Why School Should Start Later

In order to improve students' health and mental abilities, high schools must end their restrictive schedules and allow students to get more sleep.

Los Alamitos is one of  the many high schools filled with rigorous courses and abundant work loads, which can lead ambitious students into a state of stress and sleep deprivation.

Los Alamitos is one of the many high schools filled with rigorous courses and abundant work loads, which can lead ambitious students into a state of stress and sleep deprivation.

Jackie Bond

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As a junior in high school, I am constantly forced to sacrifice my sleep schedule in order to finish my daily mounds of homework. By the time I get through most of my assignments, and am able to go to bed, it is already almost midnight. This bedtime may not seem too terrible; but, when paired with my 5:30 wake up time and insomnia-spurred hour to fall asleep, a deadly cycle is created. 

I get an average of five hours of sleep each night which, according to medical adviser Camille Peri, “lowers [my] alertness and ability to problem solve” (What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Mind). Therefore, the rigid time schedule and abundant work load of high school classes actually hinder students’ ability to learn and concentrate on the subject at hand. If only school started forty-five minutes later, (shortening each class by a mere seven minutes) students would be able to fully focus on mentally-draining assignments, and be far more likely to enjoy the school day.

Not only will a shortened sleep schedule enhance students’ concentration, it will also improve students’ overall disposition, and make them “much less likely to develop serious mood disorders such as depression or anxiety” (What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Mind). Camille Peri elaborates on this point by explaining that teenagers who get less than six hours of sleep each night are “five times as likely to develop depression” (WebMD). Unfortunately, I am one of the many high school students who fall under this horrifying category of increased likelihood of developing depression. But, if school was shortened by just forty-five minutes, I would no longer be a part of this alarming statistic, and my mental health would improve drastically. Therefore, only forty-five minutes less of school each day would better teenagers’ mental and physical abilities, education, and overall health.