The Official Newspaper of Mayfield High School

The Paw Print

Opinion: Studies show more sleep needed, start school later

Students miss valuable instruction when they fall asleep in class.  This happens too often due to the early school start time.

Photo by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Students miss valuable instruction when they fall asleep in class. This happens too often due to the early school start time.

Emily Byrne, Guest Writer

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Eighty-five percent of teens do not get the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep each night and 75% of these teens blame it on school starting too early.

You may be thinking to yourself, this is awful, why has nobody come up with a solution for this problem that affects so many? The solution is actually very simple: Schools need to extend their start time from before 8 to at least 8:30.

To show how horrible it actually is to start school so early, Gail Marksjarvis of the Chicago Tribune explains the effects school starting so early can have on adolescents. “Other studies have linked sleep deprivation of adolescents with obesity, depression, and other problems, and shown that later starting times contribute to higher graduation rates,” she wrote.

If all of these problems can be fixed so easily, why aren’t all schools taking part in this revolutionary change? Schools are concerned about the economic factor, what with the costs of new bus schedules, when in fact they should not be.

Wendy Troxel, a sleep researcher from NPR News, contributed a piece of her discoveries. “We found nationwide, if such a move were to occur, that this could contribute up to around $83 billion to the U.S. economy over a decade span,” she wrote.

By the same token, the assistant principal of Mayfield High School, Brian Linn thinks, “Kids could get a little bit of a later start on the day and be more active and engaged. I think it would be a more positive shift,” Linn said.

Additionally, Marco Ochoa, a ninth grade student, weighs in negatively on how early school starts. “7:35 is a random and it doesn’t help people because people sleep through the first few periods, and my brain doesn’t wake up,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa also contributed by sharing the effects school starting early had on him personally. “It affected my schoolwork and I blame it on school times,” Ochoa said.

He is not alone. Up to 75 percent of teens blame their failures in school on school start times, according to the New York Times.

Moreover, schools need to push their starting times later. There are many positive sides for school starting later as well, including a report from the University of Minnesota, Kyla Wahlstrom of SFChronicle wrote, “Results from schools that switched to a late start time are encouraging. The students do in fact get more sleep, tending to go to bed at the same time but getting to rise a bit later in the morning. Not only does the teens’ use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol decline; their academic performance improves significantly with later start time,” she wrote.

Additionally, Linn joined the pro-later school time party by sharing his doubt on whether this was okay for students. “I think that start times have shown that later start times could potentially be more beneficial, whether it be for students getting to school on time, and also being more active and awake at school,” Linn said.

Furthermore, parents yell at their children all the time and take away TVs and phones expecting them to go to bed early when in reality, it is not something that they can control. Wahlstrom wrote, “The unique sleep/wake pattern of teens is beyond their control. Just expecting teens to minimize distractions and go to bed earlier is not a solution.”

I blame student failure on school start times and you should too. Schools should not be starting at the crack of dawn because I strongly believe you will not reach a student’s full potential if you ask them to do loads of work before their mind is even awake.

“I think that research has shown that later start times could potentially be more beneficial, whether it be for students getting to school on time, and also being more active and awake at school,” Linn said.

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The Official Newspaper of Mayfield High School
Opinion: Studies show more sleep needed, start school later