Does the Early Bird Really Get the Worm?


John Chirico, Contributing Writer

Students’ mental health is at risk! Most students tend to complain about the time they have to wake for school everyday. 

School should start at least an hour later. Students would function at a much higher rate academically if this was approved. 

The amount of sleep students get has a great effect on mental health, diabetes, potential depression or suicidal thoughts. In a study done by the APTA, comparing middle and high school students’ sleep patterns and middle school students, 57.8% reported insufficient sleep, with nearly 12% reporting sleeping fewer than 6 hours a night. Among high school students, 72.7% reported insufficient sleep, with about 20% reporting sleeping fewer than 6 hours a night. Not enough sleep on a daily basis can heighten these possibilities to teenagers in particular due to the change in hormones as well. 

Academic success is a great factor compared to the amount of student sleep. A study by David Chandler of MIT said, “The overall course grades for students averaging six and a half hours of sleep were down 50 percent from other students who averaged just one hour more sleep.¨ Additionally, the more sleep an individual receives, especially an adolescent, the less likely they will disrupt class, because they will have higher energy and more motivation to learn. 

If a student has extra time to sleep and get ready for school in the morning, they are more likely to eat a balanced breakfast every morning. Science shows that those who eat breakfast are more likely to get fiber, calcium, and other important nutrients. Eating breakfast is much more important to learning than most students know. Statistics show that eating breakfast will increase participation and grades for students.

The school system has been designed to prepare students for the real world in the aspect that most employees have to wake up for work every morning very early. Research claims that waking up early offers more restorative sleep as it helps set your body’s ‘internal clock’, establishing a routine for your body. If a future boss wants his employees to be at work early in the morning and they fail to do so, they will be fired, so the schooling system is looking to avoid that. The system wants to create successful and beneficial people in society. 

The system is damaging the health and behavior of adolescents. The only way to prevent these risks from occurring is to let students get at least an hour extra of sleep every night before school. 

The government needs to initiate and promote adolescent health now. They need to set a mandate for schools to start later.