The Early Bird Gets the Worm!

Picture by Sheehwa You

As hard working teens struggling to get through four years of high school, it is unlikely for us to wake up in the morning feeling energized and animated. Instead, we find ourselves dazed and groggy, reaching for the snooze button or the closest caffeinated drink. A stressful day awaits us, and our body is anything but ready.

Quartz Hill High School expects their students to wake up, get ready, eat a healthy breakfast, and be mentally prepared to learn at school by 7:30 a.m. This demand seems a bit outrageous, but would pushing the school’s starting time to 8:30 a.m. really benefit us?

Schools should not begin later. Although having a later time for school to start may theoretically sound like a great opportunity to catch up on sleep, it actually has little benefit and involves a lot of work and societal change to implement.

Sleep is an essential foundation for our health and well-being and should never be compromised. Sleep deprivation is extremely unhealthy. It greatly impairs scholars physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically. The risk of depression, car accidents, and use of drugs or cigarettes all increase if teens lack rest. However, a later school starting time does not guarantee more sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a test showed that changing the school starting time from 8:25 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. posed little to no effect on the students’ amount of sleep. Averages of the amount of sleep on school nights only dropped from seven hours and nine minutes to six hours and fifty minutes. Barely any change occurred in sleep habits from the transition of the later time to an earlier time, so the same should apply vice versa.

Delaying the starting time of schools would affect the whole community and throw it off balance. Not only would the students need to change their schedules, but so would parents, teachers, bus drivers, and many more.

A later start time also means a later release time. Students with after school activities would have to reschedule. If an individual is involved in music, sports, tutoring, art, or volunteering, arrangements would have to be made to fit their new schedule. They would also have to return home later due to the delay, making the brain naturally more tired due to the increase of melatonin as an effect of the darker night environment.

This new shift would be nothing less of an abundance of stress to parents. Mothers and fathers who work are forced to consider other means of transportation for their child and or alter their coordinated schedules.
Sleep is no doubt extremely vital to developing scholars. However, it is flawed for one to believe that simply delaying the time that school starts would provide more time for sleep. It would bring little to no benefit and could be an unnecessary stressor to communities and families.