Pushing High School Start Time Later
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Many people lack many things, but the most lacked issue within a high school is sleep. Walk into a high school classroom, and I guarantee there is someone in the back with their head down, taking a nice nap. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly. Most teens do not get this much sleep. Teenagers’ body clocks are skewed later than children and adults. Some teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 or even later, which makes it hard to get enough sleep and get to school on time. Lack of sleep increases levels of adrenaline, making teens feel wired, edgy and stressed. That physical stress combines with the psychological stress of homework, social stress, overscheduled extracurricular activities, pressure to perform, and responsibilities of adulthood that can feel overwhelming. And stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep, creating a cycle of sleep debt that is hard to break out of.
The National Wide Children’s Hospital states that on average teens get between six and seven hours of sleep a night. To have full body and brain function teens need to have around eight to ten hours of sleep. This for many teens seems unachievable, because of homework, tests, and sports. With lack of sleep comes having trouble focusing on learning, students literally cannot focus, and that can reflect on their grade. TIME Magazine did a survey with high schools and teens for starting time of school. On average school starts at seven o’ clock each morning. The result, TIME Magazine concluded that school for high school students should not start any earlier than eight thirty.
This is why I believe that we should start school later for all high schools, yet extend the school year. I asked thirty of my classmates, and all but three said they would rather start late, but extend the school year by two weeks or so. That’s a whopping 90% of students would be in favor. Many of the students are on board, but there was still one other group of people that I needed to get it approved by, the teachers. I asked nine teachers if they would want to start school later, but it would be extended by the number of days. As to my surprise all of them but one said yes. The reason for the one teacher was he was a morning person and would personally like to start his day early. Lack of sleep is affecting many, not only students, but also teachers. Pushing school start time forward can improve everyone’s physical and mental health immensely.
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