Should School Begin Later?

Should School Begin Later?

by Sabrina Henriquez

Although school is meant to begin early in the morning, the question “Should school start later?” has constantly been asked and taken into consideration by parents, students, and even administrators throughout the world. Students argue that school should start later since they are not getting a sufficient amount of sleep and are losing focus in class. A later start time may benefit their overall health as well. School starting later has plenty of positive factors and would be beneficial for students; especially for teenagers. 

In general, a majority of teenagers do not get the required seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Some may sleep five to six hours a night, which negatively affects students both physically and mentally. Most students are up late due to the fact that it is difficult to balance homework, clubs, and sports while falling asleep at a reasonable hour. A study in 2018 that looked at two schools in Seattle found that students, on average, gained an extra thirty-four minutes of sleep on school nights after the schools’ start times were pushed back nearly an hour. I believe that a majority of schools would benefit if they started the school day later to improve students’ overall health.

Furthermore, students are losing focus in class due to the lack of sleep they are getting at night, which can negatively affect a student’s academic performance. Over the past decade, researchers have stated that later school hours would benefit student sleep patterns. Sleep is a crucial factor in students’ academics, for it is important to stay alert in class in order to absorb information. A better sleep pattern increases the chance of more students being on time to school and being prepared to learn. Students who struggle to focus in class may find it harder to absorb new material throughout the day. For this reason, school should start at a later time. 

Lastly, a later start time may benefit the students’ attitudes as well as their physical and mental health. Studies show that extra sleep for teenagers actually helps shield them against depression and anxiety. A study from 2017 concluded that teenagers who attend schools starting at 8:30 AM or later had less mental health issues than when they were waking up earlier for school. Starting school later provides teenagers a chance to obtain essential sleep, which can contribute to better physical and mental health as well. Starting school later could have a positive impact on a student’s attitude by preventing mood swings and bad behavior. 

Ultimately, based on the aforementioned studies and concerns from administrators and parents, starting school later would definitely benefit students’ sleep schedules, academic performances, and their overall health. A later start time gives students more of an opportunity to feel refreshed and prepared to learn in the morning.

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