Uni should have a later start time

Isabela Lleras, Editor

Uni should start school at 9 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. While this may seem entirely self-serving because I personally hate waking up early, there is good scientific research supporting this idea.

Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) have published research and statements saying that a later school time is better for teens developmentally.

In  “Teens may do better when school starts later”, the AASM says “Middle and high school should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.”

According to this article, because adolescents’ melatonin (the hormone that makes you want to sleep) is produced later, making it hard to feel tired before 11 p.m., a teenager who goes to bed at 11 p.m. would need to sleep until 7:30 a.m. or later in order to obtain sufficient sleep. 

So while some people, such as The Spartan Oracle reporter Emilie Evensmoen believe that kids are just lazy, and do not want to get up earlier, scientifically, this just is not the case. Getting the right amount of sleep is more important than one might think.

In an article from the Atlantic, Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist for the CDC, is quoted as saying,  “Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance. Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

However, some still argue that later school times, although scientifically proven to be better for students, will negatively influence teens. A veryWell Family article, claimed that, “Teens may stay up even later if they don’t have to wake for school at an earlier time.”

Yet, logically it is not only unfair to assume that every single teenager will react by staying up later, but around 9/10 students are sleep deprived, and want that sleep. (According to a 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll, 87 percent of students are not getting the 9-10 hour recommended sleep period.) Therefore 9/10 students want to sleep earlier.

Another issue that this veryWell Family article brings up is the issue of childcare, stating that “ Teens would get out of school later in the afternoons, which could pose problems for teens who provide childcare to younger siblings.” However, many elementary schools and middle schools have adopted after school care that can be free if the family is within certain income limits.

There is the other issue of how sports will manage if school is pushed back an hour. I would argue that this is already the case for some sports at Uni. For instance, the Girls Basketball team has to plan around the Boys Basketball team and other teams using the same gym. So Girls Basketball is pushed back a couple of hours. It really is not as big of a deal, especially considering that most athletes just go to Siebel, and have other options like staying at school or going to Green Street as well.

Many students on Tuesdays and Thursdays wait until 3:50 p.m. after school anyways, because it is easier for parents to pick up their students at the same time every day. This makes Tuesdays and Thursdays good days to push back starting time until 9 a.m.

Teens are more likely to stay up and want to sleep in later because of how their brain works, not laziness. Therefore it is unfair to go against scientific research and continue to force students awake earlier, especially considering the number of students who are sleep deprived, and how important sleep is for developing brains.