5 Scary Facts About Sleep Deprivation

National Geographic’s new documentary, Sleepless in America, is clearly designed to scare you into getting more sleep. According to the film (created with National Institutes of Health and The Public Good Projects), Americans today sleep an average of two hours less per night than we did 50 years ago. And the consequences—disease, obesity, memory loss—are sobering. Don’t let upcoming studio March madness keep you from getting a healthy amount of shut-eye. Still skeptical? Check out these statistics from the documentary:

1. Forty percent of American adults are sleep-deprived. Experts recommend eight hours.

2. When you lose sleep, your decision-making, reaction time, memory and communication go down by 20 to 50 percent.

3. Sleeping less than seven hours a night? You may be at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

4. Sleep-deprived people consume 500 more calories a day than their well-rested peers.

5. Think you’ll catch up on sleep over the weekend? Wrong. Overworked people don’t have time to accomplish what they need to do during the week—so they stay up even later on weekends to make it happen.


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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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