Do High Schools Start too Early?

Photo Credit: Teen Life

Antonio Diaz

Photo Credit: Teen Life

Isabella Hammond

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What time do you wake up? 6:30am? 5:30am? Even earlier? The reality is, school starts at 7:15am on most days for every student who doesn’t have first period off. Your wakeup time depends on how long it takes you to get ready, your location, and your mode of transport. For most of us, that alarm clock setting may be way too early, according to many experts. So the question arises: do schools start too early?

According to Owens, Au, Carskadon, Millman, & Wolfson (2014), the average teen needs at least 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep every night, which comes easiest to them from 11:00pm to 8:00am (Owens et al., 2014, p. 2). The problem is, students today have hours of homework, clubs, sports, and chores to do that there is little time left for sleeping.

Due to a lack of sleep, teenagers now are suffering the serious consequences of sleep deprivation. As reported by Paruthi et al. (2016), regular unhealthy sleeping patterns lead to obesity, learning difficulties, and depression, just to name a few, (Paruthi et al., 2016, p. 1).

All of this has lead to experts recommending that schools start at 8:30am or later in order to compensate for the teenage sleeping schedule. However, some critics do not support a later start to the day.

The National Sleep Foundation (2018) reasons that a new start time would affect bus routes for all grade levels. Younger children would have to wait early when it is dark and come home before their parents. They additionally argue that a later start time would affect after school activities negatively. Students would have to either stay until it is very dark or miss school to attend events. This would keep teenager up later anyways, and no progress would be made towards to the health of students (“Delaying School Start Times,” 2018).

All things considered, start times are a tricky subject for our school. No matter what, sleep is very important. Even if it means putting down that homework to get an extra hour, it’s worth it. Turn off electronics at night and keep a constant sleeping schedule through the weekends, and you may notice a shift in your mood throughout the day as well as  an overall feeling of well-rested-ness.

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Works Cited

National Sleep Foundation (2018). Eight Major Obstacles to Delaying School Start Times. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/eight-major- obstacles-delaying-school-start-times/page/0/1

Owens, J., Carskadon, M., Millman, R., Wolfson, A. (2014). School Start Times for Adolescents. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/3 /642

Paruthi, S., et al. (2016). Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Retrieved from https://aasm.org/resources/pdf/pediatricsleepdurationconsensus.pdf