FHS School Start Times: Push Them Back
Isabella determines whether FHS start times should be later due to teenagers natural sleep cycles.
With school back in session, most teenagers are finding that getting up early is difficult. It has been highly recommended for them to be getting 8-10 hours of sleep, although they are not reaching that requirement. Which has caused some schools to weigh out whether they should be delaying start times. Many schools have already started to push back their hours or are going to, but the vast majority still have not. Students that are starting school around 8:30 instead of 7 have begun to show a lot of improvements in their performance. It's very hard and almost unrealistic for the expectation that teens should be active and alert so early. Students have been and continue to be negatively affected by this. Is it that big of a concern to draw attention to it at the school board?
Getting enough sleep cannot just be blamed on teenagers not going to sleep earlier. It has been determined biologically that teens' bodies are inclined to sleep later and wake up later because of their circadian rhythm. They need to sleep from 11 pm to 8 am, unlike adults and children whose needs are completely different. Even though their needs are not being met because of having to wake up much earlier than they should be. When their circadian rhythm is disrupted it can be detrimental to their health. Such as increasing risk for poor bodily functions and mental health, reduced productivity or attention span and insomnia. This also leads students to always be tardy or absent during the beginning of the school day since they are oversleeping and find it hard to get up. In addition, they are falling asleep in class as well. For some, the obvious answer must be to change this cycle but it would actually be quite difficult and cause commotion. Changing high school start times will interfere with bus schedules and cause elementary schools to start earlier. Which causes challenges for the younger students and their parents. Schools will also have to figure out how to rearrange their after school activities. Including the major budget issue which will have to be worked out. This would be a big transition for all families to get used to and their lives would have to be reorganized.
Ultimately, the current high school start times can be destructive physiologically and psychologically to students. It is important to consider the pros and cons and make the best decision for the future health of adolescents. Continue to gather more evidence and help others see the clear picture, join together to enforce it. It is hard for districts to hear families out but with enough valid points and problem solving there could be a great development.