Night time holds little rest for the weary

Photo+By%3A+Mikaela+Acton

Mikaela Acton

[tabs][tab title=”Getting By”]

[heading]By Any Beans Necessary[/heading]

Patrons have coffee for lunch. Photo by Mikaela Acton
Patrons have coffee for lunch. Photo by Mikaela Acton

[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]A[/dropcap]n old man sits, his snow white hair sticking out among the youthful heads scattered at tables around him. Just feet away from the cold abyss he sits, sipping his Panera coffee from an ugly orange cup.  He sits, supporting blue plaid pajama pants with a matching blue shirt adding a brown vest for warmth topped off with brown suede slippers giving the illusion of one who had merely just had awoken. Absorbed in his newspaper, he sits, enjoying the pleasant peace that had settled in to the atmosphere.
A gust of cold air sweeps into the restaurant with it bringing noise, excitement and students. The old man checks his watch, which reads 11:15 meaning that the first rush of kids had begun and many more would soon join. With a great sigh, he stands and refills his coffee cup, adding some creamer and some sugar, stirring it as he reclaims his perch by the door. Yet again he sits, captivated by the paper in his hands, blocking out the world that continues to whirl, whoosh, and whimsically occur around him, awaiting for more RBHS drivers to arrive.
As the old man sits engrossed in his peace, he is unaware of the phenomenon he misses around him, the cars with green and yellow tags quickly filling up the Panera parking lot with mediocre parking jobs and the looks of frustration avidly appearing on the older customers faces. The lone boy purposefully making his way to order lunch alone, agitatedly waiting for his food to arrive only to rush put before anyone would notice, he misses the giant man comically duck through the door and tower over the cashier as he buys his food , and  the groups of giggling girls, loudly talking about their day so far, as they wait in line. Groups of females all dressed identically in colorful pants, patterned shirts, sweaters and boots. He misses the light hearted, yet awkward exchange between gym teacher and student that always happens when the two encounter each other outside of the walls of school, and he misses the cups and cups of coffee consumed by the young generation in a last ditch effort to stay awake for the last hours of the day and an attempt to soothe their cold hands on the drive back.
Within minutes of its beginning it ends, as if no students had even entered through the heavy glass doors in the first place. All is once again quiet, and relaxed. The steady ring of the cash register reappears and the smell of baking break swirls into the senses making tranquil smile make their way on to the face of the old man.  He sits, smoothest down his cottony hair and takes a sip of his coffee closes his newspaper, cleans up his space and makes his way out the door into the bitter cold ready for the day.
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Her college biology teacher turned off every light. A bland black and white powerpoint lit the lecture hall, but the tedious rows of words could not hold the Kathryn Fishman-Weaver’s gaze. Her dreams pressed at the edges of her vision. She faltered in her note-taking; she dropped her pencil and slipped her hand down the page and off of the desk. As her chin hit her chest, her head jolted sharply and her eyes reopened.
That was enough to wake her up from her slumber.
[heading]Stress, sleep and students can lead to unhealthy mix[/heading]
[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]W[/dropcap]eaver remembers the first time that she slept in class and can relate to the tired students she sees walking through the halls.
“I’ve seen students fall asleep in all sorts of ways- like the quick nod off like I’m talking about, where their head drops and that’s enough to wake them up, and they feel embarrassed and horrible,” Weaver said, “and I’ve also seen kids who are just exhausted, and they put their heads down and I feel like they could really, really sleep, if we let them.”
I’d been having a really hard time sleeping,” sophomore Ellie Stitzer said. She attributed her sleepless nights in the last week before winter break to the stress caused by her AP World Studies Final. The assignment, to create a documentary on Early Modern Europe, required hours of work and focus. Although Stitzer suffered from a simple lack of sleep, not insomnia, her desire for sleep deprived her of the ability to focus on her classwork.
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Infographic by Brett Stover

