School Start Times

School Start Times, are they too early? Should they be changed? These are questions that many are asking across the country.

Many students are being negatively affected by school start times. In the words of the CDC, “teenagers ages 13-18 should regularly sleep 8-10 hours. Adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, to drink alcohol, to smoke tobacco, to use drugs, and they also might have a poor academic performance.” Also, according to The Sleep Foundation, “the average teenager falls asleep anywhere from 11 pm to midnight.” Which means that if the average high school in the U.S. starts at around 7:30 am, many students are barely getting enough sleep. The percentage of U.S. high school students who don’t get enough sleep grew from 69% in 2016 to about 77%.

There are some ways that teenagers can make sure they get to bed at a reasonable time though in order to make sure they get enough sleep and are well rested for the day to come. For starters, teens should do their very best to avoid caffeine as well as any electronics right near bedtime. Many available studies have also shown that regular exercise can help teens or anyone else improve how well they are sleeping. However, the exercise should not be done within 3 hours of someone’s bedtime. The reason for this is that exercising increases your body temperature, and the lower your body temperature, the easier it is to fall into a deep and restful sleep. Yet another reason that school start times aren’t the best is because the average teenager’s brain isn’t fully awake and engaged until between 9 am and 10 am, and as stated above, the average high school in the U.S. doesn’t start until 7:30 am. Which means those morning classes may be a struggle too many students.

Teenagers not getting enough sleep could become very problematic for many reasons unless we try to do something about it soon. So, are school start times too early? Should they be changed?