Should high school start later?

Valerie Chisholm



Evidence shows that teenagers are seriously sleep deprived. A recent vote done by the National Sleep Foundation showed  that 60% of children and teens complained of being tired during the day, and 15% said they fell asleep at school.

The american academy of sleep medicine said that middle and high school shouldn’t start before 8:30. Starting times before that prevents the recommended 8 to 10 hours a night. Falling short of these hours can have many consequences. It can be associated with poor school grades and academics, affected friendships and relationships, depression, obesity, and injuries in sports.   

In a statement, the CDC reports that an 8:30 am start time would allow teenagers to get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night, so long as they went to bed around 11 pm 12 am. Also research shows that delaying the school start time can lead to less car accidents caused by tired drivers. In 2008, they did a study and the crash rates fell 16.5 percent in 2 years, after pushing back the school times.

With pushing the start times back, students are concerned that being in school later in the day means that it will cut into after-school jobs and other extracurricular activities. Changing the start times can be a challenge. They need to change the bus schedules, sports and afterschool activities which isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Although these challenges, there are many convincing reasons to push back the school starting times.