Any parent with kids can understand the struggle in order to get them up in the morning for school. Having to wake them up at six in the morning for class to start at eight is truly a battle. As a student, I can assure you that waking up early in the morning is no easy task especially after going to bed late due to homework. According to clinical sleep psychologist, Ellie McGlinchey, teenagers are not just being teenagers. Schools start time make it impossible for them to get enough sleep. Teenagers experience the suppression of melatonin around puberty which make them want to go to bed later and wake up later. Unfortunately, less than 1 in 5 middle and high schools begin at 8:30 am or later. They’re having to wake up before 6:30 am. To an adult, that would feel like waking up at four in the morning.
It is also proven that a teenagers brain doesn’t wake up until 9:00 am. According to Time Magazine, doctors have said that starting school early in the morning prevents teenagers in high school and even children in elementary school from getting a full night’s sleep. The suggested amount of hours you are recommended is from seven to nine. When children are prohibited from that due to school, it can affect their health, safety and academic performance. Chronic sleep loss also brings a risk for depressive symptoms, obesity, cardiovascular problems, risk-taking behaviors, and even athletic injuries.
Only one school around our district has converted their schedule to start at nine so their academic performance will go up. The downside is they don’t get out of school until 3:20 pm which is over an hour more than if your school started at 8:00 am. Katie Cox, a freshman at East Syracuse Minoa says, “if we started earlier, everyone would be way too tired to learn, but now that it starts at nine, we don’t have to wake up at 6:30 am and we can actually sleep.”
Every school is under pressure when it comes to test grades and even homework grades. According to Teen Vogue, studies have proven that when students get more sleep, their test scores actually go up. Even better, the lowest performing students made the biggest progress in their learning development when they had adequate sleep. School districts need to wake up and realize that instead of helping their students into becoming the best people they can be in life, they are actually hurting them instead.