In school I have always noticed that my peers and classmate seemed stressed and drowsy throughout the day, with me being no exception. These symptoms typically had to do with the amount of sleep everyone got, which was as large as 7 hours and as little as 3 hours. With the school start time being the reason for these small amounts of shut eye, it has begged the question, “Does school start too early?” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S. started before 8:30 a.m. This shows that the majority of schools in the U.S. starts too early. Therefore, with the many problems that are consequences of school starting too early, I propose that schools should start later with numerous studies to back up this claim.
Kids are overwhelmed throughout the school year due to their lack of sleep and large amounts of homework. This also includes the ever growing social media platforms that adolescents use, which aid in falling asleep. As a result, this causes the student to become drowsy and tired. However, getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance. The proportion of high school students who fail to get sufficient sleep, which is 2 out of 3, has remained steady since 2007 according to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report. Therefore, 2 out of every 3 students do poorly in school due to their lack of sleep, which diminishes student’s capabilities.With school starting too early it makes kids who are trying to learn have less learning capabilities because their brain is not being used to its full capacity because of the time of day. This problem causes children to learn material in class at a much slower pace, this is shown in many studies that kids do much more poorly in school when it starts early compared to school who start a little later, like one or two hours. As students’ performance drops, their stress levels tend to increase, causing them to sleep even less due to their school related stress. In 2014, the CDC Newsroom stated that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement urging middle and high schools to modify their start times to begin no earlier than 8:30 AM in order to aid students in getting sufficient sleep and improve their overall health. In addition to this, school start time policies are not determined at the federal or state level, but at the district or individual school level. Adolescents who sleep early or late can benefit with the amount of sleep they were provided with, because with kids who sleep late at night, they usually are on social media for long extended periods of time, and or doing homework. Comparatively, to kids who sleep early because they have completed their homework or have just given up on the process, this then causes more absences and poor academic performance, all because of a stressful night in cooperation with sleep deprivation. With these two different sleep schedules, it doesn’t change the fact that students feel more awake and energetic around 9 and 10. If kids slept earlier at night, would this problem that needs to be fixed or should the problem of kids learning at school falling, lie somewhere else. The urge to push the start time later has tons of benefits and although it is possible for children go to sleep early, the fact that their internal clocks and gadgets keeps students from sleep remains.
15% of teenagers get the sleep that they need, and more than twenty-five percent of teenagers sleep less than 6 hours a night (Graham). The problem stems from the fact that school starts as early as 7:30 A.M. If school hours were altered, students would feel healthier and work more efficiently for themselves than they currently are. Additionally, many administrators are complaining that large amounts of their students are constantly tardy due to inadequate sleep and ditch school because they are already late for class. Most schools like my old high school, Redlands High School, even implemented a policy in our school that stated that if you are tardy to a certain class, you are required to go to the detainment room and sit there until next period. Consequently, this policy would leave students with a 0 in class participation for the day. In comparison to any other class period, the class period that students are most tardy to is their first period class. This is because students do not get to school on time since they oversleep because they aren’t getting enough sleep. According to the study of Lawton, the high school students that they surveyed weren’t sleep deprived because they were staying up later. In fact, they were going to sleep at about the same time as they would when school started later. However, the sleep deficit caused by having to wake up earlier puts them at significant risk of school time sleepiness. This means not only are students missing out on classroom lessons, but they may be at risk for nodding off behind the wheel of a car. With sleepiness it can cause an effect that can put the lives of yourself and others. So to put it into perspective, even students who do sleep early feel the heaviness of waking up early in the morning even with good amounts of sleep. This has to do with the time of day the body feels best to work around. If the start time of schools was extended by an hour, it would be much more convenient for students to arrive at school on time. According to a study by Zorthian, attendance for every grade in a high school that was studied improved when the start time of school was modified to be one hour later (Zorthian). Therefore, if these administrators do not want students to be tardy, school should start later. The sleep deficiency of students’ today not only affects their performance in the classroom, it also affects their chances of getting into a good college. With the high standards that were set by the school board for getting into college, it is essential for students of all grades to strive for a good GPA. Schools that have a start time of 8:30 AM or later allow adolescent students the opportunity to get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights: about 8.5 to 9.5 hours (CDC Newsroom). Students are not developing with maximum capability, and in turn are not receiving the GPA that they are capable of achieving. The majority of all high school students fall asleep at school at some time in their life. It is difficult for students to retain information and to think critically while you tired or asleep. Another reason to why students do not sleep enough is due to the fact that they are up late studying or trying to fall asleep. Students come home from school to either study, eat dinner, do their homework, take a nap and then go to bed. However, teenagers also need time to relax by watching TV, talking to their friends, and running errands before going to bed.