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Stress causes insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep, and by affecting the quality of your sleep.”
The pressure that accompanies a difficult class, exam or an important project increases the stress that students feel. Students who fill up their schedules may find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, which then causes them to doze during the daylight hours.
When faced with a difficult situation, the brain responds by initiating a cycle of reactions. The brain responds to stress and difficult situations by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), According to  The University of Maryland Medical Reference. Through the HPA cycle, adrenaline, cortisol and neuropeptide s are released into the body and bloodstream. Cortisol organizes bodily systems to react to the stress, adrenaline affects the amygdala and elicits an emotional response and neuropeptide s decreases sleep and increases alertness and anxiety.
“I was basically sleepwalking because I could not keep my eyes open. Luckily, we weren’t doing anything that day in class and so I was able just to lean back and take a nap,” Stitzer said.  Stitzer napped through AP World Studies, her third block, and awoke refreshed and ready to focus in her fourth block.
The results of a study at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that a midday nap improved the learning capacity of participants. The second stage of sleep, the study said, is related to a memory-refreshing process in which the brain transfers knowledge from short term to long term memory.
Even though an in-class snooze promotes learning, sleeping in class is discouraged because learning that takes place in the classroom is not possible when the learner is asleep.
“A lot of teachers are actually really understanding that some people just don’t get the amount of sleep that they need,” senior Carmel Shaka said. Teachers often provide sluggish students with short term solutions to spike their energy.
Occasionally, biology teacher April Sulze sends students the the nurse’s office. If they’re going to sleep, she said, they need to get something out of it. Students can stay for thirty minutes, according to Tammy Adkins, nurse, unless they are on AUT or study hall or have the permission of their teacher to stay the whole hour.
Besides taking a quick slumber, there are quick fixes that raise energy. Weaver suggests a drink of water, a walk around the school, or “doing cheesy things like stretching or going outside for fresh air,” to help napping students get their blood flowing.
Temporary remedies can save the day, but the real problem is not addressed until sleep deprived students get a full nights sleep.
“I think that we can’t overstate the link between health and wellness and academic achievement, and sleep’s an important part of that, so is eating right, making time to laugh, really taking care of yourself holistically, is really important to be a successful student,” Weaver said.
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[heading]Up all night, no sleep in sight[/heading]

[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]E[/dropcap]very afternoon high school Photo By: Brett Stoverstudents anxiously stare at the clock on the wall, watching the seconds pass by until they’re able to bolt out the door. The teacher passes out last-minute homework to much grumbling, but then they’re free. They can go home and do that work later. First there’s video games to play, nails to be painted, and friends to Facebook stalk.
However, it’s not long before the games are over and eyelids begin to droop as eyes shift focus from the TV screen to a clock. It’s late, and the “last-minute” homework has lived up to its name.
Sophomore Jacob Ventrillo knows this scenario well.
“Yes, I’m worse than [a] chronic [procrastinator]. It doesn’t happen a lot, it happens all the time. If I actually did my work, I would lose sleep – so instead of [going to sleep at] 1a.m. or 2 a.m. after watching Weeds, it’d then be [to] like 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. doing homework.”
Ventrillo “just [doesn’t] want to do [his] work.” To him, Netflix and Twitter prove more engaging.
Motivation is his problem, however, if he had stayed up his sleep would suffer – is it wrong to sleep at the risk of not finishing work?
That’s the problem with procrastination: it affects sleep no matter what. Students must decide whether to lose an hour of sleep or submit to the siren call of warm blankets and soft pillows. One way they have extra sleep and are refreshed, if homework-less, the next morning. On the other hand, if they stay up late and finish their work, they’ll feel more tired and more accomplished. It’s a tough decision, leaving the question: what’s more important – school or health?
“I love sleep.I have to go to bed around 9:30,” Mikayla Roach, sophomore, said. “I’m done [with work at her parents’ business] around 8 p.m. [I’m] tired, and then I already only have like an hour, hour and a half to do everything. So then I get on facebook and youtube.”
Roach often ignores her school work to take a break, and although she is unprepared the next day, it doesn’t bother her. She prioritizes sleep above all else- something teachers see present with the frequent naps she takes in her first hour classes. And during her third hour classes during lectures. And while watching videos.
School starts far too early in her opinion, and should give high school students more time to sleep in the mornings. This may be solved in the upcoming year as high school start times may be slated for 9a.m., however she concedes that maybe it’s not school start times that should be so drastically changed, but rather her work habits.
English 10 teacher Katherine Sasser, a chronic procrastinator in her youth, has learned that some things take trial and error to reprimand. Through sleepless nights in college she has realized that putting work off in favor of more frivolous activities is not the way to go, but doing a task immediately isn’t a necessity, either.
“I was a procrastinator, even though I didn’t have ‘the tweeter,’” she said. “I wouldn’t say I’m one now, [but] I’m not a planner as other people are planners. [Overtime] I’ve learned about the time that I personally need to be able to achieve a certain goal.”
Once Sasser figured out why she procrastinated, what she described as “general teenage behavior,” and underestimating the time it would take to complete a task, it was much easier to correct her mistakes. Procrastination led her to days where she was “totally out of it,” but now she knows how to reasonably plan her work.
She may not be the type of person who finishes something a month in advance, but she has learned to put it on her radar a week or so before it’s due.Students should more carefully examine their habits, and instead of shrugging it off, make a change in their work ethic, however small. This way, she believes, they will be prepared for class and not disengaged.
The biggest issues psychologists cite behind procrastination are time management and working based on mood. People believe they should only work when they’re ‘in the zone,’ and this oft cited excuse leads to less and less time before a deadline – something procrastinators misjudge easily. Falling further and further behind, putting off tasks can become a vicious cycle with no end in sight and no sleep at night.
Altering these deeply ingrained patterns seems daunting, but psychologists like Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, have determined several steps to aid in the process. Dr. Ferrari suggests in his book Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting it Done the following measures:

