Need more sleep?

Later start time would be nice, but tough to do


Brooke Beichler

Some kids struggle with fatigue at school, but later start times are probably not doable at Bellwood-Antis.

Julie Bauer, Staff Writer

Are you among the many students who wish today was a two hour delay so that you could sleep in? According to the National Sleep Foundation, high school students could benefit from school starting times being pushed back to 8:30 A.M. or later.

The way that we do school now seems to work pretty well as far as scheduling with the parents’ work schedules.

— Mr. Schreier

Teenagers are naturally inclined to fall asleep later than 11 P.M. due to their circadian rhythms. According to the National Sleep Foundation, they are also recommended to get between eight and ten hours of sleep each night. These two factors make it difficult for teens to get adequate sleep when they have to be at school by 8 A.M.

A study cited by NEA Today magazine showed that when school started later than 8:30, a nine percent improvement was shown in graduation rates and a four percent improvement in attendance rates was shown.

However, later school start times would not be without their obstacles. Bus schedules would need to be altered and extracurricular activities would last later into the evening. Furthermore, some research from Surrey University and Harvard Medical School shows that teens’ exposure to light from phone and laptop screens causes them to be up later. It also suggests that later school starting times would only cause their internal clocks to shift, and teens would still wake up cranky and sleep deprived in the end.

When surveyed, Bellwood’s high school teachers gave mixed opinions.

Some were for later school start times based on personal experience and knowledge of the research that has gone to prove its benefits. For example, one cited the observation that students and teachers alike are more alert on two hour delay days, and it would be worth it for the school district to find solutions to school ending later in the day. On the other hand, some were against it based on the fact that extra-curriculars would last late into the night, and some were indifferent.

According to high school principal Mr. Richard Schreier, the school board has “never really had any serious conversations about the change of times.”

He cited busing and transportation issues as some obstacles in pushing the school day back.

“In my opinion, the way that we do school now seems to work pretty well as far as scheduling with the parents’ work schedules, getting kids to school and then also after school activities happening,” he said.