has to do with our emphasis on well-being and the fact that I believe that excellence in academics and other aspects of life can be consistent with getting enough sleep,” said Palfrey.
He continued, “[Getting more sleep] is something I work on all the time. I have a very busy job that pulls me in lots of different directions, but I feel like I perform better in every way if I’ve gotten at least eight hours of sleep, so that’s my goal for [the] month: to get eight hours of better sleep.”