  1. Make a list of everything you have to do.
  2. Write a statement of intention.
  3. Set realistic goals.
  4. Break it down into specific tasks.
  5. Make your task meaningful.
  6. Promise yourself a reward.
  7. Eliminate tasks you never plan to do. Be honest!

8. Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete a task. Then increase the amount by 100%.

By focusing energy on small single tasks, those that are easily distracted are able to restrict themselves, and by overestimating time, procrastinators actually allow themselves accurate times. And as always, incentives are effective.
The idea of a change intrigues Roach, but her love of relaxation gets the best of her.
“My New Year’s resolution is always to procrastinate less, but then I procrastinate on that, like, ‘you know what? That can start next semester. I’ll just do that later.’” After a long pause, in true procrastinator fashion she adds, “I’ll get to it eventually.”

[heading]Waking up is hard to do[/heading]

Photo By Mikaela Acton
[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]A[/dropcap]wakening to the chimes of her bed side alarm, sophomore Kersten Brown slowly opened her eyes feeling as if she had only just fell asleep. She reached over silencing the annoying sound. She shivered in the wintery chill that had invaded her room during the night and risked the brisk temperature as stumbled out of bed over to her light switch. The sudden brilliance of the light shocked her system just enough to break her morning daze. She walked zombie like back to her bed as she decided that a few more minutes of slumber couldn’t hurt. Peeling back the covers, she got back into her cozy cocoon, and promptly fell back asleep.
“It’s easy for me to stay up really late, but hard for me to get up in the morning,” Brown said. “I’m just not a morning person at all!”
The struggle to wake up in the morning is one that plagues teens more than anyone. The National Sleep Foundation says that teenagers should get about nine and one fourth hours of sleep each night in order to fully function. This can be quite a feat for one who crawls under the covers after midnight and must wake up for school the next morning. On nights such as these, the burden of waking up on time provokes many people to resort to alarms, personal wake up calls and even internal timers.
“I don’t get to bed until late at night, and waking up in the morning is always a struggle. I drag myself out of bed but it’s not enjoyable, and I’m tired all day,” sophomore Bailey Washer said. “I try to sleep in on the weekends…. It’s an endless spiral… I’m just so exhausted.”
For some, the simple sound of music rouses the sleeping mind. Others stick with the traditional repetitive beeping that slowly gets louder the more you try to ignore it, and some even rely on those around them to disturb their slumber.  Whichever method used, getting up in the morning, especially on school days is always a challenge.
Extra activities after school such as work and homework often keep junior Emily Bruhn awake late into the night, which rarely gives her greater than six to eight hours of sleep. All too often she hits the snooze button to gain some extra shut eye and oversleeps.
“My alarm clock goes off at 6:30. I turn it off and then go back to sleep then my mom bangs on my door, about five times probably, and then I get up five minutes before I go to school,” Bruhn said.
Bruhn said her refusal to wake up has brought tension into her home. When she sleeps in, her mother is forced to yell. At times, her sleeping-in causes her sister, whom Bruhn takes to school every day, to become tardy.
Though some students have a fall back when they hit the alarm in the mornings, like Bruhn, other students are not so lucky; if they don’t wake up they might be stranded.
“I’ve had to find other ways to get to school before” RBHS Sophomore, Ashwini Mantrala said.  “My mom just kinda leaves me to get up she says if I miss the bus then you can walk to school kind of thing.”
Mantrala says  he rarely sleeps enough and waking up at six every day is a continuous struggle.
“I stay up for 10 seconds then want to go back to bed afterwards,” he said, “but then I know I can’t because I have like, an hour to get to school.”
The sleep cycle consists of four main stages. Stage one is the transition into sleep, stage two is light sleeps, stage three deep sleep, and stage four is dream sleep. The last stage of sleep also contains REM sleep which lasts 70-100 minutes. During this cycle the arm and leg muscles are paralyzed which makes the transition from slumber to consciousness more difficult to achieve since the body had been at rest for so long.
That foggy, dazed feeling that accompanies sleep deprivation is one that many students know well.  To wake up and realize there is still time for sleep is equivalent to a Christmas miracle.  Brown said those 10 minutes wreak havoc on her morning routine when she takes advantage of them.
