The start time of school has always been a very controversial topic, mainly regarding whether students deserve more time to sleep and therefore a need for school to start later. Many people argue against this saying that teens are capable of a good night's sleep if they go to bed on time, or that after school activities will drag on too late. Such responses lack supporting evidence and will be easily disproven throughout my writing. Others like myself believe that school should start later to provoke optimal performance, and to benefit the individuals mental and physical health. I want to argue these points because the scientific data backing the pros of more sleep is too much to ignore, and furthermore prove why school should start later. The most generic response given to this proposal is that a later start time is just not necessary, and that if teens want more sleep they should just get to bed earlier. This is an understandable retort, until facts are taken into account about the sleep cycle. According to sirs report on the teen sleep cycle during adolescence the individual does not start to feel tired until around 11pm-12am. Although an adult may find this hard to believe because commonly they begin to feel sleepy at around 9pm. Considering most teenagers wake up at 6am let's say are able to get to bed at 11pm that is only 7 hours of sleep, and The National Sleep Foundation’s analysis of teen sleep reports that they would require 9 hours of sleep to be fully functional. For school to start at this early of a time is fighting nature and illogical.
Another response to later school start comes from the principal of a Maryland High School who is questioned on his thoughts of a later start time. The principal believes that pushing the schedule of school back will create many dilemmas with after school activities. More specifically he believes that if one school did it the entire district would have to be on board in order to correlate games. I agree with this statement that such a prolific change would be a strenuous process; but when was the last time reforms were made without effort. If anything coaches would be happy to give kids more sleep considering ESPN’s article about sleep being a magic pill for athletes. In the article Scientists conducted an experiment on Stanford students originally testing the effects sleep had on performance from an educational standpoint, this is until the students who were also swimmers for Stanford “told Mah (the scientist) they set personal bests during the part of the experiment when they slept more than usual.” When this phenomenon was further studied Mah reported that over 3 seasons 11 athletes were closely monitored and told to sleep for 9-10 hours a night. When doing so researchers found that their three-point shooting percentage jumped 9.2 points, and their free throw percentage jumped by 9 points. Although it may take some time to rearrange what we already have in place for sporting events athletes will be able to perform at the highest potential they can. Aside from these arguments we can begin to inspect the many benefits that more sleep can have on a student’s performance. I already went over the benefits sleep can have from an athletic standpoint backed by ESPN, now i will jump over to the benefits sleep can have for the education of a student. In todays day and age students are tested on their ability to retain enough information in order to pass a test on the specific unit they are being taught. This type of testing mainly challenges the students ability to remember the information. Memory is strongly affected during the cycles of your sleep. Research at Harvard University proves that information finally becomes solidified in your brain only during certain stages of your sleep, over a preferred resting period of 9 hours. Which is impossible while school still starts at 7 o clock. On top of this another active part of remembering happens while you’re awake, called acquisition. This process refers to the introduction of new information into the brain, when a student is sleep deprived this process is heavily impaired according to Harvard University. Harvard also claims that sleep deprivation causes lack of attention. Therefore when being introduced new information if the student is not able to pay attention fully or acquisition isn’t at an optimal level the teacher may as well be talking to a wall. Depression is a very common thing in America and sadly there is a lot of it where we live in Barrington among teenagers. The stress of High School can be a lot for students the need to keep up with multiple classes, hobbies, and fitting in socially can be overwhelming and not leave a student with enough time to get the sleep one needs. The National Sleep Foundation finds that 73% of teenagers who report being unhappy are not getting enough sleep at night. That kind of number is too much to be ignored. If ¾ kids can not find enough time to sleep before they have school the next morning obviously something needs to be changed. Aside from mental health one can be greatly benefitted physically by getting enough sleep. I think we all remember a parent telling is that if we don’t get enough sleep we would never grow up to be big and tall. Harvard University approves that statement with studies showing that HGH, the human growth hormone, is most naturally produced during the sleep cycle, and when the optimal amount of 9 hours is reached you will get the most HGH possible out of your sleep. Hopefully in the near future school administrators are able to see this undeniable truth of the benefits gained from a good night's sleep. When adults realize that it is physically impossible to get the 9 hours of sleep needed while students must wake up at 6am and only start to get tired at 11 o clock. When the amount of sleep a teenager needs is given the improvements on personal health and educational benefits will skyrocket according to all the studies that i have provided. Although it will not be an easy job to change the time school has started at for decades with all the new studies and the growing controversy of this topic i believe change is necessary.