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JUST SLEEP ON IT
Written by: C. Anne Gutshall, Ph.D. Illustrated by: Amelia Bonner
It was 10:45 in the morning at Pleasant Lane School and
Marcus was getting frustrated. His teacher, Mrs. Plumb,
assigned some tough math problems that he just couldn't
seem to figure out.
"Class,” said Mrs. Plumb, "It is time to put away your
math and get ready for lunch.
Marcus raised his hand, "Mrs. Plumb, I haven't
finished my work and I really don't understand how to
do these math problems."
"Marcus, I will help you after lunch,” said Mrs. Plumb.
At lunch, Marcus could barely enjoy his peanut butter
sandwich or his grapes. He didn't feel like playing
basketball or tag with his friends. He was still thinking
about his hard math problems.
Later that afternoon, his teacher helped him. She
showed him how to do the problems over and
over again, but still Marcus struggled. Mrs. Plumb said,
"Marcus, I think you just need to sleep on it."
Marcus wondered aloud, "Hmmm...but how can sleep
help me do hard math problems?
"Well, when we go to sleep each night our brains
become even more active. While our bodies are sound
asleep, our active brains are creating and storing
permanent pathways in the part of our brain that helps us
remember, the hippocampus."
"Your brain also works on problems and comes up with
creative solutions while you are asleep which is why
many people wake up first thing in the morning with a
great idea!"
"While we are sleeping, our brains are cleaning
up by getting rid of junk and gunk to make sure we can
learn and play at our best the next day."
"Really...my brain will work on schoolwork and problems
and cleaning things up while I sleep the night
away?"
"Your brain will do the work but only with enough time. If
you stay up late your brain won't have enough time to
complete all of the chores. Kids in school need at least 9
or 10 hours of sleep each night."
Mrs. Plumb continued, "It is also important to sleep in total
darkness because light can keep your brain from
completing important tasks and making permanent
pathways. You should never sleep with the television on.”
That night Marcus decided to try Mrs. Plumb's sleep
suggestions. At 8 p.m. on the dot he started to get ready
for bed so that he could make sure he got 10 hours of
sleep. He brushed his teeth, washed his face, and put on
his favorite superhero pajamas.
Then he turned his alarm clock toward the wall, shut off
his lava lamp and unplugged his nightlight. He closed the
drapes and put on a soft, cozy sleeping mask. As he
drifted off to sleep, Marcus thought about math problems.
In the morning, Marcus woke up feeling refreshed and
ready for a great day at school! He was smiling when he
waved goodbye to his mom and his baby sister,
Marcella.
When he got to school, he greeted his teacher cheerfully
and he even thought of a great solution to a bully
problem for his classmates during Morning Meeting time.
When it was time for math class, Marcus
found that he could remember how to do the problems!
His hard work and great sleep had paid off!
At lunch, Marcus gobbled up his peanut butter sandwich
and shared his grapes with his friends.
During recess, he scored the winning basketball point
just as the teacher blew the whistle for the students to
line up and come in.
Walking back from recess, Marcus noticed his friend
looked a bit sad. "What's wrong, Jorge?" asked Marcus.
"I just can't seem to learn my spelling words no matter
what I do, explained Jorge.
Marcus gave him a big grin, patted him on the back and
said, "Maybe you just need to sleep on it!"
Then he told him all about sleep.
The End