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Rested, Revived and Ready

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As a high school student, my morning routine is a daily hassle. At 5:45 a.m. my alarm clock becomes my own personal bully that taunts and ridicules me. It will constantly punch me in the eardrums until I get the nerve to stand up and do something to stop it. Then half asleep, I’ll take a look outside and realize that the sun isn’t even up as early as I am. From there, I will drag on to get ready for school, who so kindly kept me up doing homework until midnight or later the previous night; leaving me with maybe 5-6 hours of sleep. In hopes of waking up a bit, I go to make some breakfast but I usually find that time is not on my side; so most days of the week I don't even eat breakfast. How many of you actually get the chance to eat an energizing breakfast every morning before school? And like me, how many of you catch yourself wishing that school would start just one hour later, one more hour to sleep, one more hour to wake up, one more hour to finally eat a healthy breakfast? I mean who really wants to get up at the crack of dawn anyway? I know I sure don’t. Researchers say that during those dawn hours, teens tend to be in their deepest sleep. And schools that have tried to give teens a better nights rest by starting high school hours later, have seen a better performance, a lower absentee rate and healthier breakfast choices from their students. (Jennifer Gish, timesunion.com) Delaying school one hour later than its current start time would benefit not only me but other sleep-deprived teenagers. I’m sure a teacher's life would be a lot easier as well, as seeing that it would reduce the twenty percent of students that fall asleep within the first hour of their class.

Arguers say that if teens are tired when they wake up for school, then the only solution is to send them to bed earlier; this being easier than going through the hassle of trying to change school hours. However, sending a teenager to bed earlier will not help. Have you ever lain in bed and tossed and turned to try and get comfy, yet no matter what you do, you still can’t fall asleep? You see, it’s not your fault! The body’s circadian rhythm, better known as the biological clock, changes when a person hits puberty. Therefore, since most people undergo this change in their teen years, it makes it difficult for most teenagers to go to bed before eleven p.m. Just because teens can’t control this urge to stay awake, doesn’t mean they don’t still need their full nine to ten hours of required sleep. So by starting school around nine a.m. would allow kids to get that full nights rest. Thus, leaving them fully rested, revived and ready to go to school and learn to the best of their ability.

It was proven that sixteen percent of teen car accidents were reduced when school hours were changed to a later start time. Students like me, won’t be as tired while driving to school, therefore reducing the risk of harming ourselves and others around us. As for other community issues like cyber bullying, drugs, etc. are said to occur the most during the hours between when school gets out and dinner time. Therefore, if school started later in the day then that would mean it ended later as well. In conclusion, it would give kids less time after school dismissal for behavioral issues like bullying and substance abuse.

Some say responsibility is learned through getting up EARLY, and arriving to school on time; the responsibility that is needed in the adult world. However, kids would learn the SAME amount of responsibility by getting up later and STILL having to get to class on time. The only difference would be is the fact that students would be getting more out of their education! If science has shown that teens will obtain optimal learning through a later time, then why not give it to them? The students that show up late will continue to be punished for being tardy and irresponsible, and the concept of learning responsibility would still be intact.

One school that has made the change is the University of Minnesota. They changed their starting hours from 7:20 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. giving all of its students an extra hour and twenty minutes to get to school. Kyla Wahlstrom, an educational researcher, has followed the change to track the effect on the school and students. Wahlstrom says that the students have benefited from the change. "Students reported less depression when there was a later start time. And teachers reported that students were more alert and ready for learning. Parents reported that their children were easier to live with because their emotions were more regulated." she says. Wahlstrom also found that fewer students were dropping out or moving between schools.

All in all, I see that schools, students, teachers, and parents will all benefit if high school start times were pushed to a later time in the day. I mean let's be realistic; high school is meant for young kids to have fun, while at the same time, teaching those fundamentals. Wouldn’t starting the day later be a wonderful change to everyone’s schedule? Getting up at 5:45 a.m. to be out the door at 7:10 and then at school by 7:45 is completely exhausting for students, parents, and even teachers. The fact that we have to be to school on time, teaches responsibility in itself, no matter what the start time. So why not make the change to the schedule to benefit all those involved with the educational system? If we made the change it would not only benefit us all now but also in the future. It would increase the amount of knowledge the children of our future acquire in a single day of school, and since studies have proven that dropout rates will decrease with a change of start times, then the amount of student interest in college will increase as well. Now all we need is for schools to make the change and begin the process of a much brighter future for America!

















Works Cited
Gish, Jennifer. "Should High School Start Later in the Morning? - Parent to Parent - Jennifer Gish and Tracy Ormsbee - Parenting Blog - Timesunion.com - Albany NY." Times Union Blogs - Timesunion.com - Albany NY. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://blog.timesunion.com/parenting/8803/should-high-school-start-later-in-the-morning/>.

"Later Start Times for High School Students | CEHD | U of M." College of Education & Human Development | University of Minnesota. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://www.cehd.umn.edu/research/highlights/Sleep/default.html>.

Concerns, 'Anonymous' Raise. "High Schools Starting Later to Help Sleepy Teens : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6896471>.


The University of Texas Medical Branch:. "The Ciradian Rhythm of Teenagers." :: Medical Discovery News ::. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/crt.html>.





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