Brown Research Study Shows Sleeping Late on Weekends Induces Jetlag Effect

There is a scientific reason students feel groggy on Monday mornings, and it’s not simply because it’s the start of another week at school. Stephanie J. Crowley of Brown University recently proved in an ongoing study that students who attempt to catch up on sleep on the weekends after a stressful, sleep-deprived week actually reset their biological clocks to a later time. This compensation leaves students more bleary-eyed on Mondays as their circadian rhythms, the body’s 24-hour cycles, attempt to adjust to the abrupt change. “Essentially, teenagers may be giving themselves jetlag over the weekend even without getting on a plane,” said Crowley in a recent interview with Reuters. An annual poll conducted by The Phillipian showed that Phillips Academy students get an average of six to seven hours of sleep during weekdays. This is three hours less than the recommended nine hours. “The rigorous Andover lifestyle leaves students exhausted by the end of the week. I usually sleep a good 11 hours on weekends but during the week I only get around six or seven,” said Jin Won Lee ’08. Experts recommend getting nine hours of sleep every day for the average 15-16 year old and waking up at the same time every morning. To facilitate falling asleep, experts also suggest sleeping in a quiet, dark, and cool environment and avoiding rigorous exercise up to six hours before bedtime. Dr. Maas, a professor at Cornell University, author of Power Sleep, and keynote speaker at an All-School Meeting two years ago, claims that most school’s schedules do not take into account adolescent sleep patterns and starting times should actually be pushed back an hour or two. Although the schoolwork and schedule at Andover generally do not allow students to follow such guidelines, students should strive to get an adequate and not superfluous amount of sleep on weekends to not feel sluggish Monday morning. A research abstract presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), also showed that sleeping in on weekends may force the biological clocks to rapidly adjust to a new routine, leaving students groggy on Mondays. Crowley said, “This resetting can push back the brain’s cue to be awake on Monday morning for school. As a result, teens may feel worse and have poor performance in school at the beginning of the week.” Many students at Andover may find this study to hold true as they sleep late and rise at absurdly late hours, even three or four in the afternoon on weekends. C.J Queenan ’09 said, “I always sleep in on weekends because it’s the only time I actually get to feel rested the whole week.” At Andover, many activities do not start until later in the day such as sporting events, concerts, and brunch. This late scheduling actually promotes waking up late. Andy West ’08 said, “I can’t start my day until I’ve had breakfast and so I wake up at 11 on weekends, knowing I can’t do anything if I don’t eat.” Even the nights during the weekend seem to encourage sleeping late because dances, movies, and other social events do not end until 11:30 p.m. and sign-in is pushed back. However, some students have found a way around the ubiquitous oversleeping on campus. Glenn Stowell ’09 said, “I generally have pretty good sleep habits and on weekends I get up early for hockey and I find that I feel great Monday morning.” Although life at Andover is not conducive to adequate and regular sleep, some students find ways to manage the lack of time and actually see the benefits. “After sleeping on time and waking up early on weekends, I found that I was more focused in class and sports and I was surprised to see my grades go up as well. It’s all about time management at Andover,” said Alex McHale ’09.