School times too early?


by Claire Snyder and Tony Bianchini

As most students in high school know, sleep is a privilege. While  as teenagers we should get 9 ¼ hours a sleep to be on peak performance, doctors say that anywhere from 8 to 10 is adequate ( Yet how many students get the recommended amount of sleep? In a survey conducted with 79 Oakdale students only 31%  receive the minimal amount of sleep recommended. Some say school starts too early, while others say that changing the start time would do nothing.

I believe school starts way too early. Every morning I wake up exhausted, tired, and upset, all because I didn’t get enough sleep that night. On average I get around six hours of sleep a night. Most nights after school I work, as do many other students at Oakdale, and if they aren’t working they’re probably playing a sport. Out of the students surveyed, 45% of freshman have after school activities, 71% of sophomores and of juniors have after school activities, and 69% of seniors have after school activities. With so many after school activities, this makes it difficult for students to get enough sleep at night. Imagine playing a sport, going to work, and still having homework on top of all of that. Without the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep staying awake through 80 minute classes can be a struggle.

Falling asleep in class, grades dropping, and limiting your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems can all be solved by pushing school starting times back an hour. Imagine getting an extra hour of sleep every night; how much happier would you be? Instead of waking up at 6:00 every morning, you’d be able to get the recommended hours of sleep necessary.

Some may argue a later starting time would conflict with sporting events, but there would really be no change or issues other than the athletes would be less exhausted from the school day. Games starting at the later time would make them easier for parents coming home from work to attend.

“Athletics wouldn’t be a big issue, we would have to make some adjustments, there would only be some darkness issues with sports without lights like baseball.” says Athletic Director Coach Krivos.

If school were to start at 8:30 instead of 7:30, maybe first block students would actually be able to concentrate and pay attention. First block has always been the worst for me,because I could not wake up enough. If school were to start later I believe it would benefit students, teachers, and anyone who isn’t a morning person.

As much as I would love a later start time, that presents its own problems for high school students. Say you move the school start time up to 8:30, the most popular start time based on our survey. Moving the start time back would just mean later days, and longer nights. All it would do is change the time frame that we sleep in. Yes school starts extremely early but as it should, because as a high school student you could have multiple responsibilities. Whether it’s athletics, theatre, band, a job you need time to do all of this.

The real problem isn’t the start time; it’s the fact that students aren’t getting enough sleep. Students are flooded with homework, studying, staying active, being social, and getting AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep each night. Moving the start time up simply means waking up at seven or eight o’clock exhausted instead of six o’clock. Something needs to be done about how much students are expected to accomplish in one night. Sleep is crucial, especially teenagers who are still growing both physically and mentally. So the real question is: what can be done to help our students get more sleep?

Students falling asleep in class is a growing problem.
Students falling asleep in class is a growing problem.