“I’ll just be in bed and I’ll just be exhausted because maybe I had like a really long day the day before or whatever I’ll just wake up and be like this this is not happening, “Brown said, “I’ll just go back to sleep and then I’ll wake up thirty minutes later and be like oh crap I’m going to be late! “”
Those rare occasions of sleep indulgence usually end in an ear splitting “Kersten get up!”from her mother.
Brown is among the 85 percent of teenagers who sleep less than eight and a half hours per night by staying up late and waking up early. With a magnitude of activities that encourage students to put off sleep, students often choose to stay up later.  School work, employment and technology are among the most infamous advocates of the late night contest between consciousness and sleep.
According to a 2012 study by  Costigan and colleagues,  the more time young girls spent using screen-based media the more likely they were to have sleep problems.
In the 2010 study by Laberge and colleagues, the data showed that adolescents who worked during the school year were more sleep-deprived and more stressed emotionally.
“I get on twitter a lot, but I’m not really a social network kind of person, but I do get on Google and just look up random stuff,” Brown said.. For many students these distractions are enough to let sleep take a backseat to entertainment. Even though the need and desire for sleep is strong it’s just too easy to stay awake.
“[When it’s the weekend] I just feel exhausted,’” Brown said.
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[heading]To sleep, perchance to dream[/heading]
[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]M[/dropcap]ankind has always been fascinated with dreams. Greeks believed in Morpheus, the god of sleep. Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on.” Even Charles Dickens, author of Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities, wrote of dreams.
“At such time, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing,” Dickens wrote, “to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate.”
Even today people are drawn to the realm within the sleeping mind. Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception spins a complicated plot based on the proposition that people can actually enter others’ dreams.
“Dreams feel real while we’re in them,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb says. “It’s only when one wakes up that one  realizes something was actually strange.”
Mission: Interpretation
Despite the fiction some aspects of the film hold true, including that dreams seem much longer than the actual time of sleeping. Dreams, however, aren’t always as realistic as those in Inception.
“The most memorable dream I’ve had was like last month about a little white mouse wearing a colorful polka-dot vest walking around a hospital room floor,” sophomore Meritt Dos Santos said. “Then a spaceship that was a little smaller than the mouse came and tried to abduct it, but the mouse was too big so it just got its face stuck in the opening of the spaceship and it tried to get out, but it couldn’t.”
“And then I woke up.”
Dreams such as the one Dos Santos describes usually occur during Rapid Eye Movement sleep, according to Psychology Today. In REM sleep dreams are vivid and often feel real. Dreams in this part of the sleep cycle also progress like a narrative. The frontal cortex continues to behave as if the body is still awake.
Besides REM sleep, people also dream in SWS, or slow wave sleep. Dreams in SWS tend to nightmares, bedwetting and sleepwalking, according to Psychology Today. However, during REM sleep dreams are more vivid and real, and progress like a narrative. Also, while in REM sleep one’s frontal cortex behaves as if the body is still awake. This is why people often wake from dreams unsure whether or not the events actually occurred.
However, sophomore Emily Vu knew she was dreaming. Her dream was about a fall marching band competition, and bandits had just drove off with the van containing all the band equipment.
“I chased [the van] for four to five miles before it crashed and it interrupted Fort Zumwalt North while they were rehearsing,” Vu said. “As Mr. [Steve] Matthews [band director] was applauding my dedication to save the band, this chick from Fort Zumwalt North came up to me and said I was being disrespectful and said Rock Bridge didn’t deserve to win because [RBHS sophomore] Sam Farmer never shows up to perform and punched me. I got really mad and was all, ‘B**** don’t talk that way about Sam’ and punched her back in the nose.”
While most psychologists, including Dr. William Domhoff, professor of psychology at the University of California, do not think that dreams “are filled with symbolic meanings,” many do believe they reflect our inner feelings.

