Teenagers need sleep and only an estimated 15% get the required number of hours each evening. This startling statistic is why schools desperately need start school later in the morning. Kids are recommended to have 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the more sleep you get the less likelihood of experiencing depressed moods, tardiness, and absenteeism; also better grades, reduced risk of drowsy driving and reduced risk of metabolic and nutritional deficits, including obesity.
To support my idea, a study by Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom at the University of Minnesota changed seven high schools from a 7:15 am start to a 8:40 am and found an improvement in attendance, daytime alertness, and decreased student-reported depression. Obtaining a minimum of five or more additional hours of sleep each week made life changing improvements in the health of these students.
“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” Anne Wheaton, the lead author and epidemiologist in the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Population Health, “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”
In my opinion, I’m always sleep deprived, and so are many of my friends. In order to complete my homework and participate in extracurricular activities, I fall asleep around 10:40 pm and wake up at 6:15 am. I only receive 7.5 hours of sleep, which is already under the recommended amount! The side effects of sleeping less than the recommended number of hours is that I can never focus on academics in my morning classes because I always feel exhausted and have to try very hard to stay awake.
Even changing the start time by an hour or two can drastically impact the student’s mood. Reported by New York Times, teenagers who regularly sleep eight to nine hours a night learn better and as I have said before, are less likely to be tardy, get in fights and sustain athletic injuries. Also, teenagers have a later release of sleep hormones, which means that they don’t tend to feel drowsy until around 11 pm. Meaning that they must sleep in later in the morning. However, changing school start times can be challenging for some students and families.
Moving the school start time later could interfere with student’s extracurricular activities, jobs and impact families’ schedules as the older sibling may not be home in time to watch over younger siblings. But, I think most teenagers will agree with me that by making the school day start later everyone will be in a better mood, get better grades, and have better attendance. Now, isn’t that what every school wants?
"Why School Should Start Later in the Morning." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.
"School Start Time and Sleep." School Start Time & Sleep- National Sleep Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.
"To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In." Well To Keep Teenagers Alert Schools Let Them Sleep In Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.