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The Reasons Why Should School Start Later

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What time did you go to sleep last night? Later than 10? 11? 12! Why, was it because of something school related? After a long exhausting day of learning, with a sport or after-school activity immediately after and an addition of a couple hours worth of homework. No one can blame you, that is way too much work in such little time because soon your alarm clock will be ringing and thats why schools should start later, because students need more sleep which provides higher grades and decreases various health issues.

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If schools do us the justice by starting later, then the students will have the opportunity to sleep the recommended amount which can raise test grades. If we were to start school later, academic GPA (grade point averages) would definitely increase. Isn’t this what we want in all schools? For instance, in the text it states “One study found almost 46 percent of teens are sleepy during the day, and 56 percent have trouble concentrating in school at least one day a week… teens who are regularly tired have lower grade point averages than more-awake students”. This shows that the more sleep you get, the more awake and alert you are, leading you to perform higher on academic assessments. Another example, is “59 percent of sixth- through eighth graders and 87 percent of high school student in the United States aren’t getting the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night” and “Studies shows that well-rested teens get better grades and have higher standardized test scores” . Therefore, students must obtain a minimum of 8.5 hours of sleep per night in order to achieve better grades and have the ability of paying attention and having a longer attention span.

In addition to higher grades it is also better for one’s health. In order for your body to grow and develop you have to get enough sleep. If you don’t consume enough sleep it will lower the immune system and increase one’s chances of getting ill. Also, if school starts later you will be able to have a proper and healthy breakfast. This is important for students because with their growing bodies and developing brains they need regular refueling food. When kids skip breakfast, they don’t get what they need to be their best in school and at home. For example, the lines “studies show that extreme sleep deprivation can lead to psychotic symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations in otherwise healthy individuals. This is because imbalances in neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that control thinking and other mental processes, are responsible for many mental illnesses— and lack of sleep can produce these imbalances”. This clearly shows how loss of sleep can cause severe health conditions preventing your brain from prospering and growing. Experts at the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research “estimate that more than 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. These can have a variety of medical, emotional, and environmental causes.”  Finally, in an article published by New York Times Upfront it states “Sleep is as essential as food. Hormones such as melatonin are released during sleep that help the body absorb nutrients, heal tissue, fight tumors and viral infections, and stimulate the production of immune-system cells. A lack of sleep makes the body susceptible to colds and other diseases, which can lead to school absences or worse” . This shows how all the natural healing stages are passed while you sleep and without sleeping for the recommended time then your body isn’t able to heal itself. Which can lead to various medical issues.

Later school times are extremely beneficial in many ways. But, some might say that they are concerned with the way later start times would affect sporting events and extracurricular activities. According to Ralph Hicks, Superintendent of Ashburnham,Westminster Regional School District, “The athletic games’ starting times generally revolve around getting them started early in the afternoon. Some sports fields do not have electric lighting, and rely on the sun instead” (Hartwell). The issue of electric lighting for evening sporting events presses on schools that are accustomed to getting done with school early enough to use natural sunlight, and therefore do not have the required lights, or the funding for them. Due to this fact, coaches fear late start times will cut into practice times at the end of the school day. Another concern school officials have is it would cause athletes to miss more school time due to having to leave earlier for a sporting game, meet, or match. Though these are valid concerns, research has shown many schools that have made the switch to earlier start times have had minimal to no issue with changes in sporting events and activities. 

A study conducted by Kayla Wahlstrom, Ph.D. Director of University of Minnesota Center, showed that starting schools later had a positive outcome on teenagers and athletes. Wahlstrom also said that the coaches she spoke with found the athletes were more able to remember plays and performed better physically with more sleep. It also has not been a problem to reschedule practice times, and some schools have even installed new electrical lights in outdoor complexes to allow events to go later into the evening. In an agreement throughout the districts of the schools making time changes, games were rescheduled in order for athletes to miss less class time. 

In evidence shown by the National Sleep Foundation, many of these districts have had an increase in participation in sports, and coaches across the country are in agreement that there is a visible improvement in the performance of their tea. These studies have shown that the complications with sports and extracurricular activities are very small and easy to overcome, and moving start times actually brings a positive outcome for the school’s sports teams.    

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