School Start Times Are Too Early For Kids To Learn and Grow

We’ve all had to wake up to a time on our clock that we don’t want to be awake to see. Kids have to do this everyday- despite attempts to sleep longer. That time on your clock, whether it’s 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., or 6:30 a.m., is actually some of the most valuable sleep time for teenagers. At this time, usually that is when REM sleep- or Rapid Eye Movement- is going on. Lower amounts of REM sleep have been linked to behavior and memory problems. Not getting enough sleep before school is not only an inconvenient game, but it could also be a dangerous one. With school start times so early, it can lead to many side effects and unexpected disturbances to many things.

Students are supposed to get more than nine hours of sleep every night, although most get less than seven, because teenager sleep cycles make it hard to fall asleep before 11 p.m. Getting this little sleep has a connection to depression, use of illegal substances, and getting into car accidents. Schools have their students come in too early for a kid to handle every day. As a kid, your brain and body is still developing. Sleep is beyond necessary. To compare a teenager’s sleep cycle to an adult, “it is the biological equivalent of you or me [an adult] waking up at 3:30 a.m.,” said Anthony J. Portantino who is a state senator and Democrat, who wrote and is pushing for a bill about school start times, and had an article written about his bill in the New York Times. Getting up that early doesn’t feel nice, as you probably know. “Imagine how you would feel if, 187 days a year, you had to get up at 3:30 a.m. You’d be miserable, you’d be depressed — you’d act like a teenager.”

Schools in Connecticut, Kentucky, and Virginia that have moved their start times later report “upticks in attendance and, yes, higher tests scores,” according to New York Times article: California Teenagers Could Sleep Later Under School Start Bill.”

Finally, little sleep has a direct correlation to poor academic performance. You can’t think straight when running on little sleep, and while sleeping, your brain continues to learn. A Harvard Study shows that your brain works through problems while sleeping – without the disruptions and distractions of the day.

Getting more sleep, even that extra half an hour, goes a long way. I’m asking that school officials reanalyze the start times of their school. Looking at the benefits of what sleep can help us with, could potentially be a drastic step to getting kids happy, healthy, and well-educated.

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