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Teenagers want more sleep — and they need it
Feb 23, 2023
Episode 867

Teenagers want more sleep — and they need it

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Plus, bring on the runaway supermassive black holes.

There’s tons of research showing teenagers aren’t getting enough quality sleep. One big contributing factor: early school start times. So why aren’t more schools getting with the program? Also, we’ll get into the different narratives being created about the Joe Biden administration’s pick for the next leader of the World Bank. Plus, Wordle cheaters, we know who you are.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. PT / 6:30 p.m. ET. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

Make Me Smart February 23, 2023 transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal 

Alright we are are.

Kimberly Adams 

I told you we stay ready.

Kai Ryssdal 

Also, there’s a flood watch.

Kimberly Adams 

Oh. Hello, I’m Kimberly Adams, not under a flood watch here in Washington DC. But welcome back to make me smart. Where we make today make sense. Although we can’t make sense of the weather.

Kai Ryssdal 

No, no, we cannot. I’m Kai Ryssdal, thanks for joining us on this Thursday. It’s your standard news fix make me smile kind of day. So let’s get to it. Why don’t you go first?

Kimberly Adams 

Although we have to acknowledge how we’ve had such a reversal of weather trends, because it was something like 80 degrees here in DC today. And what was it in California?

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, so it is right now, three o’clock in the afternoon. 42 degrees at my house. There was snow on the mountains. Low down on the mountains, like 3000 feet, 2500 feet, which is a lot, which is low, and there’s gonna be more tonight and it’s just It’s wild. It is wild.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah okay, well, I’ll start with my news fix, which I guess I can tangentially relate to cold weather and wanting to kind of hunker down. It’s a piece in the Scientific American, and I love the headline, “let teenagers sleep.” And the idea is that there is decades, there is so much research showing that teenagers need more sleep than they’re getting, and they need more sleep at different times, than they’re getting it. That their circadian rhythms like reset once they enter their teenage years and they need to push back the school school, the school start times to accommodate what is healthy for these kids. And school districts all over the country just aren’t either because of budget issues or transportation issues or because it messes with the schedule of parents who have to handle pickup and drop off. But we have all of this research showing that these kids need to get more sleep than they are, that the school day needs to start later. And we’re not doing it and it’s causing really bad health effects for some of these teenagers. I’m trying to see… I was looking earlier at this, “the kids are telling us that they need more sleep and survey after survey they say when school starts later, they’re not as tired, tired all day. They tend to get to school on time, and they’re less likely to be nagged to get out of bed. They tell us that their sleep time that as their sleep time decreases, their use of tobacco and drugs increases, including drugs that could help them stay awake. They tell us that getting one less hour of sleep a day leaves them feeling hopeless and sometimes suicidal. Research has shown that suicide risk in children increases during the school year and sleep deprivation could be a contributing factor.” This research has been around for so long, and I get all of the reasons why school districts and parents and educators keep the schedule the way it is. But it’s you know, empirically harming children. So it’s a really interesting piece in the Scientific American. I’d recommend anybody, especially any parents of teenagers have a look.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, for sure. I’ll tell you it was it was a game changer in my house when our school district was part of a pilot program, that’s Bonzai I apologize for that, was part of a pilot program doing late start for for high school kids. It wasn’t down at the elementary school yet. But it was it was a game changer for I think son’s number two and three. I think one was already gone by that. You know, they started like 8:40 now, which is amazing. I mean, look, they’re still probably not getting enough sleep, but they’re getting more sleep than they did and it’s a big deal and I’m kind of amazed that it took this long. I’m kind of amazed.

Kimberly Adams 

Sorry childless person speaking here. What time were they starting before?

Kai Ryssdal 

I want to say 7:45-sih which means, you know, they’re up at like, 6:45-6:30 in the morning, you know, the older they got, and they could drive themselves to school they rolled out within nanoseconds of having to walk out the door, obviously, but yeah.

Kimberly Adams 

I was about to say, because then they’re driving groggy. That’s another risk.

