Schools Should Start Later for Better Sleep among Teenagers

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Depression, memory impairment, aggression, and shortened attention spans are all negative traits that no one wants to deal with. However, these traits are also seen in the majority of teenagers who struggle from the harmful disease of sleep deprivation. Teenagers do not get nearly enough sleep at night, and there is a simple solution. All high schools, including Hempfield, start entirely to early. This early start is not only inconvenient to students, it is actually harmful in several ways; so school should start at a later time.

In the Hempfield school district, the high school starts the earliest out of all the schools. Hempfield High School Starts each morning at the early time of 7:25 AM. Most students arrive at the school between 7:10 A.M. and 7:20 AM. This time is way to early, especially for high schoolers. This is not just our school, it is most schools around the country. The average start times for high schools is around 7:45 AM (Schools).

Why is it that when teenagers are around the middle school age, that they love staying up all night at sleepovers? But by the time they reach high school, teenagers do not optionally stay up for “fun”? Why is it a bigger deal if a student falls asleep in class in middle school, rather than high school? All of these questions can be answered using just a few words. Teenagers need more sleep.

According the the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, high school teenagers need around 9.5 hours of sleep a night! However, most teenagers get anywhere from 5-7 hours of sleep a night. To arrive to school on time, most teenagers wake up around 6:00-6:30 AM. While considering the average wake up time, teenagers would need to go to bed around 9:00 PM in order to enjoy all of the necessary sleep they need ( Sleep). While some teenagers stay up watching the popular media service provider, Netflix, most teenager stay awake doing tasks that they are required to do. Schools could fix this problem, by allowing students to start at 8:30 at the earliest.

Most high schoolers spend an average of 3 hours on homework each night (Bidwell). Not only does that take up a majority of their night, it makes it very difficult for students to get to bed at that luxury time of 9:00 PM. If schools think that three hours of homework is beneficial, they should consider a child’s sleeping habits. To make sleeping patterns even worse, students have more than just homework to worry about after school.

In Hempfield’s mission statement, the district claims to “engage” students to strive for success. Holding true to their mission statement, most students are involved in several clubs, honors and AP classes, activities, sports, and some students even have jobs. These activities take up not only time during the school day, but also time after school. For most athletes, practices run from after school until 5:30 PM. Students overwhelm themselves so much, trying to be the best versions of themselves, that they sacrifice getting enough sleep just to keep up with all of the everyday tasks they need to complete. Rather than “engaging” their students to be successful, Hempfield is hurting their students by forcing them to start school so early in the morning.

Even though some students are not involved with much, they still have issues with this early morning sleep schedule that has been drilled into our brains. Studies show that a few years after puberty, teenagers actually get tired later at night, and need to sleep in later in the morning. This is not just teenagers being lazy, it is actually their bodies changing (CDC). There is literally physical evidence here that rules out the opposing view that “students might just be involved in too much.” Schools should look at this evidence, and realize that they need to start their classes later.

This lack of sleep causes terribly negative symptoms that affect a student’s character, athletic ability, and learning ability, ultimately leading to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation causes so many problems young teens in. To start off, teens who suffer from sleep deprivation are at an increased risk for mental health issues. A study done by the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that for hour of sleep a teenager loses, there is a 38% increased risk for that teenager to feel sad or hopeless. In addition to mental health issues, there are also physical health issues. 55% of all accidents caused by tired drivers are caused by teenagers. While the fact that they are newer drivers may play a rule, the lack of sleep cannot be overseen (Nexus). Teenagers need their sleep in order to function.

It is obvious that sleeping is extremely important to teenagers. If schools could just start school later, even just by an hour, teenagers could get the sleep they need to function at their very best. If every high school throughout the country started later than they do now, I truly believe that teenagers would have a way better chance of getting enough sleep. By making a simple, yet powerful, change to the everyday schedule of high school students, schools could help teenagers both mentally and physically.

Cite this paper

Schools Should Start Later for Better Sleep among Teenagers. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/schools-should-start-later-for-better-sleep-among-teenagers/

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