Schools should move to later start times for teen health

New sleep studies make GUSD contemplate school hours

Studies show school start times affect teen health

Photo via under Creative Commons License

Studies show school start times affect teen health

Monika Petrosyan, Staff Writer/ Film

All across the nation, teens agonize over the harsh cacophony produced by their alarm clocks, telling them to start the day when the sun has yet to rise. The fact that young people are upset rather than pleased about starting their day says that there’s something wrong with their school schedule.

Many pediatricians have been advocating for school to start later in the morning. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one of the most merited organizations in the country, school should start later than 8:30 a.m. for middle and high schoolers.

Sleep deprivation in teens, as stated by the academy, is the most common and easily fixable problem among adolescents.

According to NBC, schools that have pushed back start times have seen an improvement of grades, test scores and a reduction in car accidents among students. Studies show that teens need the optimal amount of 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep in order to be fully rejuvenated; however, the average high school senior gets less that seven hours.

Studies conducted by the AAP show that its is difficult for teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m. because it disrupts their natural sleep cycle. However, students are finding it difficult to sleep early because of their studies.

As said by the AAP, sleep deprivation leads to obesity, depression, bad grades and even thoughts of suicide. In other words, students need sleep in order to succeed. With school starting early, it is difficult to maintain even the minimal amount of hours students need to sleep.

According to the Glendale News-Press, the possibility of later start times is being considered by the GUSD after the statement was released by the AAP. As of now, many secondary students in Glendale schools begin school at 8 a.m. while some begin at 7 a.m. if they are taking a “zero-period” elective.

Although implementing a later start time would change schedules and routines, it may be a necessary risk to take for the benefit of Glendale students.

As more schools move to later start times, students show improvements in their academic and daily lives. More sleep is necessary for success.