What starting time for school will benefit students the most academically, mentally and physically?
How the starting time for schools impacts students:
A study done by Science Advances shows that school starting later lets teenagers sleep more which improves student’s physical and mental health, attendance and academic performance. Teenagers should be getting more than nine hours of sleep but most are getting six hours and 50 minutes. Teenagers also can’t produce melatonin which is the hormone that induces sleep until later in the night so going to sleep earlier doesn’t solve the problem. Two schools in Seattle (Franklin High and Roosevelt High) changed the starting bell from 7:50 to 8:45. Students on average gained 34 minutes of sleep and final grades were increased by 4.5 percent. Teachers noticed that students were more awake and engaged in morning classes and had an easier time thinking critically. It took nearly 5 years to convince the school board to start later because with starting later, school also ends later and parents were concerned with their children walking alone in the dark. (1) Society often views sleep as a luxury, not for ambitious and active people but sleep is a biological necessity. The reason for why students aren’t getting enough sleep consists of after school activities, jobs, homework, family obligations and early school start times. Sleep deprivation can lead to many problems such as impairing ability to be alert, pay attention, solve problems, deal with stress and retain information. It heightens the risk of drowsy driving, irritability, depression, poor impulse control, violents, health complaints, consumption of alcohol, consumption of tobacco and can lower performance in academics as well as athletics. Most teenagers go through a phase where they fall asleep and wake up later than usual. Research shows that the natural time for teenagers to fall asleep can be 11pm or later. (2) Everyone can play an important role to help teenagers. Parents can set a regular bedtime and wake time including on the weekend, dim the lighting and have a media curfew. (3)
1:“Here’s What Happens When School Starts Later.” <i>NEA Today</i>, 1 Mar. 2019, neatoday.org/2019/02/27/what-happens-when-schools-start-later/.
2:“Later School Start Times: Benefits & Cons.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/backgrounder-later-school-start-times.
3:“Schools Start Too Early.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html.