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February 14, 2017

Why School Should Have Later Start Times

by Melissa Corley

Many students in Centennial High School would agree that coming to school can be difficult at times because of how hard it is to wake up in the morning. In response to the bad reputation that students get for being tired in class, I believe that we should have later start times. This would be beneficial in many ways. Students would be more awake during class, have better focus and maintain their grades more easily. It is unrealistic to expect teenagers to be able to be up so early in the morning and still have the ability to function and concentrate as if they were well-rested and prepared for learning.

Of course, many schools across the country have already begun pushing back their start times and are seeing the results. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota showed a large increase in student performance when students were given extra time to recharge and be successful. Something as simple as getting more rest at night could be a game-changer for anyone who is finding themselves struggling to keep up with such a strict schedule. Late start Wednesdays are already everyone’s favorite day of the school week, so why not make it everyday?

There is more to this problem than just being tired, however. In the simplest way put, our  teenage body’s biology just can’t handle the schedule that has been placed upon us. During puberty, there is a suppression of Melatonin in the body that helps to create a regular sleep cycle. Consequently, the lack of this hormone in the body will naturally lead to teenagers falling asleep and waking up later in the day. So for as early as school starts now, it becomes almost impossible for the average teen to get an efficient amount of sleep. Without it, we’re facing threats of high stress levels and even sleep deprivation. As if that wasn’t enough, many students also have jobs or other obligations, such as clubs or sports, that they have to also maintain in the balancing act.

I believe that starting school a little later in the day would be very beneficial because it would align better with the students’ body clocks. Learning new things would come more easily to previously sleep deprived students, or for those who have jobs that preoccupy them in the afternoons. I’m not saying the schedule should be shortened or drastically changed, just moved to assist the students during a busy time in their lives. When it comes to teaching growing minds, it is only logical to teach them properly when it most makes sense.

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