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Earlier this month the news that a school, Hampton Court House in Surrey, planned to introduce hours more in keeping with the circadian rhythm of its older teenagers occupied some headline writers and got radio phone-in show callers all fired-up.

A certain amount of the response to this time shifted school day ran to little more than condemnation of the idea as pandering to lazy teenagers and the question was posed: how does this help prepare young people for the world of work?

However, as this article from The Telegraph highlights, Hampton Court House is not alone in adjusting the school day and headmaster Guy Holloway was at pains to emphasize that the decision was based on scientific research, not whim or fatigue at dealing with tired teens.

After hearing the subject of sleep and school day hours versus working day hours come up amongst library users, we had a poke about on the internet in a comparatively quiet moment here in the Wodehouse Library and have added just a few links below relating to why sleep matters, what can prevent good sleep and how much sleep is enough:

Sleep matters

Five things that stop a good night’s sleep

Is there too much light at night?

4 hours a night??

A run of poor sleep changes the body

Then we got a bit carried away and started searching for sleep related articles from the e-resources and had some fun (yes, fun!) with American Scientist and The Economist and serendipitously discovered a poem called The Big Sleep by James Tolan using the Literary Reference Centre. Honestly, once you start delving into the e-resources you WILL find interesting and useful things.

Then we asked the DC librarians to suggest books which have sleep as a theme so you could plunder LibCat for some summer reading:

Mrs. Stein typed ‘sleep’ into the keyword search box of LibCat and found J. Allan Hobson’s Dreaming: a very short introduction amongst 12 other items sharing the same keyword from across all DC’s libraries. Skimming through, this quote caught her eye: “…to fall asleep, we have to assume postures that are immobile; we will not be able to go to sleep if we are unable to stop moving.” We’ve mentioned the VSI series of books before on this blog and there’s plenty of information in this one to snag your attention.

Mr. Fletcher came up with The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe.

Mrs. Forbes in the Junior School Library said of Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Walters “…a brilliant thriller – very easy reading and grabbed you from the first page.”

Of course the kind of sleep that Raymond Chandler’s sleuth Philip Marlowe discovered was not the restorative kind at all but nonetheless The Big Sleep is an engaging read and you can see from the catalogue that we have the story in other formats too.

Mrs. Rowing in the Raymond Chandler Library suggested the rather charming sounding The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan.

We’ll stop there as this should surely offer plenty on the subject of sleep to make keep you going for now but we’ll leave you with a reminder that in the Periodicals Room you can view Old Time Tuition at Dulwich College, 1828 – a painting in which a master can be seen instructing boys from his bed, a solution that we haven’t yet seen made in the ongoing debate around the timing of the school day.

Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery

 DCWodehouse edit 21st May 2014: there’s an interesting article on how a technique used by physicists is being used by sleep experts to help people understand and manage their perceived sleeplessness better. See the May 17th issue, page 33-35.


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