Later School Times: Lazy or Legit?


Ariana Bruno, Writer

For teenagers, good quality sleep is crucial for physical health, emotional and mental development, and most importantly; school performance. Sleep fuels the body and helps us function in the best way possible. When we look at the lack of sleep teenagers get, more health issues come to play. Teenagers who get less than 8/9 hours of sleep are more prone to depressive episodes, poor school performances, lack of physical activity, and higher rates of obesity. So, why does school start so early then? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S. start before the recommended 8:30 am.

Now, a question I often get asked a lot is: “why don’t you go to sleep earlier so you’re not as tired?” In short, I can’t, and I’m sure many other teenagers feel this way. Many students like myself have clubs, homework, jobs, and other things going on in their lives so it’s hard to find time for ourselves to relax and sleep. The term “revenge bedtime procrastination” describes the decision to sacrifice sleep in return for more leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking any free time. Sleep procrastination can take on different forms. One main form involves delaying the act of getting into bed (bedtime procrastination). Another is delaying the time of trying to fall asleep once in bed (while-in-bed procrastination), a problem that has been associated with rising rates of electronic device use in bed.

From my experience, I would head to work at 2:30 pm or 6:00 pm (depending on the shift I’m assigned) and usually leave around 10:30/11:00 pm which slowly became an issue. I would do homework for an hour, prepare everything for the next day, and then shower. This meant I was going to bed around 1:30 am only to wake up at 6:00 am for school. I felt extremely drained by morning, and I wasn’t focusing that well in school.

Of course, I’m not the only student who has issues with school time, so I went around WHS and asked a few students about their opinions on how early school starts.

Senior, Rachael Romano: “Yes, I think it’s too early. School begins at an unrealistic time. Many jobs are 9-5s and a lot of adults wake up for their jobs later than students wake up for school. If school is preparing us for real life, then it should begin at a reasonable time.”

Junior, Ava Abbott: “It’s hard to focus so early in the morning. People don’t realize how early 7:30 is considering most students and teachers wake up at 5:30/6:00 am, but I do think the time we get out is good because I like getting out early. Though, I would much rather start later and get out later in order to focus more on school. I have a job I go to immediately after school and I have no time to do my homework because I have to get to bed early so I can focus at school and to get up in time.”

Junior, Sarah Delehanty: “I think the start time is too early, I think we should start later because I read an article once about how teenagers need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep. By end of my after-school activities, I get home at 9 pm and still have to do my homework so I’m not getting that much sleep. I feel very drained by the end of the week between getting up early for school, staying up late doing homework, and going to after school activities.”

Senior, Anonymous student: “I work 2 jobs. One during the week and one during weekends. I find it extremely hard to get all my schoolwork done before I have to go clock in for 4 to 6 hours. On top of that, I can’t even skip a day of school if I’m tired because I’ll miss my classes and any of the work my teachers assigned which would put me back more. I honestly wish school started later to give me more time.”

Senior, Josue Mendez: “School starts way too early. Who starts school at 7:35 am? I think school should push that start time back by at least 30 minutes because we’re not getting enough sleep.”

Junior, Nadia Aldweib: “In my opinion, a start time of 7:35 am is too early for students. It is much too early for people to be able to function efficiently. Tired students mean that they don’t have the energy to complete their assignments to the best of their ability. Although the school does get out at 2 pm I sometimes find that I don’t have a lot of time for all my homework. I usually have activities after school and won’t get home until later and by then I’ll be tired and so it will take me longer to get through my homework.”

Taking all of this into consideration, should school start later? I believe that it should because not only would teachers benefit from it, but so would students. More students would perform better, become engaged in their lessons, and show up to school more.