School Should Start Later

Kaitlyn Chan, Guest Writer

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Have you ever felt so comfortable in bed you wouldn’t get up? How about sleeping in the car, yet it’s a minute drive.  Even falling asleep in class after a short night of sleep.

Teachers are supposed to assign 45 minutes of homework per subject, so that adds up to 4.5 hours, though usually there’s much more homework than that.  When school ends students also have after school classes or sports, or they have to wait for their parents to end work and pick them up. Then when they get home, it’s already 4:30 PM and students are just starting to do homework.  It’s 8:30, but students still have to eat dinner, take a shower, study, or practice their skills, like piano or violin, so that’s even longer. The students just finished their work. After a long day, don’t you think they would like to play or go on their devices for a while?  But even if they don’t, it’s already 11PM, time to sleep. According to the Parent Toolkit website, “7th graders should sleep for approximately 9 hours and 15 minutes every night,” it goes on to state that, “to achieve this goal, a student who needs to be up by 6:15 AM to get ready for school should be in bed no later than 9PM.”  But that’s not the case for many people, “Ooohhh I don’t sleep at a specific time, but it’s no later than 2:00 AM.  I wake up at… um 6:00 AM, yeah I don’t get much sleep,” Darian Torrell (9) said.”  Luckily, most students aren’t that extreme, “I wake up at 6:45 and I go to bed at either 11 or a little past,” Lauren Sabin (8) said.

Statistics show ⅔ of middle school students get less than 7 hours of sleep each night.  43% of public middle school start before 8:00 AM, so then 33% of students report falling asleep in school.  A new study from Singapore shows that when schools start later, attendance and graduation rates go up, and the student’s health is better.  The Singaporean study backs previous research from the West saying additional sleep boosts psychological, behavioral, and academic benefits for middle/high schoolers.  For the first time, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has sent 1,000 scientists and researchers to study this subject. They have found that chronic sleep loss has led to poor school performance, a higher risk of depressive symptoms, obesity, cardiovascular problems, risk taking behaviors, and athletic injuries, and that’s only a handful.  According to a JCSM, or Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, study, crash rates fell by 16.5% in two years after a school district changed its start times an hour later.

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