Too Early To Learn?

Studies show most adolescents start school too early

Do you find yourself struggling to wake up and get ready for school? Have you ever dozed off in class or have been too tired to finish your homework? Unfortunately, these are the common feelings of many adolescents in America.

Sleep is an essential function of the body. It is the period of time when your body and mind recharge. Sleep helps your body remain healthy and fight off diseases. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per night on a regular basis. Adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from symptoms of depression, engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs, and perform poorly in school.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the main reasons teens do not get enough sleep is because of early school start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later to give students enough time to get the right amount of sleep each night. Despite these recommendations, a 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study displayed that 93% of high schools in the United States start before 8:30 a.m. Even though the U.S. has not called for a change in school start times, there are countries that embrace this idea. For example, Australia runs their school days from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while Russia holds their school days from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

At Regina Dominican, school starts at 7:45 a.m. every day except on Wednesday when there is a late start, which is at 8:35 a.m. Orchestra students report to school even earlier at 7:00 a.m. The late start time Regina has initiated is technically when a normal school day should start.

A possible solution, might be to start each day as a late start or even cut down advisory time, so school could start later.

Madison Maloney ’22 believes that it would be very beneficial to start school at least a half hour later. Maloney said,”I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and leave my house at 7:00 a.m. to make sure I get to school on time. I feel tired when driving to school so early since I’ve been up late doing homework and that can be dangerous.”

Starting school at a later time will not only help students feel refreshed and ready to learn, but will also make sure students arrive to school in a safe and a refreshed manner.

I belive that starting school at 8:30 a.m. and getting out of school at 3:00 p.m. will greatly benefit students’ health and engagement in school, while also leaving time for extracuriculars and jobs after school.

For anyone interested in furthering their reading on the benefits of sleep, Regina’s school nurse Marti Barthel recommends the book Why We Sleep. Barthel said “this book explains how your mind and body benefit from sleep.”