By Rebecca Horn
A couple weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spoke out and encouraged schools in the US to start later in the morning because students are exhausted every day, which is affecting their education.
The AAP states that they “recommend middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later.”
They say that doing so will align school schedules with the sleep cycles of teenagers. Unfortunately for students who attend schools that start early, sleep cycles shift two hours later at the start of puberty, meaning that teenagers are already not getting enough sleep.
In a recent poll taken by the National Sleep Foundation, they found that “59 percent of 6th through 8th graders and 87 percent of high school students in the U.S. were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights.”
10th grader Emily Brothman stated, “I think we should start school later because it will give students the opportunity to get more sleep, since usually kids stay up really late doing homework. This would give a greater opportunity to let our brains get more active and be able to concentrate more.”
Kyla Wahlstorm, the director of Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement at the University of Minnesota, said that studies have shown that attendance improved, tardiness decreased, and academic performance increased when schools switch to a later start time.
“We start early in the morning, because that is when students are most alert. I do not think it would benefit anyone to start the day later, because there would not be time to do anything during the daylight hours, but go to school,” said Curriculum Assistant Principle Dr. Skidmore.
However, it’s hard to start school early when students living out of the district have to wake up even earlier just to catch the bus.
“Living an hour away, it’s hard to be a student athlete because I get home around 8 and have to get up around 5. If we started later, I would be able to focus more and I would be more productive,” said junior Riley Smith.
But maybe starting later wouldn’t benefit athletes, like Riley. Assistant principal Mrs. Kimbrel stated, “Athletics and students who work after school are a big part of why we get out earlier.” Dr. Skidmore added, “there is time for the students and staff to participate in extra-curricular activities before it gets too late in the evening.”
Unfortunately for students, it doesn’t look like North Springs’ start time will change anytime soon.
The solution? Dr. David Myers, the author of the Myers’ Psychology for AP Second Edition, states: “If you are the typical high school student, often going to bed near midnight and dragged out of bed six or seven hours later by the dreaded alarm, the treatment is simple: Each night add just 15 minutes to your sleep. Ignore that last text, resist the urge to check in with friends online, and succumb to sleep.”