November 16, 2018

Counting their Zzzs

Head of School sleep challenge builds awareness of student habits and health benefits

Head of School John Palfrey’s sleep challenge was one for the record books, with a total of 195 students taking part. To meet the challenge, students tracked the number of hours they slept each night for the month of October.

Sleep logs were submitted to the Head of School’s Office, and participants were rewarded with a gift card from one of three local business. The businesses, all popular with students, were among those significantly impacted by the Merrimack Valley natural gas crisis, making it a win for our neighbors and our students. In addition, one lucky participant was chosen at random to receive either a FitBit-type device or a Yogibo.

PA’s institutional research team analyzed a random sample of 100 student sleep logs, with the following results:

  • Mean nightly sleep = 7.63
  • Minimum hours slept per night = 5.13
  • Maximum hours slept per night = 10.60

Predictably, students got their most rest on weekends. Saturdays saw an average of 8.57 hours. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8 to 10 hours of nightly sleep for teenagers. Mr. Palfrey, who logged about 8 hours of sleep each night, thanked all those who took on and supported the challenge, and hopes that healthy sleep habits will stick with students throughout the year.

Coming later this academic year, Andover will launch a baseline sleep study with 100 student volunteers wearing FitBits to record their sleep. Their data will then be compared with sleep patterns after next fall's (2019) shift from an 8 a.m. class start time to an 8:30 a.m. start. Details to come.

Categories: Admission, Campus Life

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