Updated: Nov 12
Here's Why Teenagers Should Start School After 8:30 AM
by Allison Tran
According to a CDC study from 2011-2012 that analyzed US Department of Education data, school times that started before 8:30 a.m. or later depended on the state: “No schools in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming started after 8:30 a.m” (cdc). This means more states need to be aware of students’ sleep. Although schools usually start early to accommodate parent’s work schedules, schools should start after 8:30 a.m to accommodate better sleep for teenagers to learn more effectively and promote health.
In order to learn effectively, you need sleep. As reported by the School Health Policies and Practices study in 2014, “93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S started before 8:30 a.m” (cdc). This study reveals that most students do not get the opportunity to get the amount of sleep they need, which may affect students’ performance in school. Though, most people say it is better to sleep early than late to get enough sleep, however, “adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning” (cdc). This is because many teenagers tend to have trouble falling asleep. Distractions such as screen time or thoughts may be one that is keeping them up at night. Others are because that is how their bodies function in teen years. Therefore, sleep also gives you energy in the morning to learn efficiently.
One of the most important benefits from sleep is being healthy. By being healthy, “Fuligni warns that getting different amounts of sleep each night can be bad for mental health” (Prabhune, par. 15). This shows that not only getting a regular amount of sleep is healthy but also having the same amounts of sleep daily keeps you healthy. It is also common for high school students to not get enough sleep “and [which they may be] associated with several health risks including being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs, as well as poor academic performance” (cdc). In other words, not getting enough sleep could cause health issues that affect sleep performance. This may lead to further lack of focus during school, resulting in lack of focus on information needed for assignments, leading to grades dropping. Therefore, sleeping well can benefit physical and mental health.
Many resources say, sleeping makes you feel good in the morning. According to a study by Andres De Los Reyes involving 419 students who recorded when they woke up and fell asleep for two weeks, “Everyone needs a different amount of sleep in order to feel good because of health issues” (Prabhube, par. 5,9). This research demonstrates that while some may have trouble falling asleep, others may have it easier, which represents that each person may need a different amount of sleep along with depending on how long it takes to fall asleep. Therefore, schools that start before 8:30 a.m. can cause sleep deprivation for some. Most people suppose that “if schools start later, teens will just stay up later” (Troxel). However, as Troxel states, “that's simply not what the research shows. Their bedtimes stay the same, but their wake-up times get extended, resulting in more sleep.” This shows that if schools started later, with additional time to sleep, there is a more likely chance students will feel good. Importantly, feeling good in the morning keeps people working on a daily basis.
If schools started later, then students would be able to gain enough sleep. This would result in more focus in academic learning, improvements to students’ health, and positive energy. As has been seen, with these benefits, many more students are able to accomplish better grades, which leads to greater self-confidence. In other words, sleep affects academic achievement.. Perhaps, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best when he stated, “Health is the first muse, and sleep is the condition to produce it.”
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