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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Delay the Start, Stay Smart

The School Day Starts too Early
Early start times hurt student’s productivity, development, and ability to perform. Image Created in Canva by Arianna E. Conomacos

The wail of the alarm screams in my face as I peel open my groggy eyes and make contact with my buzzing phone. The glow of the screen illuminates my puffed, drained face and tells me the time is 5:00 a.m. I drag myself half-heartedly through my morning routine and try to find the energy to do some extra homework before heading out the door. Shaking from the sheer amount of caffeine in my system, I push my way through A period in a half-conscious haze. 

 A 7:20 a.m. start to the day is unnecessary and ineffective for high school students. High schoolers are already consumed with homework, assignments, he stress of finding a career path, and are in the middle of making decisions that will determine there entire life. When you add a lack of sleep into the equation the only thing you’re accomplishing is making things harder for high schoolers and reducing their ability to be productive.

Merrimack starts at 7:30 a.m., Milford starts at 7:40 a.m., Dover at 7:40 a.m., Manchester 7:50 a.m., Pelham at 8:00 a.m., Portsmouth at 8:30 a.m. Whole those are just a few examples, one trend is clear, none of them start earlier than 7:30 a.m. Most importantly, it should be noted that the schools with the latest start time are ranked higher in test scores in the state of New Hampshire. Hanover high school, with an average SAT score of 1283, has a start time of 8:55 a.m.!! If that isn’t enough proof, Pembroke, with an average score of around 1018, according to the NH Fairness Project, starts at 7:30a.m.. No where on the high achieving list is there a a school that starts there day 7:20 a.m.

Middle schoolers should not be the ones that get to sleep in over high schoolers. Middle schoolers have far less pressure and expectations placed on them in comparison to high schoolers. High schoolers however, are getting ready to jump into life and more rest would only help them in the long run. 

Some parents may be concerned that older kids might not be able to watch over their younger siblings when they come home from school. They argue that if the school day starts later, this will be an issue. But if the start time of the middle school and high school is switched that’s not an issue. Middle schoolers are fine on their own and will still be there in time for when elementary school kids come home on the bus. The later start times give highschoolers time to appreciate their last years as a kid. 

Parents might argue that making teenagers wake up earlier prepares them for the real world, when jobs require such a thing. I disagree. Teenagers need more sleep than adults in order to remain healthy and grow. Teens do not need to PREPARE for adulthood early, their bodies are still developing and aren’t ready for things like that yet. When they get to adulthood, they will require less sleep and waking up early won’t be such a point of stress. Under sleeping is highly normalized and extremely overlooked. Most people do not understand the negative side effects it could cause people, especially growing and developing teenagers. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, under sleeping causes the body to start shutting down. The memory is reduced, mood swings occur, immunity weakens, and the chemicals inside of the body become unbalanced. 50 to 70 million Americans experience a disorder or dysfunction of sleep that affects their performance mentally and physically. According to the same study, only 15 percent of teenagers get the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep. Oftentimes when I’ve experienced exhaustion, I forget information that should come to me easily. If the school day had started later, students will at least have the time to collect their thoughts in the morning before delving right into assignments.

Whenever we have had a delay in school I have felt  much more refreshed and happy since I got more sleep, and had time to collect my consciousness.  Later wakeup also helps students if they realize there was an assignment they forgot to do the night before, so they can finish it before school starts. Not only would this help students but teachers would feel better knowing that their students have more opportunities to finish the assignments they posted.

Many teachers also give assignments that are due late at night, and students sometimes have to stay up late to complete them. But if there was a late arrival students wouldn’t have to decide between completing the assignment or getting good sleep because they can sleep in a little the next morning if needed. 

Sleep is precious, without it we start to break down. Add on top of this the tightening noose of school and career choices, makes school a perfect storm for burnout, exhaustion and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be this hard. Start later. 

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