School Start Times

Becca Niederhauser, Fall 2014 J1 student

Teenagers spend most of their day in school, yet they are unable to take advantage of the learning opportunities offered by the school system because they haven’t gotten enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation impairs their ability to be alert, pay attention, solve problems, cope with stress and retain information.

Seven high schools in Minneapolis moved their start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and tested the outcomes. As a result of the change, the students got at least five extra hours of sleep per week, and attendance and enrollment rates went up, as did alertness.

If BV were to try the same experiment of changing the school start times, I think we would see many of the same changes in our school, which would make a positive impact on the students and staff.

Students would have more energy throughout the day and would be able to focus on their work, which would help homework and test scores to go up and overall grades to rise as well.

Students would also feel more willing to participate in lessons on a daily basis, which would help enhance the learning environment.

Being sleep-deprived not only affects students learning, but it can also be a cause of depression.

The National Sleep Foundation created a poll to calculate depressive moods by measuring the poll respondents answers to different mood statements. The results showed that 73 percent of the students who reported feeling unhappy, sad or depressed also reported not getting enough sleep at night and being excessively tired during the day.

Getting more sleep can’t stop someone from being depressed, but it can help them to deal with their problems because it will help to clear out their mind out a little each night.

BV needs to change the school start time to be later, so students would have more energy to get through their day, be able to learn more effectively and prevent depressive moods from occurring within students.