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Hannah Ervin
Mrs. Cramer
Comp Pd. 7
24 March 2017
Sleep is for the Smart

Those extra forty-five minutes in the morning really do matter. If given the chance to

sleep forty-five extra minutes, any person would jump at the opportunity. Changing high school

start times would give millions of high schoolers across the country a chance to get more sleep.

Sleep is not only something that everyone loves, but is also beneficial. It keeps individuals

happy, healthy, and alert, which are important aspects of life. Many people believe that the

current school start times are what is best for students, but studies show that is not the case. High

school should start later because they would get more sleep, allowing them to perform better


First and foremost, high schools students have to get up between 6 and 6:30 to get ready

for school and get there on time. Did you know that "91.9% of students obtained inadequate

sleep, which is (less than 9 hours) (Noland)? Students are not getting to bed until late at night

due to after school activities, work, homework, and social events. Students are unable to go to

bed earlier because of the responsibilities they have after school. Some students have jobs and

work until 8:00 at night, then they have to go home to eat, shower, and try to work on homework.

This means that they cannot go to bed until 12:30-1:00, only giving them about six hours of

sleep, give or take a few minutes. If these students do not do homework than they may go to bed

a little earlier, but then their bodies and biological clocks dont let them go to bed until 11:00 or

later. Pushing back the start time by an hour would significantly impact the amount of time
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students get to sleep. According to research "most adolescents need slightly more than 9 hours of

sleep each night." (Nolan). As students go through puberty and become young adults, hormonal

changes occur and make it difficult for them to go to bed any earlier than 11:00. By starting

school an hour later it would allow students an extra forty-five minutes to an hour of sleep.

Those forty-five minutes to an hour could make all the difference in a students physical and

emotional health. It is said that,"inadequate sleep time may be contributing to adolescent health

problems, such as increased stress and obesity" (Edwards). School is already stressful, especially

if you have extra-curricular activities, a job, and tons of homework from all of your classes.

On the other hand, some people would say that pushing back the start time for high

school students would be too expensive. One argument is that "districts often stagger the start

times of different schools in order to reduce transportation costs by using fewer buses"

(Edwards). Although this should not be a problem if a student is going to benefit from a later

start time, then something else could be figured out with cost and busing. Most high school

students have their license and drive themselves not having to rely on buses to take them to and

from school. Students also carpool or have parents take them to school. Taking into consideration

that although high school start times may be different, they will be about the same as elementary

start times. High school students could be on the same bus as elementary students. They would

just have sit in the back and younger students could sit in the front. This may be a concern to put

other students with younger ones, but honestly older students are usually good with young kids.

Not only that, but the amount of money that you could save by only making one trip with the

same amount of buses would be significant.

Another reason why high school start time should be an hour later is because fewer hours

of sleep interfere with cognitive function. This function is necessary for school and success
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because it is responsible for memory, attention, and how we obtain information. This means that

students are unable to function to the best of their ability with the time that school starts now.

Students that have early classes will not perform to their full potential due to being groggy and

not motivated. Many students fall asleep in class due to being tired from not having enough sleep

at night. Starting school at nine instead of eight would increase grades and motivation in morning

classes. According to research "results indicate that a one-hour delay in start time increases

standardized test scores on both math and reading tests by roughly 3 percentile points"

(Edwards). A hour later start time will increase the motivation of teenage students because they

will be more awake and have a better outlook on the day. This does not only go for school

performance but also hygiene and driving. Some students are not getting ready or putting any

effort into what they look like because they do not have the motivation due to them being overly

tired. Believe it or not, getting ready for school and doing your hair and makeup will make you

feel more confident than if you just wake up and throw on sweats and a old tee shirt. By starting

an hour later less students will just get up a do the bare minimum before getting in their cars half

asleep and drive themselves to school. Without the extra hour students will get in their cars half

asleep, this could lead to accidents and careless driving because they are groggy and are not

awake enough for their reflexes to be on high alert.

Strangely enough, another argument that people will try to make is that after school

activities will suffer. Some people are more worried about after school activities than they are

about the students education and academic achievements. If school started at 9:00 instead of 8:00

school would be over around 3:45 instead of 2:45. Practices for sports cannot start till 3:30 by

PIAA rules. Students would only be losing between 15 and 25 minutes by time they got out of

class and changed their clothes. Most sporting events do not start until after 6:00. Students would
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still have plenty of time to change their clothes, get something to eat, and go home if they need

to. Students will still get home around the same time and be able to shower, do homework, and

even spend time with family. Sports, clubs, social events, and personal time would not suffer due

to school ending at a later time.

In conclusion, starting school an hour later would only be beneficial to everyone.

Students test scores, attitude, motivation, and overall health would improve. High school

students need the extra hour of sleep in order to function on the they are expected to. Although

people will argue the reasons why they dont believe it can be done, something can always be

worked out and compromised on. The success of students would be a greater more abundant if

you started school an hour later. It may take some getting used to but in the end the success rate

of students will gradually increase after they get used to the change in time. Teachers will also be

able to have an extra hour of sleep, being nicer and more sympathetic towards their morning

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Works Cited

Edwards, Finley. "Do Schools Begin Too Early?" Education Next. N.p., 25 Dec. 2016. Web. 17
Mar. 2017.
Noland H, Price JH, Dake J, Telllohann Sk." Adolescents' sleep behaviors and perceptions of
sleep." Journal Sch Health. 2009; 79; 224-230.