“Dreams express our conceptions of people and our concerns and interests.”–Dr. William Domhoff, professor of psychology at the University of California ”


Vu seems to agree, saying her dream was “great” because it allowed her to do something she wouldn’t have done while awake.
“I was never able to take my anger out on someone like that in real life,” Vu said, “And I probably never will.”
Dreams can not only express anger, but other emotions, as well. They can show how we feel about something while one’s conscious mind may not.  Before sophomore Prarthana Patel moved from Chicago to Columbia she had a dream about leaving her friends.
“My friends from India were really crying because they were upset that I was moving to Chicago,” Patel said. “My friends were begging to me that I shouldn’t leave them. All of my friends were going to come with me to [the] USA. I was very happy. I was suddenly in Chicago and my friends [had] missed the flight. When I started school in Chicago [in the dream] I saw that my friends were there only in different bodies. They treated me like I was their friends since forever. Their names were also the same and they told me, ‘We won’t be with you forever physically but remember that we will stay with you in your heart all the time.’”
Some websites like Dream Moods claim to be able to be able to unlock the meaning of symbols in dreams. Michael Vigo, owner and author of Dream Moods, says that their interpretations are based on psychology, calling dreams a “window into your subconscious.”
“I also provide other perspectives from Freudian and Jungian schools of thought and Gestalt Psychology,” Vigo said. “Dreams reveal your true feelings. In your waking life, you tend to hide or suppress your true feelings. However, in your dreams you just express yourself how you really feel.”
Dream interpretation is not a new concept. Psychologists like Freud and Domhoff have studied the meanings of what we think while asleep for years, but is now much more easily accessible.
According to Dream Moods, a mouse like the one in Dos Santos’s dream means that Dos Santos is “spending too much time dwelling on minor problems and insignificant matters.”
Sometimes dreams can relate to people’s personal desires, and other times a dream is just a dream. Though most of the time dreams only make people say, as Dos Santos did, “That sounded a lot less weird in my head.”
[/tab][tab title=”Innovations”]
[heading]Innovations in sleep merge cyber and physical[/heading]

[dropcap style=”flat” size=”2.4″]I[/dropcap]n an age and time period where technology and sleep are not commonly heard together in the same sentence, some developers are breaching the gap as they begin to include new technologies to map a person’s sleeping patterns as they chase dreams.

The journey to integrating sleep and computer applications began with the addition of alarm clocks for the iOS. Developers such as those associated with the company iHome, began integrating their already present physical clocks and iPhone or iPod docks, with developments in cyberspace, where both could interact. Other developers began to search for solutions to compact travel. Trying to out-do the iPhone’s built-in alarm clock was not necessarily an easy task. To beat the system-integrated clock, developers such as David Mandell pooled all that they could in sleeping innovations and built a free app out of it.

Yocto Alarm Clock for iOS is the culmination of those efforts. The app builds upon gestures, background music, and customization to allow the app’s users to fully control the way they sleep–and more importantly, the way that they wake up. Snooze-schedules and vibrations allow for either pleasant or a sharp wake-up, depending on the user.

Sometimes the old fashioned methodes for getting ready for bed work best. Listen to students' ideas here: Photo by Mikayla Bessey
Sometimes the old fashioned methods for getting ready for bed work best. Listen to students’ ideas here. Photo by Mikayla Bessey

But the reign of sleeping apps doesn’t end at relatively simplistic alarm clocks—of which there are hundreds on Apple’s App Store database. For those consumers who truly wish to know how they sleep, why they sleep, and to what extent they sleep, there are app’s such as Sleep Cycle which allow their users to create a digital map of the depth of their sleep. Sleep Cycle runs on your iPhone or iPod while you sleep; all you have to do is place your “iDevice” underneath the covers of your bed in the upper corner, next to your head. As you sleep, Sleep Cycle, developed by Maciek Drejak Labs, measures how deep your sleep is by comparing how many times and how often you toss and turn, to how well you’re sleeping.

It gets better.

Sleep Cycle uses this information, not just to present to the user upon their awakening, but to know when is the optimal time to wake someone up. The lighter the sleep, the easier and more pleasant it is for user to awaken, as explained on Sleep Cycle’s webpage.

“Have you ever woken up feeling completely wrecked when the alarm clock goes off, despite the fact that you have slept “enough” hours? When this happens you have probably been awakened during a deep sleep phase, and your whole day can turn into one long zombie marathon.””


Sometimes the oldfashioned methodes for getting ready for bed work best. Listen to students’ ideas here:

Before now, the partnership between sleeping and portable electronics was touchy and noted to have negative impacts on a users sleep. One study conducted by the Lighting Research Center, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found that people exposed to a computer monitor for 2 hours, had reduced melatonin levels of approximately 22 percent.

But now with developers moving outside of the box, and breaking down barriers in their work, such as the previously established isolation between someone’s sleeping time, and their cell phone. By combining the two, entire new categories are opened up for innovation, in the physical and cyber realms.

As developers continue to search for new layouts, conceptualizations, and ideas for their applications, breaking down barriers such as these will become a new trend. And it can only lead to incredible advances in application design, and quality of life for the consumers.

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