Dear Kid,

As you may have noticed over the last few years (and by “last few years” I mean your entire life), I feel strongly about the subject of sleep. As in, I believe in sleep. I believe in the occasional weekend nap, I believe in sometimes snoozing in the car while Dad drives, and mostly I believe in not being woken up from a sound sleep.

My alarm clock doesn’t always agree with me on this last point, but that’s a different subject.

This koala does not need sleeping lessons. DearKidLoveMom.comHumans spend about a third of their lives sleeping. This is good because it means you are awake enough to enough the other two-thirds. However, about 1 in 5 adults (3 out of 5 college students, and 4 out of 5 dentists) don’t get enough sleep. This is sad, because it means they are actually sleeping through parts of their awake time.

People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even knowing they were sleeping. This is dangerous, because it means you may miss the most important part of a lecture or the exit ramp you were supposed to take.

According to a 2008 study, 34% of respondents say their employer allows them to nap during breaks and 16% said their employer provides a place for them to do so. A) I have never worked for an employer who allows napping, B) I don’t know anyone who works somewhere that allows napping, C) while I have read articles lauding the idea of a mid-day siesta I’ve not read about workplaces providing nap-rooms (except for preschoolers), so D) I am highly skeptical about the veracity of the study.

Sleeping makes you skinny. (Now you’re paying attention. Now I’m really paying attention.) First of all, when you sleep, you can’t eat. Believe me, I’ve tried. Secondly, levels of leptin (an appetite-regulating hormone) fall when people are sleep deprived, leading them to eat more.

Dysania is the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. That’s the scientific name. The more common name is “real life.” This is especially true for parents of very young children (FACT: Most parents lose between 400 and 750 hours of sleep in each child’s first year of life. You owe me.). And for parents of older children (FACT: Most parents lose between one and two zillion hours of sleep once their children begin driving.).

After only 17 straight hours of being awake, people begin experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation, which includes functional deficits similar to those experienced by people with a blood alcohol level of .05%. This means pretty much anyone who watches late night TV and all college students are ridiculously sleep deprived. How are you supposed to learn if you’re “sleep drunk”? (I just made that term up. But it works, no?)

Not only does staying up late make you sleep deprived, but your roommate can make you sleep deprived–and sick. And not just by bringing all sorts of nasty germs around. Noises at night—especially during the first and last hour of sleep—can disrupt your immune system. Who knew?

Get a good night’s sleep tonight. You can thank me later.

Love, Mom