December 2014 Teacher's Guide for So Tired in the Morning: The Science of Sleep Table of Contents



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December 2014 Teacher's Guide for
So Tired in the Morning: The Science of Sleep
Table of Contents



About the Guide 2

Student Questions 3

Answers to Student Questions 4

Anticipation Guide 5

Reading Strategies 6

Background Information 8

Connections to Chemistry Concepts 23

Possible Student Misconceptions 23

Anticipating Student Questions 24

In-Class Activities 25

Out-of-class Activities and Projects 25

References 27

Web Sites for Additional Information 28

General Web References 32

More Web Sites on Teacher Information and Lesson Plans 33

About the Guide

Teacher’s Guide editors William Bleam, Regis Goode, Donald McKinney, Barbara Sitzman and Ronald Tempest created the Teacher’s Guide article material. E-mail: bbleam@verizon.net

Susan Cooper prepared the anticipation and reading guides.
Patrice Pages, ChemMatters editor, coordinated production and prepared the Microsoft Word and PDF versions of the Teacher’s Guide. E-mail: chemmatters@acs.org
Articles from past issues of ChemMatters can be accessed from a DVD that is available from the American Chemical Society for $42. The DVD contains the entire 30-year publication of ChemMatters issues, from February 1983 to April 2013.
The ChemMatters DVD also includes Article, Title and Keyword Indexes that covers all issues from February 1983 to April 2013.
The ChemMatters DVD can be purchased by calling 1-800-227-5558.
Purchase information can be found online at www.acs.org/chemmatters.

Student Questions


  1. Why was Jilly Dos Santos concerned about the school board’s pending decision?

  2. In what ways did Jilly use technology in her quest for more sleep time?

  3. Was Jilly successful in her quest to delay the time for opening school? Explain.

  4. How does the chemical melatonin help regulate our sleep cycle?

  5. Where is melatonin produced in the body?

  6. What is the role of NAT in the production of melatonin?

  7. When is NAT activity the greatest?

  8. Why does melatonin production often result in teens receiving less than nine hours of sleep per night?

  9. Give three examples of positive results reported from school districts that adopted later start times.
  10. If your school has an early start time, what is one way that you can help signal your body that it is time to go to sleep?


  11. How did understanding the chemistry in this article help Jilly and her friends improve their lives?

  12. Circadian rhythms regulate our sleep schedule. Are other life forms controlled by these cycles?



Answers to Student Questions


  1. Why was Jilly Dos Santos concerned about the school board’s pending decision?

Jilly’s concern about the school board’s decision centered on her worry about not being able to handle the earlier 7:20 a.m. start time they were suggesting.

  1. In what ways did Jilly use technology in her quest for more sleep time?

Jilly set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account to enlist help from her friends to attend the school board meeting and make a case against an earlier start time.

  1. Was Jilly successful in her quest to delay the time for opening school? Explain.

Yes, Jilly was successful; she and her friends presented their scientific research to the board and in a final decision, the school board decided to begin school at 9:00 a.m.

  1. How does the chemical melatonin help regulate our sleep cycle?

Melatonin is a hormone that builds up during the day and makes us feel sleepy at night. It decreases by morning so that we feel refreshed when we wake up.

  1. Where is melatonin produced in the body?

Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, a small organ in the brain, shown in Figure 2.

  1. What is the role of NAT in the production of melatonin?

NAT is the enzyme that catalyzes the formation of melatonin from serotonin (see Figure 3).


  1. When is NAT activity the greatest?

NAT is most active at night (in the dark) when its concentration is greatest, thus producing the maximum amount of melatonin.

  1. Why does melatonin production often result in teens receiving less than nine hours of sleep per night?

Teens often get less than nine hours of sleep because their 24-hour cycle differs from the cycle for adults and young children. This is due to the fact that their melatonin production is about three hours later than for others, keeping them up later and making them feel sleepy when they awake early in the morning.

  1. Give three examples of positive results reported from school districts that adopted later start times.

Districts that adopted later start times found

  1. students got more than five extra hours of sleep per week;

  2. attendance and enrollment rates improved;

  3. student alertness increased and rates of depression decreased; and

  4. the number of car crashes was reduced significantly.

  1. If your school has an early start time, what is one way that you can help signal your body that it is time to go to sleep?

To signal to your body that it is time to sleep, you can reduce the stimulation of artificial light by turning off your TV, computer, and cell phone.

  1. How did understanding the chemistry in this article help Jilly and her friends improve their lives?

Jilly and her friends researched and learned the chemistry required to convince the school board to improve their lives by changing their school’s schedule to a later start time.

  1. Circadian rhythms regulate our sleep schedule. Are other life forms controlled by these cycles?

Research shows that circadian rhythms are present in many forms of life, including plants, animals and bacteria.




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