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Opinion: School days should start later

A later start time for school would benefit students and improve everyone’s lives and happiness. 
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/clumsykiwii/" target="_self">Kira Zeng</a>

Kira Zeng

June 6, 2022
Groggily waking up to my shrill 5:40 a.m. alarm, I reluctantly sat up and for a few seconds, contemplated falling back asleep before I shook myself awake and stumbled into my bathroom to freshen myself up for the school day. Despite sleeping at 10 p.m. every night, it seems like I still never get enough sleep. 

In case you are wondering why I got up so early, I have a zero period in the morning which starts at 6:50 a.m. However, since I live farther away than most of my peers at school, I wake up extra early so I have time to eat breakfast and get to school on time. For students without a zero period, school starts at 7:50 a.m. 

These start times are quite early and sleep is extremely important for a teenager’s body, allowing them to grow, have a healthy mind and a healthy body. In high school, students can expect a huge workload, which is why some will stay up late, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning to complete their assignments and study for tests.

Reports like this on the lack of sleep by the CDC have shown the consequences of inadequate sleep, such as stress, obesity, depression, heart disease and deteriorating mental health. Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to diminished immunity to diseases, like the common cold or cancer, and will lead to decreased memory retention.

Putting these factors on a young teenager’s body is extremely harmful to them, not just mentally but physically as well. It can potentially lead to a shorter life with chronic health problems.

Based on these facts, it is now clear, if it wasn’t before, how important a good night’s sleep is for a healthy life. 

Although my school has a late start Wednesday every week, with no zero period and school starting at 8:45 a.m., it is not enough, as students would have to go back to the regular bell schedule every day except for Wednesday. It can be hard adjusting from an early start to a late start and vice versa. The extra hour or 2 of sleep in just that one day of the week is not enough to make up for the poor sleep quality throughout the week. 

The school day should start later, such as at 9:00 a.m. To start learning at such an early hour is difficult for me, as my brain is still foggy with sleep, and it is difficult for me to retain any information learned. Even after a month of school, I still feel tired in the morning, and it doesn’t help that my zero period is my history class.

That means on test days, our class will be the first to take the test and such early hours and less sleep will not help students’ grades improve. Starting school later will also allow time for me to relax and unwind before getting ready for school. Those extra minutes or hours of sleep will do many students a favor as they prepare for the school day. 

High school is already hard enough with the workload, and the early bell schedules shouldn’t be added in. School should start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. every day, and the time for zero period should also be pushed back later.

Similarly, an article by The American Academy of Pediatrics also resonates with many adolescents’ feelings, arguing that school times before 8:30 a.m. is a key factor in getting insufficient sleep. Although this could mean later times getting out of school, I feel it is better to get out late. It will give me the rest of the day to do homework and I don’t have to worry as much about getting sleep even when I’m not done with my work yet.

A later start time for school would benefit students and improve everyone’s lives and happiness. 

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