High School Should Start Later Essay Example
Most adults argue that high schools start at a reasonable time, however, high schools should start at a later time because students are sleep deprived, underperforming in school, and changing the start times has had a very positive effect on schools that have.
First of all, because students have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to school on time, they are sleep deprived. According to the article “Sleep in Middle School and High School Students,” from the Centers for Disease Control, a group teenagers who were asked how much sleep they get each night, 7 out of 10 said that they were getting less than the recommended amount of sleep ( “Sleep in Middle School and High School Students”). It is alarming that about 70% of students today aren’t getting the recommended minimum amount of sleep. Pushing back start times in schools could give them some much needed rest. Also, in an article from the Stanford Medicine News Center, Doctor Rafael Pelayo, from the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine says, “Yet when they enter their high school years, they find themselves at schools that typically start the day at a relatively early hour. So their time for sleep is compressed, and many are jolted out of bed before they are physically or mentally ready” (Richter). When school starts at 7:30, teenagers are startled awake to the unpleasant sound of an alarm before their growing body is ready.
Additionally, as a consequence of not getting enough sleep, many students underperform in school. The article, “Among Teens, Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic” by Ruthann Richter also states, “‘I think high school is the real danger spot in terms of sleep deprivation,’ said William Dement, MD, PhD, founder of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, the first of its kind in the world. ‘It’s a huge problem. What it means is that nobody performs at the level they could perform,’ whether it’s in school, on the roadways, on the sports field or in terms of physical and emotional health” (Richter). When students are sleep deprived, they cannot be expected to be wide awake and eager to learn. Yawns and thoughts of getting back into bed will crowd their minds. Furthermore, according to science writer and information specialist, Eric Suni, the article “Can School Performance Be Improved With Good Sleep?” says, poor sleep can cause decreased attention, impaired memory, slowed processing, worsened sequential thinking, and reduced creativity (Suni). When students are experiencing all of these symptoms, it can be extremely difficult to learn. Students should not be expected to perform at 7:30 A.M. at the same level they would at 1:00 P.M..
In addition to the previously mentioned information, there have been many positive impacts on high schools that have pushed their start times back. Data was collected from two Seattle high schools who pushed their start times from 7:50 to 8:45. They used Actiwatches, which are similar to Fitbits, to track students’ sleeping. James Urton from the University of Washington says, “This boosted the total amount of sleep on school nights for students from a median of six hours and 50 minutes, under the earlier start time, to seven hours and 24 minutes under the later start time” (Urton). In these two schools, pushing back start times gave students significantly more sleep, helping their sleep schedules to be closer to the amount of sleep they get on weekends. Science writer Silke Schmidt also evaluates this data, but instead of sleep cycles, she looks at test scores. She says, “On a scale of 0 to 100, their median scores increased from 77.5 to 82.0” (Schmidt). With pushing the start times back a mere 55 minutes, test scores increased significantly. An extra half hour of sleep may not seem like much, but it can have a substantial impact on performance in school.
Some argue that students can just go to bed earlier to get more sleep. However, Ruthann Richter from Stanford Medicine also says, “The researchers also noticed that as the kids got older, they were naturally inclined to go to bed later…. Their circadian rhythm — their internal biological clock — shifts to a later time, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.” (Richter). Because of the shift in teenagers’ circadian rhythms, students can’t simply go to bed earlier. Pushing back start times is the only way to give them more sleep.
Everyone needs a good amount of sleep to function on a basic level properly. When students are jolted awake by their alarms when the sun hasn’t risen yet. Sleep deprived students are underperforming in school, and pushing pack start times have had many positive effects. The expectation for students to start school before 8:30 is much too high and should be changed immediately.