High School Start Times

Topics: Sleep, High school, Sleep deprivation Pages: 7 (2678 words) Published: April 21, 2013
The debate of what time should high school start has been at large over the past couple decades. Some schools are willing to try the later start time and some are not. Research and studies of schools that start later have proven many positive opportunities for high school students. The later start times will help reduce the risk of sleep deprivation, depression, and other health concerns amongst teens. It will also help reduce absences, increase their school performance, and allow students to get the recommended amount of sleep that their bodies need. My sources include case studies of schools that have tried the later time and research of teenager sleep patterns. As children get older their school time starts earlier every few years. Elementary school’s average a start time around 9:45 a.m., middle school at 8:00 a.m., and high school at 7:30 a.m. However, as children get older they usually stay up later because if technology and their bodies being capable of staying awake longer resulting in a lesser amount of sleep than is required. With delaying the start time for high school students there is the opportunity to improve grades, reduce the risk of depression, and reduce the risk of sleep deprivation. The issue of school start times has been moiled over for many years now. Schools that have always started early may be skeptical to switching their start time even though research has proved that later start times can be beneficial to the students. Once schools try a later start time for a period of time many keep it because it has so many positive opportunities for the high school students. The later start time not only has proved positive amongst the students, but also among the parents. One study conducted in the Minneapolis School district surveyed and found that, after one year, 92% of parents indicated that they preferred the later start times (2004). Many people are skeptical at first of the switch but if you look at the research and studies done, it is obvious that the benefits far outweigh the negatives of a later start time. As stated, when children get older they tend to stay awake longer however they do not understand that they are at risk of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is an overall lack of the necessary amount of sleep. When kids have sleep deprivation they have symptoms that include but are not limited to impairments in mood, attention and memory, behavior control, quality of life, lower academic performances and decreased motivation to learn (2010). Children don’t understand the results of staying up the extra hour to watch a television show or play a video game. The effects are potentially much worse than just everyday mood and academic performance. Sleep deprivation can also cause kids to become unhealthier. This results in an increased risk of weight gain, lack of exercise, and lack of stimulants. Overall, sleep deprivation could cause children to potentially ruin their school career which could affect their future chances of getting into college. The easy argument to avoid sleep deprivation is to make kids go to bed earlier. However, today children have more video games, televisions, and phones in their bedrooms than prior years making it much harder for kids to go to sleep once in their room. The average teenager will stay up for an additional hour every night causing them to lose a total of one night’s sleep over a period of a week (2012). Telling your children to go to bed earlier and even making them get into their beds won’t force them to go to sleep due to modern technology. Also, studies on adolescent sleep patterns show that for biological reasons, teenagers generally cannot go to sleep earlier than 11 p.m. (1999). This also makes it quite difficult for teens to get in bed early enough to sleep the required amount for optimal health and wellness, which is between 8 to 10 hours, especially when the students have to wake up and be at school so early. By...
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