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OPINION: School starts too early

We all have clocks either at home or on your wrist. Clocks are meant to tell you what time it is or set an alarm for a certain time. The teenage body has an “inner clock” that is different from an adults clock. For a teenager it’s hard for them to go to bed before 10:30 or 11:00 pm according to The Journal. Most teens have to wake up around  5:30 am to go to school. A teenager needs around 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep. This amount of sleep is needed for tweens and teens to be healthy and perform their best at school.

In the United States there are many teens and tweens dealing with health issues because they do not get enough sleep. Schools start way too early, causing many health issues for teenagers such as obesity, depression, drug use, anxiety and many more problems, according to The Journal. Not only does lack of sleep affect their health, it also reflects poorly on their performance at school. Not having enough sleep hinders their concentration and ability to retain information.

“Poor communication, decreased concentration and cognitive performance, unintended sleeps, decreased motor performance, increased risk taking and changes in mood pattern, specifically depression.” said The Journal.  Having schools start so early is affecting students education. Not only their education but also their health.  

Not having enough sleep as a teenager has a great effect on their health. Starting school too early forces teens to lose REM sleep (rapid eye movement), The type of sleep that helps teens control their moods and their health. Teen need those extra hours of sleep to perform their best in school and keep their physical and mental health stable.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School and the University of Nevada-Reno said that students could improve their learning and have fewer health problems if schools accommodated to a unique circadian rhythms for young people. Public schools need to change the time they start school. The time they have now affects many teenagers and tween in the United States.

Some believe  that teens might stay up even later if they don’t have to wake for school at an earlier time. Although some schools have a concerned about changing the time, most schools that have changed their time to a later time have shown an improvement in their students’ mental and physical health.

The recommended times that schools should start for students age 10-15, is between 8:30 am and 9 am. At 16, the wake time should be 8 am, so the school start time should be between 10am and 10:30am. At the age of 18  the wake time is about 9am, so the start time for classes should be between 11am and 11:30am. For example, Minneapolis Public Schools changed their time for high schools  from 7:15am  to 8:40am. Many schools have taken that recommendation of changing their time to help students.

“The self-reported student evidence indicated that students liked the change, slept an hour longer compared to students in two other similar school districts and reported their attendance, achievement, behavior and mood improved,” The Journal reported. Having that extra hour of sleep helps the student improve productivity levels and mood.Student should sleep around 8-9 hours of sleep each night to improve their health and be less tired in school. Students don’t go to bed early because of their inner clock.

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