With start times for high schools suddenly being scrutinized across America, it is time that ASL changes the current 8:05 a.m. start time.Research done by The Atlantic states that adolescents require an average of nine and a quarter hours of sleep per night, U.S. teens currently average seven and a half hours of sleep per night.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone concerned with the regulation of the reproductive cycle. it is released later at night, which makes it difficult for adolescents to fall asleep prior to 11 p.m. Teens may actually be more “awake” or “fresh” at 10 p.m. than they are earlier in the day due to melatonin.
An individuals biological clock that regulates sleep-wake cycle shifts to a later sleep and wake time as children become adolescents. This means that it is crucial that growing teenagers are able to get the sleep that is necessary, by altering potential time for sleep, to help imrove academic and personal success.
Melatonin makes it harder for teens to wake and be alert before 8 a.m.
With homework, stress, and studying all playing a role in the everyday lives of students, sleep can sometimes prove to be a non-factor. I, for one, know that there have been nights where the anxiety of a test has increasingly become greater, causing for late night study sessions.
I believe that ASL’s start time should be moved an hour later; even the smallest amount can make a difference for the growing minds of developing adolescents.
For Nauset High in Eastham, Massachusetts, one of the first schools to change their start time, the productivity was evident as they reported a 53 percent drop in the number of failing grades, a 38 percent decline of D’s and F’s as well as the number of days students were suspended for disciplinary reasons plummeting from 166 in the first two months of the 2012 – 2013 academic year to 19 days in September and October of 2013 – 2014 academic year. All it took was moving the schools start time one hour later.
Though the construct of free periods exists within the school, the chance to get an adequate amount of sleep only occurs once in an eight day cycle, if, and only if, procrastination does not occur.
According to the study in The Atlantic, of the 9,000 students monitored from eight high schools, spanning over three states, benefits of increased sleep include improved overall test scores as well as a 65 to 70 percent decrease in car accidents involving adolescents.
According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, 90 percent of parents acknowledge the “great value” of sleep, but one fourth of those parents conclude that their children regularly get an hour less than what’s recommended.
It is scientifically proven that it is impossible for both adolescents and adults to become used to getting “less sleep”.
A sufficient amount of sleep for adolescents is essential. This is due to the fact that a lack of sleep affects the mood of an adolescent as well as the ability for adolescents to regulate their moods during a growth period of their lives.
Not only does a lack of sleep effect an adolescents ability to think, but it also hinders their ability to perform and react appropriately and safely in various situations.
Though there are cons such as less time spent with friends after school, less time to study and almost the encouragement for students to sleep later with this adjustment, the fact that students can come to school with an increased attitude and awareness that is positive towards learning is something that should be regarded as indispensable by schools, and delaying the start time of school would go a long way in achieving this.