Schools Consider Later Start Times


Teresa Boltri, Features Editor

As we face the beginning of the new school year, many students are already struggling with their sleep schedule.  Long hours of homework, late at night and then waking up only a few short hours later can be exhausting and is what many believe should be changed about our schools.  Sleep plays a key role in being successful in school; could starting school at a later time really help?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teenagers aged 13 to 18 years should regularly sleep 8 to 10 hours per day for good health.”  8-10 hours of sleep seems nearly impossible for students who have after school activities, jobs, and/or are taking heavy course-loads.  Not only does this sleep deprivation cause grades to slip, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees that it has physical and psychological consequences, including weight issues and signs of depression.  

When an adolescent hits puberty, their internal clock changes, making that teenager naturally inclined to go to bed later and wake up later as well.  The National Sleep Foundation says, “If sleep is incorporated into educational efforts, teens will be armed with information that will enable them to use a later school start time to their advantage.”  In other words, schools would benefit as a whole if there were later start-times because all of their students would be performing at their best academically.

Research has proven that students who attend schools that begin later than 8:30 do significantly better both in the classroom and in terms of mental health.  Many students are stressed out because they are torn on weather or not to focus on their mental health or their academic standings because they get such little sleep.  Maybe starting school later will reduce a lot of that stress.  Admittedly, I am writing this article at 12:14 am and I have to wake up in just a few short hours.  I most likely will not perform my best during the school day tomorrow, but it is the sacrifice students make to get our work done.