Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Should teenagers be able to sleep themselves through their school years?

Noon – Rest from Work (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (after Millet), Public Domain,
Noon – Rest from Work (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (after Millet), Public Domain,

No, I’m not referring to boring teachers. Rather, it seems that teenagers need to sleep longer to function (and learn) well. Science now says that optimally, teenagers should sleep 8 – 10 hours per day! California just passed a law forbidding school to start too early. Good for them for doing a little bit more what’s right for kids. Many generations will profit.

I remember that until I was 15 (in 1968, the Netherlands), I needed to go to bed at 8 PM (which I hated) and wake-up time was 6:45 AM (which I hated). After 15, I was allowed to stay up until 8:30 PM. No kidding. But when I told my Israeli high school kids, 40 years later, that mobile phones had not improved the brains of people into needing less sleep than I needed at their age, that 11 PM must be way too late, they laughed. Daddy is so old-fashioned.

Not only that, Israeli society trains everyone to sleep too little, too late. My kids sometimes learned through the night — just before important Jewish days as an extra effort at repentance. In the army, the more responsibility you get, the fewer hours of sleep they give you. (There’s a mandatory minimum of 6 hours (which is way too little) but not for commanders who frequently, in 3 days, don’t get a total of 8 hours.) While Europe drinks itself legless “for fun,” (I abhor all attempts, just for profit, to normalize the consumption of alcohol in Israel; no, beer is not cool and wine is not chic — to have those is stupid.) Israelis use legal speed all the time: chocolate (milk, cookies, cake), coffee, cola, sugar. A People of Speedy Gonzaleses.

Talking of too little sleep time for kids, scientists suggest that too much screen time is also not OK. I doubt it. These are all statistical correlations, not causal ones. No one believes that one becomes shy from being too much on the phone or pc. Rather, the causality must be the other way around. This is not to say that physical activity and playing/talking with friends are not crucial. When my kids pleaded to sit behind the computer, I almost always took a ball and said: out! All my kids gratefully have great social skills and endless amounts of non-virtual friends to every degree.

* * *

Actually, there is a divide-and-conquer reason for the different times people need to wake up and return home in the industrial world.

First, the manual workers will travel. Heaven forbid that an intellectual should have to share a bus or the road with them.

Then, primary-school kids. This before the white-collar workers go to and return from their offices. School is not just to train children. It’s smeared out over long schooldays and years as a form of state-sponsored “baby”-sitting. Not as a courtesy but rather, to make their parents free to join the workforce after which they can go home and care for ‘their’ kids for free.

Then, office workers commute, together with university kids.

Ever noticed, speaking of travel by the classes, that a crash in a fancy car may leave occupants unharmed while society is fine with unsafe cars that get laborers easily maimed and killed as if they are cheap and replaceable?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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