How Early is Too Early For School?


Allison Wehinger

A crowded Oakdale hallway with a clock displaying an early morning time.

Allison Wehinger, Editor

According to, most public high schools in the U.S start classes between 7:30 to 8:30 am.  While people may think this is a reasonable start time for schools, some people have been speculating that school starts too early for teenagers. 


Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine have been studying the importance of sleep in teens. These scientists suggest that teens need more sleep than the average amount that kids need, but when high school starts earlier in the morning for students it becomes difficult for students to get the amount of sleep they need to function and focus during school hours.


There are many disadvantages to school starting earlier in the day for students. Freshman, Emily Vasquez Perla, voices, “Some disadvantages we get as students going early to school is [that] our brains don’t work as it would if we had more sleep. Scientist[s], and I can agree with this, say [that] humans need at least 8 hours of sleep. If we get enough rest, I do believe that students could work better.” 


There may also be reasons why students like starting school early. Some believe that starting earlier in the day gives teenage students more time to fit after school activities or jobs into their schedule. Freshman, Connie Butler, says, “You get out of school earlier in the day and don’t have to stay later during the day, you also have more time to do your homework and other activities.”  


According to Nemours Teen Health, an average teenager needs anywhere between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep from school starting too early can cause problems for teenagers in the morning when they are trying to stay focused during class.


Later school days are better for the physical health and mental development of teenagers compared to days that start earlier in the morning. Vasquez Perla comments, “Some advantages [of] going to school later is that we’re able to go to school with a well rested mind, ready for our lessons or ready to take a test, knowing you were able to think and check everything you’ve done.”


Although earlier start days may affect students’ mental and physical health, later start days cause students to get out at a later time and may not be able to do homework or after school activities. No matter the result of the debate, high schools should find a balanced time to start their school days for students.