Starting School Later Promotes Health

Charlotte Houston, Sophie Jacques, and

Imagine a morning not accompanied by droopy eyelids and foggy minds. Imagine waking up when your alarm clock goes off, and not feeling like you’ve risen from the dead. If school started later, this could be a reality.

Nearly 90 percent of teenagers don’t get enough sleep.This is mainly due to long school days, excessive amounts of homework, and extracurricular activities. Lack of sleep impacts performance in school, as well as mental health.

“In order to be well rested, a teenager needs at least 10 hours of sleep,” Biology and Physiology teacher Manoa Koepp said. Students who get less sleep experience processing deficit and loss of concentration. “I notice, in my classroom, kids who normally ace my tests will end up bombing it if they come in after cramming for it the whole night before,” Koepp said about how lack of sleep affects his students and their performance in school.

It’s not an issue with kids procrastinating, or going to bed late just because they feel like it. When teenagers hit puberty, their sleep cycle changes and it becomes almost impossible to fall asleep before 11p.m. and wake up before 10 a.m.

“I go to bed at 12:00 a.m. every night, and most of the time it’s not because my homework took that long. It’s physically impossible for me to fall asleep before at least 11:30 p.m., and waking up in the morning is even harder,” sophomore Leah Woodcox said.

The average Miramonte student wakes up at times ranging from 5:00-7:00 a.m., and some kids wake up earlier to finish homework they didn’t complete the night before or attend morning practice. However, the American Pediatric Association stated that school should never start before 8:30 a.m.

“On a normal night, I go to bed between 12:30-1:30 a.m.,” sophomore Megan Miller said. “And I normally wake up at 6:45 a.m. But on days where we have morning practice, I wake up at 5:15 a.m. On a bad night, I’ll get only an hour or two of sleep.”

A study that pushed the first bell an hour and five minutes later has shown that instead of crowding kids’ days and exhausting them even more, it’s done the opposite. Students were able to get more sleep, raising the average SAT score in the school district from 1288/1600 to 1500/1600.

The rate of on-campus fights fell and less students reported feeling depressed to the counselors. In another case, pushing the start time back resulted in a 16 percent  reduction in teenage car accidents.

Large amounts of homework and long school days stress students out and are bad for their bodies and minds. Miramonte is a high-performing school that should not only be dedicated to the success of students, but also their well-being.