Kai Ryssdal 

Right. Right. Right.

Kimberly Adams 

What difference did you notice once they were getting more sleep?

Kai Ryssdal 

Generally less crankiness, less sullen teenagerness. I mean, look, my kids are pretty smart. They take after their mother and and they get good grades just because they get good grades. But they were just more regular people. And you could see it. It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. It was great.

Kimberly Adams 

All right. That’s evidence right there. All right what is yours?

Kai Ryssdal 

All right. So I’ve got two, one of which is super interesting, and actually great. And the other one, which is not great. And I’ll go with a not great one first. The political debates, presidential debates are starting. They start in August, with Republican candidates in Milwaukee. I just want you to put that on your calendar. For my money it’s a little too soon. I’m just saying, we’re gonna have a year plus of that. It’s a lot. That’s it. Just, you know, calendar entry.

Kimberly Adams 

I mean. So this is also where they’re supposed to have their convention, right?

Kai Ryssdal 

Yes, it is. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Kimberly Adams 

And when they first announced Milwaukee as the convention site, they were very pointed at highlighting that Clinton, Hillary Clinton didn’t go to Wisconsin. When, was it Wisconsin or Michigan in that election?

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, she didn’t go to either one enough. Right. But it was 2016 in that election? In the Trump one.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah. And it was sort of like a dig at that, and that they’re investing in these places that, you know, the narrative is that the Democrats are avoiding or not paying enough attention to and so it’s fascinating to hear them announcing a debate. I’m guessing this as a primary debate.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, gotta be right. Gotta be and it’s gonna be the early field, right? I mean, who knows gonna be, who’s going to be in in August, but it’s going to be Nikki Haley. Vivec, what’s his name? And Trump? Right, and will DeSantis be in by then? I don’t know.

Kimberly Adams 

And I should point out that, you know, the Republican National Convention and Republican National Committee and the GOP in general, was less than game to participate in debates in the last round of presidential elections, although I suppose that’s more of a point of the campaign than the the party itself. But it will be interesting to see if they are willing to do the actual debates once we have nominees. Because this was a big thing that happened in the midterms was that a lot of the candidates just refuse to do debates. They saw zero purpose in it in terms of it doesn’t boost voter turnout for their base, it only has the potential to make them look bad, usually. And they don’t necessarily feel a sense of accountability to any particular audience that is served by the debate. So they just don’t do it. And I’ll be very interested to see if they do it in the 2024 presidential election. What’s the other one?

Kai Ryssdal 

Totally it will be super interesting to see? So the other one is that in what can only be called the surprise move and I’ll explain why in a minute. The White House is expected to, has said it is going to nominate an Indian born American to be the president of the World Bank. Now the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the twins of international development and international financial stability. The way it usually works is that the IMF chief is picked by the Europeans and the World Bank chief is picked by the Americans. David Malpass, the Trump administration’s candidate is stepping down early. He’s stepping down a year early in June and the Biden administration said today it’s going to nominate the former CEO of MasterCard, his name is Ajay Banga to replace David Malpass. Now, Malpass, got in trouble a couple of months ago for revealing himself to be a climate skeptic, I guess is probably the kindest way to say that. And the handwriting was kind of on the wall that the Biden administration was not pleased with that. He was a Trump nominee. As I said, Ajay Banga now is a person of color. He’s a foreign born American. Both of those will be firsts for American nominees to the World Bank, at a time when the World Bank is under pressure to increasingly acknowledge the struggles and the challenges the developing economies are facing, as the pandemic wanes, and as the global economy has changed, and I think that’s a really interesting and progressive move from the White House.

Kimberly Adams 

That’s so fascinating, because and I’m saying this fully acknowledging that social media communities are bubbles within themselves. That is a completely different narrative than what I’ve been seeing online about this today, which is sort of chastising the Biden administration for picking someone so deeply entrenched in corporate America and sort of the profit driven find global financial system like MasterCard and these other big corporate financial institutions to run an organization that is supposed to help the developing world, given that some of these major financial institutions often either participate in or perpetuate global economic inequality. And so it’s just such an example of how depending on what you choose to latch on to, in someone’s biography, you can tell completely different stories about who they are and what it represents.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, it’s true. It’s true.

