Change school schedules for better sleep


A student pictured sleeping in and getting more rest.

Chloe Wagner, reporter

Science suggests that teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep. High schools start anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30. For a high school student who gets 2 to 4 hours of homework and goes to a job during the week, starting at 7:30, scientifically, is not good. 

Extensive research has been done to show how different the adolescent brain is compared to matured adults. On average, most teens receive less than 7-9 hours of sleep on a school night. According to Psychology In Action, “Individuals who have poor sleep duration during their teenage years are at an increased risk of suicide, mental health issues, and car accidents.” This poses as a danger for teens. Not only are they sleep deprived but they are also at risk for mental health issues. 

Many public schools have yet to respond to this growing issue. So, what’s the issue? Even with all the various research provided, why have schools yet to change their start times? That problem may be due to the issue of bus schedules, primary school schedules, and after-school activities and/or jobs. 

One of the many possible reasons there hasn’t been a change is due to the fact that the bus schedules would be changed. Some buses have to be at different schools and in some cases different districts. With the change of school schedules would mean the complete change of bus schedules. Buses also have to pick up primary school students, meaning primary start times would change too.

Another problematic aspect would be a disruption in after-school activities such as sports or jobs. Many students participate in district-wide sports. Sports would then have to run later. Students would also not be able to get as many hours at an after-school job. This is especially complicated for students who participate in sports and also have an after-school job. 

Even without the change in start times, there could definitely be an improvement in class schedules. By having more critical thinking courses such as Science and Math later in the day would benefit the student more than having them such as first period. By waiting until later in the day for extensive courses students are more likely to do better since they were given time for their head to “clear”. 

Of course, there are simpler options if start times can’t become later. Something students are able to do to ensure a better night’s rest and a refreshed new day could be shutting all electronics off an hour before bed. That means your phone, television, laptop, and any other device that emits a bright screen. Cutting back on snacking at night can also help improve with sleep. With less distraction and energy there is more likely a chance to get a better night’s rest. 

Sleeping with a smartphone or smart device next to you could also be a factor disrupting your sleep schedule. That reason is that it is tempting to roll over and answer any late-night texts, emails, or notifications. 

Although these are simple solutions to many problems the change in creative scheduling should be done. It can ensure in fact that students get the designated sleep they need.