A couple of New Bedford schools are participating in one of my favorite "real-world" studies: sleeping.

I'm all about it.

Pulaski and Congdon elementary schools are exploring Student Sleep Health Week, challenging students to get better rest for sharper minds during school hours.

The study was developed by Dr. Kathleen Mackenzie, supervisor of Clinical and Behavioral Services for the district, in collaboration with New Bedford Cable Access. It's all about improving the poor sleeping habits of students. The improper balance of screen time and sleep has resulted in poor performance, grogginess and lack of focus in school.

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“With the return to school in its third week and as schedules become routine, this is a great time for students and families to focus their attention on getting quality sleep. It is critical for overall well-being, and is linked to positive outcomes in learning, development and physical/mental health,” Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie asked students to take an anonymous survey, advising them how to improve their slumber habits, and then asked them to log their sleep daily for 10 days. A post-challenge survey was then given to the students to evaluate their progress.

“The way our students consume media is very similar to those habits, good or bad, in their nutrition and exercise," Interim Superintendent Andrew O’Leary said. "If a rested mind learns best we must all do more to encourage healthy screen-time habits and ensure our children get sufficient sleep for their age and activity level.”

Mackenzie is also offering an informational session via Zoom on Sept. 26, 6 to 7:30 p.m., for parents, guardians, and caregivers who would like to learn different strategies to help their children (and maybe themselves) get better sleep.

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