Do schools that have early start times put students’ health at risk?


Abby-leigh D., Editor

Let’s face it, no one likes waking up early for school. We all love a long lie, but now there is a reason to stay in bed for a few extra hours.

Adults need 7-8 hours hour of sleep a night, but adolescents need around 10. Data shows that 30% of adults and 66% of teenagers are sleep deprived. We become sleepy due to the signals from our brain. These signals tell our brain whether we are tired. In addition, our brain can become tired depending on the light ― if it’s dark outside we tend to feel more sleepy regardless of the time.

A reporter asked the students and staff of ISG Jubail “If school was to start later, do you think students would work more effectively? Why or why not?” and here are the results:

“Yes, because people would have more energy to start their learning. There has also been scientific studies where the brain properly functions at 10 a.m., but that needs to be further researched” – Chelsea A., grade 10

“I understand the research supports this. In my previous school, the argument was that the additional time spent in traffic would counter any benefit. Here that argument is much less relevant, and this seems like it could work and potentially benefit student learning. However, there are probably very many variables involved that I have not considered.” – Mr. McLean, teacher

“Yes, because the student will have enough time to sleep and so in the morning they will not be tired. Some people wake up late in the morning because of lack of sleep (Me) and they might not have enough time to eat breakfast and they will be sleepy/tired. If they do have more time than all that will not happen.” – Leila B., grade 6

“No, I’m guessing they would stay up later.” – Mr. Van Steenis, teacher

Of the 84 people who responded to the survey, 77.4% agreed that if schools were to start later then grades would improve; 17.9% said maybe and 4.8% said no, it would not affect the student’s ability to have good grades.

A common response received was that if school was to start later, then the students would just stay up later, but studies show that adolescents physically don’t feel tired until 10:45 p.m., on average. But on the other hand, medical researchers also found that sleep patterns of younger children enabled them to rise early and be ready for learning much earlier than adolescents, so start times can affect people in different ways.

Did you know…?