Students throughout the country are failing school, becoming depressed, and suffering socially all because schools start as early as 7 a.m. in the morning. Most students do not get enough sleep due to homework, sports, and extra curricular activities. Lack of sleep can result in tardiness, slow development, and bad grades. Making teenagers wake up that early in the morning can also result in car crashes and falling asleep in class. Teenagers need more sleep to help their biological clock and growth and development. Schools should start later to benefit students behavior, tardiness, learning, and mental and physical development.
Most schools in the United States start around 7 a.m. in the morning. For many, this is a very early time to wake up. Especially if you’re accounting for how long it takes teenagers to get ready and drive to school. Schools buses run and pick up kids as early as 6:30 a.m. Students are waking up extremely early for school. Waking up so early also does not help the fact that students are staying up late due to busy schedules. Some students go home after school just to go straight to their sports practice or do hours of homework. Kids are not getting enough sleep which can result in almost immediate damage to their health. The preconceived notion that sleeping drastically improves someone’s health isn’t anything we haven’t heard before (Lewis, D.). Scientists recommend eight hours of sleep to maintain a healthy body and brain to function normally and be alert. Everyone seems to know this except school officials.
As students begin to decrease in the amount of sleep they get per night, they start to sleep in and miss school. Most go to school but then sleep through lectures and quizzes. As seen in the Children’s National Medical Report in 2014, absences among young students crippled 15% at a participating school in Idaho who started school later (Lewis, L.). Students are more likely to come to class in general at facilities that started towards 8:30 a.m. Attendance and enrollment rates soared and known student depression fell as a result of starting schools later in the morning (Sleeping Foundation). Teenagers are often looked at as adults and are expected to behave as so but, many people seem to forget that their bodies are still developing and growing.
As students sleep more, they become alert and pay attention more in class. Students are less likely to fall asleep during lecture, engage in conversation, and understand what is going on. Emily Richmond commented on her research saying:
“Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,000 students at eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming and found that shifting the school day later in the morning resulted in a boost in attendance, test scores, and grades in math, English, science, and social studies. Schools also saw a decrease in tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression. Some even had a dramatic drop in teen car crashes.”
Richmond goes on to explain how getting more sleep made teenagers more alert on the roads and in class. Many kids had boosted their grades after the school started later. In high school, this is especially important for kids who are preparing for standardized tests like the ACT or PSAT. When obtaining eight hours of sleep or more, students are more likely to be on time and more tentative during testing (Vaznis).
Students are more likely to become clinically depressed as a result of schools starting so early. Their grades slowly drop and so does their attention span. Research has developed reason to believe that a lack of sleep could potentially cause car collisions, depression, suicidal tendencies, drug abuse, and a decrease in grades (Vaznis). For kids who are planning for college and studying for standardized testing, it is important for students to get more than 8 hours of sleep. Most can’t just “go to bed early” due to extra activities. Depression has rapidly increased among high schools students with sleep deprivation being one of the main causes. Starting school later would benefit students sleep schedule and their health. Lisa Lewis concluded that:
“Compared to other strategies for boosting performance, delaying the start of the school day is easy and efficient. Teny M. Shapiro, an economist at Santa Clara University, estimates that a one-hour change produces the same benefit as shrinking class size by one-third or replacing a teacher in the 50th percentile of effectiveness with one in the 84th percentile.”
Starting schools later in the day can positively impact a teenagers development, alertness, grades and attendance. Mental and physical growth are two very important things to a child’s development and sleep deprivation affects both. Many students stay up late in the first place due to activities, sports, hobbies, social life, and homework. Schools should start no later than 8 a.m. to benefit future generations and their growth and development.
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