Should School Start Later?

About 80 percent of schools in the United States start their school day before eight in the morning, including many schools here in Marblehead, but teachers and students alike agree that this is much too early. A school should open its doors no earlier than 8:30 am, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, due to the risks of sleep deprivation in students.

On average, a typical teen should be getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, but many of us get much less than that, on the order of five or six hours a night. This drastic lack of sleep causes many traffic accidents, sports injuries, poor attendance rates, and poor exam scores around the globe. According to Start School Later, “kids who are tired can’t learn at their best, and sleep deprivation impairs learning, memory, and attention as much as it impairs health and overall well-being.” So why do we start as early as we do? Many argue that the early start is preparing middle and high schoolers for the real world where they will have to wake up at early hours of the morning and get to work, no matter what. The problem is, there isn’t a uniform start time for all jobs, and adults overall need much less sleep than adolescents. We also tend to blame teens themselves for their lack of sleep, mentioning that they could always go to bed earlier, but this is not an option for many teens with after school activities and sports that can go to late hours of the night. This all happens even before kids can do their homework, therefore pushing sleep back even further. This doesn’t even account for the fact that adolescents have a natural sleep schedule going from about 11 at night to eight or nine in the morning, meaning that teens end up getting way less sleep than is necessary for them to function properly and feel good in day-to-day life.

Most students and teachers agree that the school day should not start as early as it does. Starting before eight in the morning has been linked with sleep deprivation and, therefore, poor attitudes, poor academic achievement, low attendance rates, and injury. This is why school should absolutely start later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.