Should School Start Later?

Andraya Trutna, Reporter

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Sleep is often viewed as a luxury that the active and ambitious cannot afford but it is a necessity that is just as important as eating or exercising regularly. Although sleep is essential, adolescents today are commonly faced with a disease called sleep deprivation.

School start times are a major factor in causing sleep deprivation so should we delay them? High school should definitely start later and here are some reasons why.

Teenagers should get around nine hours of sleep at night for optimal performance, health and brain development but according to the Sleep Study website they average at about seven hours a night. There are many reasons of why there is such a lack of sleep and some are poor sleeping habits and active schedules but this is much more biological issue than people would think.

The Sleep Study website says that when  people enter puberty their melatonin secretions are delayed and start at a later time. This means that teenagers fall asleep and wake up later. The website also had the information that because teenagers’ melatonin secretions are so delayed they usually do not fall asleep until about midway through 11 o’clock at night.

A Time magazine article states that order for minors to get their nine hours of recommended sleep they would wake up around eight in the morning.

The Clovis High starts school at 7:45 in the morning. I fall asleep around 10 p.m. at night and wake up at 5:50 in the morning in order to get ready for school in time.

According to Wendy Troxel, a certified sleep behavioral sleep medicine specialist, who did a TED talk about how school should start later, waking up a teenager at six is equivalent to waking up an adult at two in the morning. Therefore it seems harsh to start school at 7:45.

The solution for minors getting enough sleep is to simply delay school start times to at least eight thirty in the morning. According to the Los Angeles Times, the American Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control both recommend for start times to shift to this time or later.

There are issues with later start times such as changing drop off and pick up times, bus schedules and sports practice times (all topics previously covered by the Growl staff in the article Times Won’t Be Changing). Stanford Medicine states that the schools who have switched have had demonstrable improvements in the health of students.

In the TIME magazine, they say that the American Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control both said that if school were to start later then students will be more focused during the day, more alert behind the wheel, and less likely to be absent or late to school.

They also stated that when a teenager doesn’t get enough sleep they are more prone to other diseases, other than sleep deprivation, such as depression, obesity, cardiovascular problems, risk-taking behaviors and athletic injuries, just to name a couple.

High school should start later because if they did then it would greatly benefit the students and maybe even install a priority of the importance of sleep in a teenager’s mind.

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Should School Start Later?