Starting School Later: Why Should School Start Later

Categories: High school

Have you ever driven past the big sign on the motorway projecting the words; 'Tiredness can kill. Take a break'? Don't you find it paradoxical that the government warn us about tiredness yet implement no legislation to help combat the sleep-deprivation crisis among high-schoolers? Students across the globe face the dreadful task of waking up every morning with only seven or so hours of sleep, which is nowhere near the recommended amount of nine and a half hours. Countless studies have shown a wide range of benefits for schools starting later including; improved academic performance, less reliance on caffeine and other academic performance-enhancing drugs as well as reduced health risks - both mental and physical.

As a student in the education system, I have witnessed the importance of sleep as we frequently complain about lack of hours we're getting and attempting to catch up during our lunch breaks. I will discuss why schools should start later and how it can benefit our health and performance.

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On any given school day, adolescents around the nation stumble out of bed and begin the dreadful task of getting prepared for school. We beg and plead for an extra five minutes of sleep, but we know, inevitably, that our parents will never give us our way. However, paediatricians have done extensive work and studies into the way our natural body clocks work and have found that adolescents naturally produce their sleep hormone (melatonin) at 11 pm. Their melatonin levels stay raised later in the mornings, which is why it's so painful for teens to wake up early.

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Still, with this data, students all around the world have become submissive to the fact that sleep is an elusive asset, and we need to accept that it cannot be changed. This mentality is wrong. Luckily, some schools are starting to recognise the importance of sleep and have shifted their starting times, so their students get their required hours of sleep. When the later school times were implemented, they began to notice that their students were more alert, focused, and their memory and cognition abilities improved. They became more engaged in class, tardiness and absences decreased, and their final grades increased by 4.5%. They also theorised that the delayed start times might even lead to a reduction in the achievement gap between different socioeconomic backgrounds, which could potentially be ground-breaking news. It is common knowledge that schools strive to make their students happy and to enrich their desire to learn.

Schools can achieve these goals if they are willing to delay their starting times, even if it's just thirty minutes later. Opposing views may argue that this switch in school times would affect their extracurricular activities. However, these activities are either organised by the school, so it would naturally adjust to the new school times, or they tend to start later, around 6 o'clock, anyway.

Every day, 90 million cups of coffee are being consumed in the UK alone, and I'm sure you probably contribute to that result. It's not a bad thing, don't worry, but us teens have formed this ideology that coffee and other caffeine-related substances can increase our performance and concentration levels. This increase in concentration is partly true; however, caffeine has many disadvantages.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Starting School Later: Why Should School Start Later. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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