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Schools' start times should be later

posted Nov 17, 2016, 11:20 AM by Makenna Beesley

You walk in right as the bell rings, and even though you’re at school physically, you’re not there mentally. Most students are now found to be borderline “pathologically sleepy” according to a study done by American sleep researcher Mary Carskadon.

According to this study, 40 percent of public schools start before 8:30 a.m., which plays a clear part in students’ daily schedules. Middle and high school students are supposed to get between 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep, but the study found they are usually getting significantly less, which can lead to a higher rate of obesity, depression, bad grades, and a lower quality of life.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” Anne Wheaton, the lead author and epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Population Health, said. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

According to an article in “The Atlantic”, teenagers’ internal clocks operate differently. It’s harder for teens to fall asleep in the early evenings, but they would need to sleep then because of the schools’ early start times. This  is partially why teens are getting less sleep. Approximately 9,000 students with later start times were also researched and were found to have boosts in attendance, test scores, and grades and a decrease in substance abuse and symptoms of depression.

Even if there are some negatives to having schools start later, such as issues with scheduling after school activities, the benefits are far greater. More sleep, better grades, and a better overall quality of life are just a few things that I feel are more important than anything that would go wrong with changing the school times. After all, not only will students have more time to sleep, but so will teachers. This is something where everyone will benefit, and I hope this is a policy that can be enacted for the betterment of all students in the United States.


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