Later School Start Times Benefit Students’ Health

Leanna Litke, Reporter

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Students academic behavior is being tested but the key ingredient to their lack of motivation in school is being overlooked. For middle and high schoolers shortage of sleep is the main issue.
Major health factors are at risk with the prevention of sleep in young teens.
“Chronic sleep loss contributes to higher rates of depression, suicidal ideation, obesity, and high blood pressure. Long-term deprivation has also been shown to be a factor in lower test scores, decreased attention span, tardiness, concentration, and overall academic achievement,” said Jessica Lahey of The Atlantic.
Students aren’t getting the required numbers of sleep they need which is showing higher rates to poor health.
“Based on data about the sleep habits of over 12,000 teens across 11 European countries, researchers found that a student with suicidal thoughts could be predicted to sleep about 36 minutes less each night compared to counterparts with no suicidal thoughts. For teens with severe emotional problems, the amount of sleep lost would be about 30 minutes, on average, each night,” said Reuters Health News
Though we don’t have the numbers showing how many students in schools are suicidal, there are shocking numbers that don’t make those feelings uncommon.
“The annual age adjusted suicide rate is 13.42 per 100,000 individuals, 129 suicides per day” and “based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 7.4 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicidal attempt in the past 12 months,” said The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Sadly enough but not shocking, females are at a higher risk than males.
“Female students attempted almost twice as often as male students (9.3% vs. 5.1%),” said the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
When questioning students in the Sedro Woolley school district, females were found to have more to say about switching elementary school times with middle and high school starting and end times.
“I think it would be really beneficial for kids my age and older to get up later so we could get those extra hours of sleep,” said Leah Litke from Cascade Middle School.
Girls were also more worried for personal health and school while boys were more focussed on other things.
“Personally, I like the schedule we have for high school, it’s pretty good. So go to bed earlier, welcome to the real world, it’s not going to change. You can get out of school earlier, and if people want to work after school you know it gives them more time and more hours to work, so if we were to get out at 3:30 as opposed to 2:30, say you normally work a 10, you’d have to work to 11 to get the same amount of hours,” Andrew Lohman a Junior said.
Some may have it easier in school, but there still are those issues that most students do face.
“For a long time I did feel alone, but now that I’ve realized every single kid is going through the same thing, everyone’s going through struggles but we don’t really realize it cus it’s a part of our daily life, it’s so normalized now that we don’t take control and care for kids we just say that’s how it is normally, but that’s not the right way to live. We need to be there for everyone, so I think a lot of kids feel alone especially with a lot of things relating to school, but I feel if our schools were there for us we’d feel a lot better about ourselves,” said Leah from CMS.
Kids do go through big changes and waking up early doesn’t help.
“Middle school students, we just got into this whole new world of school and homework and teachers and class periods. We all are just getting used to this new schedule and life… it’s hard and difficult because we are going through these new changes we’ve never felt before or done before and just lack of sleep makes it 10 times worse,” Leah said.
School is tough, the hours students are getting aren’t enough. School is emotional and hurting teens health and students are all for getting rid of this problem which affects many.