Let Students Sleep

Amberlee Mercado

A student sits in their first period, as the teacher seems to drone on. The student struggles to stay awake and alert as the class continues. Their eyes close for a few seconds as they drift off before snapping them open in attempt to stay awake. This happens a few more times before the student glances at the clock. 7:50, they had been in class for less then half an hour. A sigh of frustration escapes from their lips, as they would trade anything to be back in bed. This is a typical morning for many teenagers.

It is no secret that teenagers do not get enough sleep, and schools starting as early as they do play a large factor in this. Nationwide Children’s Hospital states that the average amount of sleep teenagers get is 7- 7.5 hours a night, when they need around 9 – 9.5 hours. The lack of sleep can cause negative impacts on mood, make them more prone to risky behavior, and effect things such as attention and memory. Not to mention that it also tends to have a negative effect on student grades. In other words, sleep plays a large impact on teenager’s lives. The lack of it can be damaging.

Yet, the lack of sleep is not completely a teenager’s fault. Teenager brains are still in process, and puberty changes their internal clock. National Sleep Foundation explains that biological changes put most teens on a later sleep- wake clock. They become more prone to stay up later and sleep in more.

“As a result, when it is time to wake up for school, the adolescent’s body says it is still the middle of the night, and he or she has had too little sleep time to feel alert,” (National Sleep Foundation/ Backgrounder: Later School Start Times.)

Mr. Angell states the studies are true and he believes that school starting later would be beneficial. He also explains that it is not the only factor in why students stay up late. Things such as social life, homework, and jobs are also contributing factors. He also explains that students are more likely to fall asleep in first and second periods than in later classes. Apparently, one first period was so bad that he had to go to administration to make sure it did not happen again. Luckily, they took his advice.

“One year, I had an AP chemistry class as first period. And after that one year, I told them never to schedule it like that again. And they never did.”

A comment on a board meeting in January 2016 asked why Granite School District keeps school starting early. They responded that they had looked into it, and that there would be drawbacks to starting later. Things such as extracurricular activities having to be pushed back, and how difficult and expensive it would be to reschedule the buses.

Still, the debate goes on. As long as school starts as early as it does, it will continue to have negative impacts on students. As time goes on, and after more research; hopefully the district will change their minds.