NEW LOWER CARPARK OPERATIONAL
As previously advised, the new lower carpark is now up and running. Sincere thanks to the many families who have already modified their procedures for drop-off and pick-up to make the zone a more effective and efficient one. We are mindful that all “new” things need a period of “running in”, though equally it is essential that changes in routine also require a period of review and where needed, further enhancements undertaken. Hence, we will seek further feedback at the end of the Term.
Again, I wish to express our gratitude to the hard-working P&F Executive, who have been instrumental in committing $175 000 towards the completion of the carpark. The focus of the P&F to make significant contributions which broadly improve facilities and services for diverse stakeholders in our College is worth far more than the monetary price-tag attached to it.
REDUCING THE IMPACT OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION ON CHILDREN
Reduced sleep has been associated with a range of physical and psychosocial disturbances in both children and adolescents. Symptoms include impaired attention, memory, creativity, learning and academic performance, motor skill deficits, greater incidence of depression and anxiety, increased impulsivity, aggression and hyperactivity and increased potential for drug and alcohol abuse in adulthood.
Too little sleep can also disrupt the body’s immune system, appetite regulation and endocrine systems, with shorter sleep duration being associated with increased rates of illness, metabolic dysfunction and even diabetes. It is important to realise that adolescents are at high risk for these consequences. In fact, after shift workers, they are one of the most sleep deprived groups in our community because there are specific sleep problems associated with adolescents.
Pubertal specific physiological changes to the sleep-wake system delay the release of natural sleep promoting hormone melatonin, with a subsequent delay in the onset of sleepiness. This results in adolescents going to sleep later. Later bedtimes are exaggerated by academic workload, peer and social activities, sport, part-time work and the evening use of technology, particularly in the bedroom. Here at St Andrews we are certainly noting the effects of poor sleep patterns with too many students, particularly in students in Years 5-10. Upon discussion, it is evident that all of the abovementioned ‘suspects’ are players in the game, particularly on-line social networking and gaming. Many students are being directed to “log off and go to bed”, though in reality the brain does not shut down in the same way that Windows can! There needs to be a ‘buffer zone’ for sleep readiness. Experts in the field suggest that a minimum of two hours is required between ‘blue screens’ and deep sleep readiness.
Given that adolescents must still get up for school, the result is a reduction of total sleep time. As a consequence, adolescents who should be getting nine hours sleep per night, are typically getting between seven and eight hours, and so accrue a ‘sleep debt’. This debt has significant and consequential effects on the development and wellbeing of adolescents at a time when they are expected to perform at their best. I urge you to consider this in the context of night time practices and sleep patterns of your children. Poor sleep is potentially catastrophic in the short and long term for children and adolescents. If this is an ongoing issue in your household, please consider addressing it with your family Doctor.