Tue. Aug 9th, 2022
Students sleeping while in class. Children cannot function well while on a limited amount of sleep, caused by schools starting extremely early.

*SLAM* The impact of a textbook on my desk jolts me from a blissful and relaxing nap, one I sorely needed.

My reasons? I’d had only 6 hours of sleep the night before, 3 hours short of the number the average adolescent should have.

There are two reasons for teenagers having 9 hours of sleep. First, sleep cycles last around an hour and a half, so 9 hours provides 6 cycles. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle causes increased tiredness, while timing sleep to end between two cycles increases alertness.

The second reason is that melatonin, the hormone responsible for tiredness and sleep, is naturally secreted between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Therefore, teenagers will still feel exhausted if they rise at 6 a.m., even if they had 9 hours of sleep, because they are still “biologically tired.”

I propose that schools change their start times to be two hours later, in order to allow for an adequate amount of sleep. While changing the start time will impact afternoon activities, such as jobs and sports, it’s a “necessary evil,” so to speak.

There are other ways of attacking the problem, however, instead of just tacking two hours on to the end of the day. Shortening the time between classes from 7 minutes to 5 will allow around 15 additional minutes, making the day start around 9 a.m. and end at approximately 4 p.m.

Schools in Jessamine County, in central Kentucky, have changed their starting time to be 50 minutes later, which increased attendance rates and the number students showing up on time. Mahtomedi School District in Minnesota took out time between classes in order to prevent afterschool activities from being affected by the later start time.

As proven by the other schools that adopted it, starting school later will help students focus more, as well as increase attendance and lower lunch detentions due to lateness. Therefore, I believe that our school should adopt a later start time, offset by having less time between classes, as well as ending around 4 p.m.


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