Several New Mexico high schools are trying a new approach to dealing with sleep-deprived students: letting them sleep.
While many schools are trying to delay their start times, some schools in Las Cruces have installed sleeping pods, where students can go to take 20-minute naps between classes.
It’s a new method to try and help teens who need a lot of sleep but get little. The National Institutes of Health recommends 9-10 hours every night, but only a third of teens are sleeping even 8 hours.
Lack of sleep, coupled with other teenage anxieties, can make it tough for students to focus on their education. The sleeping pods, paid for through mental health grants from the state, can act as a reset button and send them to class feeling more refreshed.
Some parents may be skeptical of their children napping at school, but Dr. Linda Summers, a sleep researcher at New Mexico State University. “Why are they not in science or math class? Well, they could be,” Summers said. “But they wouldn’t be listening, they wouldn’t be paying attention, and so this way we can get them to go back to class and focus.”
Student Selema Graham told NBC News that whenever something big is about to happen, she has trouble sleeping the night before, so using her school’s sleeping pods has been helpful.
"I was more settled my mind had cleared a bit so I was able to get through,” Graham said.