A Later Start Makes a Better School


Wikimedia Commons

What time do you think school should start?

Hannah McCarron, Staff Writer

It is no surprise that high school students come to school tired, moody, and unhappy. Arriving at school by 7:25 a.m. and waking up even earlier is a recipe for disaster, especially when dealing with teenage minds.

Teenagers have a naturally different sleep schedule than adults. During teenage years, the body doesn’t produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, until around 11 p.m. at night. This means that the hormone that makes us feel sleepy doesn’t kick in until only a bit before midnight. No one chooses for it to be this way, it is just in our biology.

Because of this naturally occurring lag in hormone production, it is no wonder that teens sleep later and then struggle to wake up early, when they haven’t gotten the adequate amount of sleep their bodies require. As everybody knows, a lack of sleep makes it harder to focus, behave well, and truly be involved in learning. So why should we put high schoolers through this?

A solution to this is simple: school needs to start later. It not only will benefit students by providing them the opportunity of getting a healthier amount of sleep, but the overall school environment would improve. If we can delay the start of school, it is very likely we could also increase enthusiasm for learning.

Many GHHS students agree.

A poll was conducted by the GH Falcon that asked students what time they think school should start. 

55% of voters chose 8:15 am, making it the most popular option, 35% of voters chose 9:30 am, 6% of voters chose 7:25 am, and 4% chose 7 am, making it the least popular choice. It is clear that a whopping majority of students would prefer if school started later than it does now.

It isn’t just Green Hope students. Many schools around the country have taken notice of similar patterns in teens and have responded by pushing back start times, in order to make their students healthier and happier, adopting start times that reflect teenagers’ biological clocks. I believe that if we want to make a positive impact on our school environment, then Green Hope and Wake County should also take notice of this problem and follow suit.