Later Times for Extra Zzzs

Jaclyn Narleski ‘20

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Beep!  Beep! Beep!  Your alarm is blaring, invading the serene dream you were having of relaxing on a white-sanded beach.  You slam your hand across your phone; groaning, you turn over in your twisted sheets. How are you going to make it through another 7-hour school day while only running off of 5 hours of sleep?

 

For most students, particularly in high school, this scenario haunts their mornings every weekday.  Many find themselves staying up later and later doing homework after they get home from extracurriculars. And to add onto that, they have to drag themselves out of bed at 6:00 in the morning without nearly enough shut-eye.  Not getting enough sleep could negatively impact performance in school, stunt growth, and harm the physical and mental well-being of students.

 

Schools should put an emphasis on student health and well-being since students can only perform well academically if they are rested and focused every day. In fact, the “American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later” to give students the adequate amount of sleep they physically need to function: 8 to 10 hours (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Even allowing students to sleep in for just an extra hour will have great effects on their performance throughout the day.

 

On the other hand, many argue that later school times would prohibit students from participation in extracurriculars like sports and clubs.  If the allotted time for the day is pushed back, students would have to finish school later, leaving less time for these activities. Ainsley Licata ‘20 comments, “While I would want a later start time so I could get more sleep, I wouldn’t want that to cut out time for cheerleading after school.”  However, if the school had later start times, this problem would be easily solved. Many schools utilize block scheduling, a system that alternates the classes students attend each day. Often, schools with this system work in time for extracurriculars at the end of the day. For example, The Pingry School begins at 8:30 am and releases students at 3:45 pm.  About an hour and a half before school ends, students can participate in an extracurricular or take a study hall, allowing them to get some sleep.

 

While Annabel DelGiorno, ‘20, agrees that “I would absolutely want to sleep in even an extra 30 minutes, but since I have drama club after school that time would be pushed back: which makes less time for homework”, she would not have this problem if block scheduling was used.  Extracurriculars or a study hall would be built into the day.

 

All in all, it is entirely possible for schools to push start times back; action must be taken immediately.  If the health of students is of value to American schools, then their sleep should be put first. Let kids catch those extra zzzs!

 

Works Cited

“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/.

 

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