School should begin later in the day


Andrew Duffey, still drowsy, walks to his first block. Photo by Kayla Hung

When I wake up in the morning on a much-dreaded school day, my first drowsy thought is always something along the lines of “Wow, I’m going to have such a good nap when I get home today.”

Unfortunately I hardly ever keep my weekday-morning resolutions. Even if I have no real obligations at the end of the school day, it’s often difficult to break the routine of doing something to lay down and get some rest. Dedicating time out of the middle of my day to take a nap is just inconvenient.

The solution is simple: school should be started a few hours later in the day, and extracurricular activities like sports can take place in the morning.

However, the fact that every school starts and ends at nearly the same time could be a factor difficult to alter.  It would require support and advocating for the subject, which has yet to draw attention and call for serious change. Changing the times of school hours would be difficult, but worthwhile nonetheless.

The benefit from starting school later for students in school sports would be learning at later times during the day. Although typical athletes won’t be getting any more sleep than if school started earlier, they would start learning and processing academic information later.

According to Professor Foster, Oxford University’s head of circadian neuroscience, the teenage body clocks don’t begin to function until 10 to 12 p.m. This way, starting school later would allow for more attentiveness and absorption of information.

While some say students should just sleep earlier, it isn’t that easy of a feat to accomplish. In “Checking It Out: Why Teens Stay Up Late–and School Starts Early” by Washington Post, Professor Mary Carskadon of Brown University led a study concluding that melatonin (a “sleep-promoting hormone”) isn’t secreted in teenagers until around 11 p.m.

Regardless of how late we wake up, it doesn’t change the fact that this is how our bodies are working at this point in our lives. Changing when school starts is only adjusting the schedule to be more compatible with the hours we’re awake— naturally.

If school started later at around 9 or 10 a.m., perhaps “I am so tired today,” would cease to be an agreeable conversation starter amongst my peers and me.