The Big Sleep: Sleeping in isn’t just for slackers. Science, and fashion, demand a later school start.

2 min read

Every morning I have to leave my house at exactly 8:00 AM, so I can get to school on time. This may not seem hard, but it is hard for me because I take a long time to find an outfit I want to wear. It is even worse if you wake up 10 minutes before you have to leave, like me. If it were up to my brother, Ozzy, I would be awake and ready to go at 6:45 AM, but my body just won’t do that. 

My problem is not unique to me. Young people, especially teenagers, need plenty of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “teens are among those least likely to get enough sleep; while they need on average 9 1/4 hours of sleep per night for optimal performance, health and brain development, teens average fewer than 7 hours per school night by the end of high school, and most report feeling tired during the day.”

I personally think that school on Monday should start at 10:00. After a weekend of staying up late at night and sleeping in, it is hard to get back into the school night sleep schedule. A delayed Monday start would ease students back into the workweek hours. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, though, I think that school should start at 9:00 AM, so that students get enough time in the morning to get dressed and get enough sleep at night, but school would still end at a reasonable hour and pickup would not be too affected. And on Friday, I think that school should start at 8:30 (the current start time for Treehouse, Egrets Perch, Out Back, Over There, and Junior High students) because we get out of school early on Fridays, and if school started later, school would have to get out later to preserve educational time. 

On any day, if school started later, then school would have to end later also, which would either cut after school programs (like sports) or move them to a later time in the afternoon. If the time change had to cut after school programs then games (like football, or volleyball) against other schools might get cut too.  But few sports games are played on Mondays, making Mondays a great place to experiment with a later start.

 I wondered whether anyone else has the same feeling I have. And if they do, what time they think school should start?  Most Sequoyah students I polled at random think that school on Mondays and Fridays should start at 10:00 AM. On other days, though, students think that school should start earlier. For example, on Thursday, the start time is split almost evenly between 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, and 10:30 AM.

When I asked Gabe Dahl, Physical Education Specialist and Student Resource Teacher, and Erin Trefry, Visual Arts Specialist, they said that Sequoyah’s current start time is appropriate, but when I asked Ian Chang, the Out Back language arts specialist, and Dyane Wilson, Nest Associate Teacher, they had different opinions. Chang believes that “for proper physical and mental development…[children] need to get plenty of sleep. Frankly, I think the same for adults. In order to stay healthy and whatnot, they need to have plenty of sleep.” Wilson, on the other hand, would start school even earlier than now; at 8 AM.

I agree with Chang for the most part, except that he emphasized that the youngest and oldest kids especially need good sleep. I think that all kids need a lot more sleep than they currently get.