Kimberly Adams 

Which is why she wound up in Russia in the first place. was, and why she wound up in Russia in the first which is why she ran wound up in Russia in the first place. But nevertheless, she’s going back to Phoenix. I thought that was nice. Yeah. And, you know, I’ll be very interesting interested to see how the Biden administration talks about this. And did they did they say anything in the announcement about why they made the selection they did?

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, pointing out the things that I mentioned, right? I’ll read you actually, the words of the hold on. “Biden said in a statement today that Banga has spent more than three decades building and managing successful global companies that create jobs and bring investment to developing economies and guiding organization through periods of fundamental change.”

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah, and yeah, it’s all of those things can be true at the same time. It’s interesting. Okay.

Kai Ryssdal 

All right Charlton.

Kimberly Adams 

Well since we are talking globally why don’t you…

Kai Ryssdal 

I’ll just go first. Oh, yeah. Yeah. No, go ahead. Go ahead if you want to.

Kimberly Adams 

Okay, since we’re talking about the global stage, I’ll go first with one of mine. And then I have a more funny, funnier one later. So this one is a bit serious, but still made me smile, which is news that Brittney Griner who was detained for 10 months in Russia has as according to ESPN, “fulfilled the promise that she made to play for the Phoenix Mercury again in the 2023 season.” She is a free agent, but signed a one year contract with the Mercury on Saturday. And will return to the team that drafted her. And, you know, said she promised when she came back that she was going to play for Mercury because they supported her so much when she was being detained. I will say that the one year contract is listed in ESPN as $165,100 for a year in professional national basketball league, which is definitely less than what the men often get.

Kai Ryssdal 

Which is why she wound up in Russia in the first place.

Kimberly Adams 

Which is why she wound up in Russia in the first place. But nevertheless, she’s going back to Phoenix. I thought that was nice.

Kai Ryssdal 

No, I think it’s nice. I think it’s cool. I think it’s great. You got another one? Or you want me to go or what do you wanna do?

Kimberly Adams 

Why don’t you go and then I’ll do mine, which….

Kai Ryssdal 

I will just read you the headline in the Sky & Telescope article, it calls itself the “essential guide to astronomy”, and it goes like this. “An unusual stellar streak emerging from a distant galaxy might be a sign of a runaway supermassive black hole scientists suggest.” I just, I just we got a runaway a black hole and it’s supermassive. Okay, fine. Come and get us.

Kimberly Adams 

That’s not a problem.

Kai Ryssdal 

Come and get us. That’s all I got. It just made me think of this meteor of death.

Kimberly Adams 

Tell us more Kai

Kai Ryssdal 

Oh, no. Well, we’ll put the article on the on the on the page. I just I think it’s just, you know,

Kimberly Adams 

I mean, is it coming to eat our galaxy alive?

Kai Ryssdal 

It’s a supermassive black hole. I don’t know, there’s a study that’s going to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, “their clue is a Hubble Space Telescope image on which a narrow streak of stars is emerging from a distant galaxy.” I don’t know, you know, I don’t know. Sip that with your morning coffee or something.

Kimberly Adams 

I guess if that’s how we go down, there are worse ways to go. So my last one is a very DC story. Anybody who hasn’t spent much time in the city, I should tell you that we have a lot of Type-A folks running around here. People like to present themselves as very smart very together, knowing what’s up in often an a very performative way. And that is, and I should say that DC has a very transient population. I wouldn’t say that the people who are actually from here are as bad at this as much as the people who come here to prove something about themselves. But all of that said, there’s a story in WTOP news, which is the local talk radio channel here. Headline “study calls DC residents Wordle streaks into question.”

Kai Ryssdal 

Oh my god.

