Changing Times

How school start times negatively affects teens’ sleep and overall health.


Like many students, I stay up late each night to do homework and wake up early to get to school on time. Getting enough sleep is crucial, and with school started at 8:10, teens physical, mental and emotional well-being are a risk. Teens ages 14-17 need anywhere from 8-10 hours of sleep each night. With school work, sports and other activities, nearly 70% of high school students don’t get enough sleep. 

According to better health, teens get about six hours of sleep, which is below the recommended time. 

According to The Sleep Foundation, “This has severe consequences for health and well-being, because disrupted circadian rhythms can adversely affect digestion, heart rate, body temperature, immune system function, attention span and mental health.” 

Contradictory to this, there are also many benefits to early start times. Early start times work significantly better with many people’s schedules. These times give space for parents’ work schedules so that they can either take their kids from school or be there in the mornings. Starting earlier also makes it easier for extracurricular activities like clubs and sports to happen after school, and gives them more time after school. 

Although moving school times to later, there are some things that people can do to get more sleep. Sleep habits such as limiting caffeine, screens and dimming the lights before bed will help to improve sleep for teens and students. 

According to the CDC, “Adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning as a result in shifts in biological rhythms. These biological changes are often combined with poor sleep habits.” Sleep has an extreme effect on development and growth, especially of teens. The circadian cycle in adolescents affects what time the body gets tired and wakes up. These changes cause teens to fall asleep later each night and wake up earlier each morning due to school times. Sleep is crucial to students in many aspects, and early start times are taking that away. 

Giving students more time to sleep, will benefit students in ways mentally and physically. Sleep is crucial to students in many aspects, and early start times are taking valuable time away.