By: Maria Konnikova
Published: The New Yorker, December 2013; http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/12/science-of-sleep-trouble-with-snooze-buttons.html?printable=true¤tPage=all
Level of Difficulty: ** with a twist
Thanks are due to my friend and fellow teacher Nick O’Gara for this fascinating text and the first set of questions: ‘questions, the first batch’. He also inspired me to come up with this new reading activity so I owe him thanks for that as well.
BEFORE YOU READ
- Do you wake up on your own? If not how do you wake up?
- How do you feel when you first get up in the morning? Groggy, energetic, zombie- like, firing on all four cylinders and ready to go or do you like to take things slowly?
- Do you have a morning routine? How long does it take you on an average morning to really get going?
- Do you feel your natural sleep pattern corresponds to the sleep pattern you have to stick to?
- If the answer is no, what effect does this have on you?
- What do you think the following means: you snooze, you lose?
QUESTIONS: THE FIRST BATCH
Directions: Read each question and underline the answer in the text. Work as fast as you can!
1. Instead of giving you more time to collect yourself, what effect does hitting the snooze button have?
2. What is sleep inertia?
3. Though we feel we have woken up, why is the process instead more gradual?
4. Why are we bad at making decisions at this time?
5. What does the word 'mitigate' mean as it’s used here?
6. What basic activities can help speed the process of waking and barring sleep inertia?
7. What factors is waking without an alarm clock mainly based on?
8. What is social jet lag?
9. What are some of its negative consequences?
10. How serious is this problem according to some?
11. What is the most important factor in terms of sleep for academic performance?
12. Is it possible to reverse sleep inertia? If so, how?
QUESTIONS: THE SECOND BATCH
Directions: go back to the beginning of the text and try your hand at this second set of questions. These are harder so keep your wits about you.
1. Hitting the snooze button on hearing the alarm is a mistake since……………………….
2. There is a positive correlation between the severity of sleep inertia and……………………
3. Problems linked to response time, attentiveness, memory, focus and the like emerge during the transition period described as sleep inertia because………………………………is not yet fully activated.
4. What conclusion can we draw from paragraph 5 ( the one beginning: “Other research…”)?
5. Social jetlag is directly due to the fact that …………………..and………………….don’t overlap.
6. What conclusion can we draw from Till Roenneberg’s study?
· * 30% of the population have a serious problem with social jetlag
· * Two thirds of the population have a less serious problem with social jetlag
· * Social jetlag is a more serious problem than we think
· * All of the above
· * None of the above
7. The case of the night shift workers is provided to support the contention that……………..
8. What conclusion can be drawn from paragraph 8 (the one beginning: “ Roenneberg…”)?
9. Read the case of the campers carefully. What general conclusion can be drawn from this example concerning the sleep problems that have been discussed thus far?
10. Wright feels that all the problems related to displaced melatonin could be solved if we agreed to………………………………………………………………………………………………..
11. Which of the statements by Roethke, quoted in the last paragraph, best supports the above view?
WRITING TASK; THE FIRST ALTERNATIVE: SUMMARY
You work for a big daily and your editor has told you he needs a piece of about 150 to 180 words for the back page on sleep inertia and social jetlag. Summarize the text and get published or lose to your co-worker! The best summary sent in will be published on this blog.
WRITING TASK; THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE: THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL JETLAG AND SLEEP INERTIA
In your introduction, introduce the concepts of sleep inertia and social jetlag. Then state that it is important to become better informed concerning the negative effects in order to increase attentiveness, decisiveness, vigor and efficiency in the business world, academia and in private life.
In the first developmental paragraph, discuss the effects in the workplace. Discuss the possible effects of lack of attentiveness, decisiveness vigor and efficiency in the case of jobs that require precision, quick reflexes, instantaneous decisions and how a less than perfect performance can even endanger lives. Consider factory workers, machine operators, air line control, doctors and similar medical staff, security agencies and the like.
In the second developmental paragraph, discuss the effects in the academic world. Discuss the effects of below optimum cognitive skills on students, teachers, academics and researchers. Explain that this will ultimately rebound on the wider society.
In your last developmental paragraph, discuss the effects on the individual. Discuss the psychological and physical effects of being out of sync. Mention the harmful habits that may be adopted and the possible ultimate effects: cancer, heart disease.
In your conclusion, suggest compromises to minimize these effects like managing shifts and off days better in the case of factory staff, the security forces and other shift workers, planning student schedules more realistically and the like.
SNOOZERS ARE LOSERS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
I have tried something new with this activity: after the usual pre-reading section, students work through a relatively straightforward set of questions to familiarize themselves with the text; an activity that needs to go pretty fast. Once they have done this, they continue with the second set of questions which are a good deal more challenging. Hopefully, this approach will help students gain insight into text analysis. When they have finished, they first write the summary and then the effect analysis essay. If this being done in class, I would give it two hours.
KEY: THE FIRST BATCH
- It makes the wake up process more difficult and drawn out.
- It is a period between waking and being fully awake when you feel groggy
- Because the cortical regions, especially the prefrontal cortex, take longer to come on board.
- Because the prefrontal cortex is involved in decision making and self control
- Allay, calm
- Eating breakfast, showering, turning all the lights on
- The amount of external light and the setting of our own internal alarm clock
- It is the difference between our actual socially mandated wake up time and one’s natural biologically optimal wake up time.
- Increase in alcohol, cigarette and caffein use; obesity
- Very serious.
- Sleep timing
- Yes; by reverting to hyperlocal time zones.
KEY: THE SECOND BATCH
- It makes the wake up process more difficult and drawn out
- The abruptness with which you are awakened
- The cortical regions; especially the prefrontal cortex
- No matter what, our brains take far longer than we might expect to get up to speed
- The internal clock and the external clock
- The practice of going to bed and getting up at unnatural times could be the most prevalent high risk behaviour in modern society.
- It is bad to sleep too little; it is also bad, maybe worse, to wake up when it is dark.
- The effects are reversible
- Revert to hyperlocal time zones
- The last