Social Jet Lag

One of my students confessed to having overslept yesterday. The reprobate shall remain nameless. He told me that he woke up at 0825, and was one minute late for the news review, arriving at 0846. Heaven only knows what valuable English insight has been lost to him, forever, through his slothfulness.

Fortunately for him, I had watched this video, in which chronobiologist Professor Till Roenneberg attacks the (ironically, lazy) connection between laziness and late-rising.

“Six hours for a man”, said Napoleon, “seven for a woman, and eight for a fool”. He was wrong of course. Early-rising may be a virtue if you are a farmer, but if you are a thinker, you would do well to lay in bed and get your fill. Einstein needed ten hours, apparently, to fuel up his colossal noggin.

The effect of early rising is particularly severe on teenagers, apparently. Many experiments have shown that an extra hour in bed decreases levels of aggression and detachment, increases concentration and retention. There are consequently calls for the school day to begin an hour or two later, perhaps at 10 or 11 o’clock.

I don’t know. Perhaps we should start the news review at 0847, but it’s a slippery slope. Our students would no doubt feel more refreshed, more capable of original thought, but before we know it, they will be slouching around with their hands in their pockets, and not combing their hair, and demonstrating attitude.



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