Other reasons as to why teenagers cannot go to sleep early is because their internal clocks are wired to feel sleepy around 11 P.M. and that using their phones or other devices at night causes their bodies to no longer feel as tired as they should naturally. When it comes to our internals clocks, studies show that high school students’ natural time to fall asleep is around 11 P.M. partly because they’re so mentally stimulated up from all their evening activities. This wouldn’t be a problem if they were able to sleep in a little longer. For instance, during breaks, many children stay up past midnight and wake up at 10 or 11 A.M. feeling well rested (Graham). This study shows that adolescents typically go to sleep around 11 pm which means that adolescents get approximately 6 to 7 hours of sleep before when waking up to go to school if they aren’t using their cell phones or devices before bed.
When it is time to go to sleep, many individuals will take out their devices and stay occupied. Therefore, they won’t feel sleepy for a while. This is because the brain gets confused by the screen light because it mimics the light of the sun. This causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body the signal to go to sleep. Therefore, smartphone lights have the potential to interrupt your internal clock, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep (Orzech). With this in mind, a contributing factor as to why children tend to be sleep deprived is that their smartphone lights make it more difficult for their bodies to fall asleep at night.
Summing it all up, a majority of students are tired and unproductive at school due to a large amount of sleep deprivation due to numerous reasons. One of the main factors that makes it harder to go to sleep and wake up early for school is that the lights in our phones have the potential to reduce our melatonin production and interrupts our sleep cycle that causes our body to feel tired and drowsy around 11 P.M. Another reason as to why students are sleep deprived is that the school day starts incredibly early. Most school in California start around 7:30 A.M. which causes kids to wake up and hour or two earlier to get ready for the day. With only 6 to 7 hours of sleep in a day to work with, students are damaging their health, cognitive functions, and many other aspects that allow them to critically think and retain information taught in their classes. With many studies and research papers backing up the claim that school starts too early, why haven’t the schools addressed the problem already? Many other schools that have started an hour or two later have shown significant improvements in learning capabilities and attendance. As for the school board and administrators, don’t start later, start now.
“CDC Newsroom.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, June 2015, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/p0806-school-sleep.html.
I am using it because it gives a general overview on why school should start later by listing and explaining the wrongs in making school start early. This is a reliable scholarly source because it was a government funded project to find research on the topic.
Graham, Janis. “Is Your Teen Too Tired?.” Good Housekeeping, vol. 244, no. 1, Jan. 2007, pp.
This pulls into the fact that the reason kids or adolescents sleep late is because of the use of media at the night. It talks about how when light shines on your face at night it makes it harder to sleep and that the natural sleep time for most children is around 11 making it unbearable to wake up so early to get ready for school. It is reliable because they had a Ph. d in the topic circling around it making it scholarly and reliable.
Lawton, Millicent. “Too Little, Too Late.” Education Week, vol. 15, no. 6, 11 Oct. 1995, p. 33.
Explains that kids get little amounts of sleep and that throughout the day of their education it makes them tired, grumpy making it way too late to stay up. This diminishes the ways kids learn and focus therefore, it pushes kids making it harder to progress in their education. It is reliable because it is from a someone who is knowledgeable on the topic and comes from scholarly source.
Liz, Szabo and TODAY USA. “Class Times Too Early for Teens.” USA Today, n.d. EBSCOhost,
Class starts too early from teens and makes it difficult to learn, it is an add on to my
points on why school starts early and so should be later in the day. Plays on the topic on
how the school board should change the process like others schools have. It is a reliable
source because it comes from a scholarly person who knows a lot on the subject and
therefore is credible.
Orzech, Kathryn M. et al. “Digital Media Use in the 2 H before Bedtime Is Associated with
Sleep Variables in University Students.” Computers in human behavior 55.A (2016):
43–50. PMC. Web. 17 Nov. 2017.
Kids use social media too much and that with it growing more and more, it makes it
harder for kids to fall asleep and feel more rested for school. Also talks about how kids
usually feel tired at 11 but, with them feeling tired they must go on their devices making
them have less sleep. This is reliable because she is knowledgeable on the topic and
conducted the conclusion by using statistics off a study she made from university
“Screen Time and Children.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, MedlinePlus, 24 Apr. 2017,
Give the view on how much a kid uses their devices, this ties in with how they have less
time to sleep with the growing amount of homework from school making them sleep late
and with the distraction of the internet it just adds up to why they do not get enough
sleep. It is reliable because it is from the government therefore is funded and has
Zorthian, Julia. “School Start Times.” Time, vol. 186, no. 7, 24 Aug. 2015, p. 14. EBSCOhost,
She talks about they school time at school and how if you just add an extra hour of sleep
to a child or to the start time for school, it changes the children’s work ethics and focus by
a large margin. She is reliable because he is knowledgeable on the topic of children and
the school system and that it comes from a database full of scholars specialized on their