Kimberly Adams 

There was a study by a website called Word Finder that helps people find words that are like stuck on the tip of their tongues for like Scrabble or Wordle. And the study used Google Trends and traffic on Word Finder to figure out who was sort of relying on the app, on the website the most to help them out with Wordle.

Kai Ryssdal 

No way. Oh my god. Sorry go ahead.

Kimberly Adams 

“The study examined all 50 states and the nation’s capital. As it happens, DC Wordle players are just about twice as likely to seek Wordle help, compared to the nationwide average calculated by the study. According to Word Finder people in DC are almost 84% above the national average for cheating.

Kai Ryssdal 

That’s pretty funny actually. That’s pretty funny.

Kimberly Adams 

So when you see people posting their Wordle scores. Just be mindful, they might be cheaters.

Kai Ryssdal 

What else do you need to know people? What else do you need to know? That’s all I’m saying. Oh, my Lord,

Kimberly Adams 

Do you play?

Kai Ryssdal 

That’s a very decent… I do not. My entire family, well not my entire family. Half the family plays. So two of the kids and my wife play every day. And they’re they’re kind of competitive about it. Right? They’ve got the text chain going about who’s winning and and this and that. I’m out. Yeah, I don’t I don’t have time for that.

Kimberly Adams 

I’m just glad we’ve moved past the phase where people were posting those little graphics with the little squares.

Kai Ryssdal 

People still are. I and I wound up muting it on Twitter, which saved my sanity.

Kimberly Adams 

Wait, you can just mute ones that have those graphics in it or?

Kai Ryssdal 

No, you can mute the word Wordle. And that takes care of it.

Kimberly Adams 

Does that still work on the new Twitter?

Kai Ryssdal 

It does, although for some reason. For some reason, it works for everybody except for Nova Safo. I get Nova’s World posts every single day. And I don’t know if he’s doing something different. Nova, damn you. I get Nova’s stuff every day. And I’m like, alright, well, whatever if it’s only one because there’s a million of them out there. Yeah. Yeah.

Kimberly Adams 

That’s so funny. All right. Well, that’s it for us today. Tomorrow I’m going to be back with Sabri. And I don’t think he plays Wordle either, but we’ll be joining each other for economics on tap along with the rest of y’all. We are at 6:30 Eastern, 3:30 Pacific. There are going to be drinks, news, and we are going to play around have half full half empty. And I’m going to say um, yeah, not this week but next week, I think I want to try like once a month on economics on tap to do a mocktail day. So not this week, but maybe like the first Friday or something. I’m testing it out. We’ll see. We’ll see how that goes. And I know that we’re still not quite calling it mocktails but whatever. Anyway, I’m looking for those recipes. We’re never gonna figure out something we like.

Kai Ryssdal 

You you I think each of us has to each each his own right and I or her own. I will call them as non alcoholic cocktails, non alcs as I learned this week when I did an interview and you’re gonna call them booze friendly or whatever.

Kimberly Adams 

I heard that story. That was great.

Kai Ryssdal 

So you’re gonna you can call them what was your some cleverage?

Kimberly Adams 

So somebody recommended cleverage. Yeah, I still I think it’s clever. But I don’t know that I want to say it out loud in public but it’s cute. And I do like it. But anyway, send me your mocktail recommendations. I will not be making them tomorrow because I’m here in the studio for variety of reasons but maybe next week and yeah, so 6:30 Eastern 3:30 Pacific.

Kai Ryssdal 

Till then give us give us a little shout out with your thoughts comments questions. We will take them all 508-U-B-SMART or makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Kimberly Adams 

Make Me Smart is produced by Courtney Bergsieker. Today’s episode was engineered by Charlton Thorp. Our intern is Antonio Barreras.

Kai Ryssdal

Ellen Rolfes writes our newsletter. Marissa Cabrera is our acting senior producer. Bridget Bodnar is the director of podcasts. And Francesca Levy is the executive director of Digital and On Demand here at Marketplace productions.

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