Schreiber should start later for the benefit of students and their grades

Sam Rothenberg, Contributing Writer

Public high schools should consider starting later for a number of reasons, primarily
being the fact that Schreiber students simply need more sleep.
“Teens need nine to nine and a half hours of sleep per night” said Michael Crocetti, who
has been studying sleep at Johns Hopkins University. “(Extra sleep helps) support their
developing brain, as well as physical growth spurts.”
In addition, around puberty, teenagers’ circadian rhythms (internal body clocks) undergo
a major shift, making them stay up later at night. Hence, the time that students go to bed gets
increasingly later overtime, but the time they wake up remains constant.
“In puberty a natural shift occurs in the timing of the body’s internal “circadian” clock,
causing most teens to have a biological preference for a late-night bedtime. It is important that
parents and local school boards work together to implement high school start times that allow
teens to get the healthy sleep they need to meet their full potential,” said experts for the
American Sleep Academy of Medicine.
So, are Schreiber teens really getting the suggested time for sleep? Many Schreiber
students have to balance a handful of responsibilities: studying for tests, reviewing science
labs, completing homework, practicing an instrument, working part-time jobs, spending quality
time with family, etc.. It seems that students have so much to do, but no time to do it.
“I just have so much work to do and not enough time to get a proper night sleep. I have
volleyball practice, homework, studying, work I need to do for clubs, and so much more! I
cannot go to bed until about 11:15 PM each night,” said ninth grader Ryan Epstein. “I am
lethargic each morning, and school needs to be pushed back in order to maintain a high level of
focus during the day.”
There are several negative effects of too little sleep on high school students. These
include a sharp decline in academic performance, an increase in tardiness and forgetfulness,
and most importantly, a rise in depression rates. Additionally, the late nights prompt students to
increase their coffee consumption, which has evident downsides. Data from the Center for

Disease Control and Prevention reveals that 73 percent of American children consume some
level of caffeine each day.
“The cycle kills me. If there is so much talk by all of the teachers and administration
about optimizing our chances of getting good grades, sleep is essential. In order to make sure
we get enough sleep, we should certainly start later. Waking up at 6:45 AM every weekday is
brutal,” said junior grader Nate Kimball. “I spend the first two periods of the day just trying to
wake up. I can barely focus, and I always do worse on tests before 10 a.m.”
It almost seems like students are in the endless cycle of waking up tired, struggling to get
through the day, working for hours at night, and repeating it again and again for five days
straight. In order to rectify this situation, high schools should consider pushing their schedule
back an hour, allowing students to perform at an optimal level and reach their true potential.
While there are some challenges to changing start times, such as bus schedules, childcare
commitments for parents, and extra-curricular activities, the benefits of starting high school later
outweigh the obstacles.
This was demonstrated in a study by the University of Washington, which found that with
a delayed start, “students went to bed at around the same time each night, but slept longer.
This was associated with an increase in grades and attendance.”
A similar ABC News study claims that 78% of teenage students want schools start later.
From New York to California, all students face the same struggle of waking up in the morning.
There is a clear solution, and it involves starting schools later. Doing this will prepare our
youngest generations for a successful school day, while also optimizing time outside of the
classroom. Just imagine… waking up each day feeling revitalized, energized, and looking
forward to a great day in the classroom.