Later Start Times in Schools


Tim Walker

Later Starts in Schools

Malieka Khan, Photojournalist

Start times in schools have always been a topic of debate among staff, students, and parents. However, the switch to a later start time can be immensely beneficial to, not only students, but teachers and staff as well. The average teenager should receive at least nine to ten hours of sleep, according to studies by Oxford University, to grow and evolve into a well functioning adult. This fact is consequently supporting the claim that later start times in schools can increase student efficiency as well as many students’ health for years to come.

Starting school later can lead to increased efficiency and brain power for students. Biologically, the wake up time for teens, according to Oxford University, is between 8:30 and 9:00. This is when the average teenager is awake and can fully concentrate, therefore, sleeping earlier is not always the case in receiving a sufficient amount of sleep. Also, scientists recommend that the average growing teenager should receive at least nine to ten hours of sleep a night, however recent studies have proved that the many teenagers receives far below that amount. Eventually, this lack of sleep can lead to having an increased risk of being overweight, suffering depression, and struggling academically.

Additionally, at Edina High School outside of Minneapolis, school counselors and nurses reported fewer students seeking help for emotional problems and physical complaints when the school switched to a later start time. Stephen Serrano (9) states, “I would very much benefit from a later start time because it would give me more time to rest, and, therefore, increase my attention in class.” Many other students agree with this statement, and would value a later start day for similar reasons. Students’ education could vastly improve with a later start time, when they are fully awake and alert. Furthermore, 92 percent of parents in Edina High School stated that their teenagers were “…easier to live with,” after setting back start times. Students’ behavior can be drastically altered by their sleep or lack of sleep, both academically and physically.

Consequently, later start times in school would majorly benefit schools, both staff and students alike. Education and efficiency would increase, as well as students’ health. Though some parents say sleeping later could also be a solution, this does not effect when the average teenager’s brain will fully be able to concentrate. Therefore sleeping earlier is not as effective and beneficial as having a later start time would be in the long run.