Smarty said that one of her teachers did a "sleep survey" and it turned out that she is the only kid in her class who gets enough sleep. Many of her classmates go to bed at midnight and are still doing their homework at 11 pm. Frankly, I don't think that it's because her school gives out a ridiculous amount of homework. Even on the worst days, Smarty hardly ever spent more than 3 hours on her homework and that would be on the weekend. I think that other kids are either overscheduled with extracurricular activities or have poor time management skills. In terms of time management skills, Smarty tends to procrastinate on big projects, but she does not "dilly dally" with homework - she tries to get it over with as soon as possible. On average and not counting media studies projects, she spent less than an hour a day on homework last year, and that was with six homework-carrying subjects. So I feel really sorry for her classmates who definitely don't get enough sleep.
Of course, it's also possible that they don't need as much sleep. Some people do really need significantly less sleep than the recommended amount. Nicola Tesla, for example, slept 2-4 hours a night. However, I know how Smarty behaves when she does not get enough sleep - the best way to describe it would be that she gets fragile and has a hard time managing her emotions. So my goal is to make sure that she does not "skimp" on sleep. Unfortunately, she does have nights when she can't settle down until midnight complaining that her mind is "too full and too whirly" to sleep. On these rare occasions out comes melatonin that, I think serves more like a placebo. We only resort to it when we see that Smarty is beyond herself and her normal ways to relax and self-soothe will not work, even with our support.
I really hope that Smarty will be able to get a decent amount of sleep as she goes through high school. She is really good about putting herself to bed when she is tired and the time is "right" - i.e. it's no earlier than 9 pm. However, I keep hearing "horror stories" about high achieving kids staying up all night to finish a project or a paper, and I really hope that it won't be happening here. There is nothing more important than mental health, and mental health comes with enough sleep.
How many hours of sleep do your kids get and do they get enough?