Four high schools in New Mexico are allowing teenagers to sleep during school.
Linda Summers, an associate professor in the School of Nursing at New Mexico State University, used money from mental health grants to buy sleep pods for the schools. The first pod was purchased in 2008 and more were bought in 2011. And almost right away, students were reporting that the quick trips to the pods helped them focus and combat anxiety.
In addition to the obvious benefit of increased sleep, Summers also found the pods had other perks for students and even some staff who escaped for some much-needed rest time.
“If they came to us and they were tired, we stuck them in there,” Summers said in an article for the Las Cruces Sun-News. “If they had a headache, we stuck them in there. If a teacher had high blood pressure, we stuck him in there.”
Summers said that of the 100 students who used it, 99 were able to return to class within 20 minutes — with tremendous increases in energy and mood.
And it’s easy to see why students experienced this increase in energy and mood. After all, most of them are not getting the recommended hours of sleep each night. According to the National Institutes of Health, teenagers need 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night, however, most are only averaging between 7 and 7.25 hours a night, which can lead to serious problems.
The physical, mental and behavioral consequences of chronic sleep deprivation are very real and can lead to increased moodiness, lack of concentration, an inability to self-regulate and an increase in risky behavior.
Considering all that’s at risk when teens don’t get enough sleep, maybe it’s time for more schools to take a look at installing a few of these high-tech nap machines.