fall 2015 j1 student
Imagine feeling well rested, waking up ready to start your day and having completed all your homework the night before.
I know — it’s hard to picture, right?
Blue Valley’s School District needs to push back the time school starts — numerous schools have changed this already, so why can’t we?
First and foremost, when students who drive get more sleep, car crashes will be reduced.
A high school in Jackson, Wyoming, whose original start time was 7:35 a.m., changed their start time to 8:55 a.m. That school year, there were only seven car crashes from students 16-18 years old, compared to the 23 the year prior.
Secondly, mental health can improve if students get more sleep, which will make students more excited to come to school.
Every 90 minutes, people shift between two different cycles of sleep — quiet sleep, when people experience deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when people are experiencing dreams. If the sleep cycle is disrupted, it will cause many problems — this includes impairing thinking and emotional regulation.
Lastly, later start times have shown to improve test scores.
Colby College economist Finley Edwards conducted a study to show how start times affect test scores. Edwards conducted the study in Wake County, North Carolina, and the schools had pushed the start time to 8:30 a.m., compared to their previous start time of 7:30 a.m.
Reading scores improved 2.8 percent.
Math scores improved 3.7 percent.
If the school can change the start time, not only will they reap the benefits of being placed well nationally because of test scores improving, but students will also have improved mental health. And, hey — we will even have less risk of dying in a car crash.
Next time you find yourself feeling weary at the wheel, in a crappy mood, or not doing so hot on a test — remember: all that can be fixed with a simple time change.