Schools, Open Your Doors an Hour Late

Sunday night has come, and a dark cloud of anxiety hovers over me as I lay in bed. I glance at my alarm clock beside me. The time is 11:36. I sigh, as I calculate that I’ll only have 5 and a half hours of sleep. That’s right, I will be waking up at 6:00, maybe even earlier, to get to school at 7:20.

The first bell rings too early, which causes a lack of sleep for teens. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study in the U.S. showed that 85% of teens don’t get the 8.5 hours of sleep necessary for their age group. Early school start times are the main reason why students have to wake up very early after a hectic day.

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The National Sleep Foundation explains that kids are unable to actually “do their best” because sleep deprivation causes a decreasein the ability to pay attention, solve problems, remember information, and deal with the stresses and chaos of the environment. Older teens in high school are prone to lower performance in academics and athletics, violence, and irritability. To prevent all of these symptoms, schools should definitely make their starting times later. The CDC recommends that schools should start at 8:30 AM or later, but the average school time is only 8:03 AM. Because of this, only 1 in 3 high schoolers get sufficient sleep.

In summary, 15% of teens get sleep needed for optimal performance, about 18% get only a sufficient amount of sleep, and 67% suffer through sleep deprivation. Many schools have considered doing using later school start time, but have surprisingly denied the proposal and have stuck to early start time. They believe that delaying the start of school will increase transportation costs. Also, some schools believe that altering a school’s timings will negatively affect student’s after school schedule. Finally, some people feel that if schools start later, the students will sleep later and no change will be made.

However, if school start times are pushed back, the students will adjust after school and during sleep. The transportation costs may not be an issue either if all schools in a district make the timing change. It is evident that numerous middle and high schools start way too early for the kids that attend. For all we know, delaying the time that school starts could increase the education of millions of students, and eventually, boost our dwindling ranking of the most-educated nations. School starting very early makes students miserable in the morning, and they feel as though school is worthless as they cannot be alert at that time of day.

I know exactly how they feel.