Saturday, January 23, 2010

College Students & Parents: Sleeping in Different Time Zones

Earlier this week Michelle Slatalla wrote in the New York Times about how her sleep was disrupted when her two older daughters came home from college for winter break.

The nocturnal habits that her daughters developed as teens had escalated. At 3 a.m. they texted, made phone calls, played video games and watched TV as if it were daytime.

“It seems as if my husband and I live in a completely different time zone from our children,” Slatalla lamented.

AASM secretary/treasurer
Dr. Nancy Collop told Slatalla that these habits tend to reinforce a late-night schedule.

“There are lots of environmental issues that play a role in altering people’s sleep patterns,” said Collop. “The most obvious would be the computer.”

Light is an important timing cue for the brain. It is a signal that tells the brain it is time to be alert. Staring at a brightly lit computer screen at night sends a stimulating signal to the brain.

So will Slatalla ever see her children again?

Sleep researcher
Mary Carskadon, PhD, told her not to worry. Their brains are still developing. So their sleep patterns are likely to shift as they get older.

“The brain tends to correct itself,” said Carskadon.

Image by nickestamp

No comments:

Post a Comment