Becca Pizano / Graphics Dept.Teenagers are infamous for never getting the proper amount of sleep, however, it may not be the teen’s internal clock that needs some changing. Florida High Schools usually begin the day at 7:30am and end at 3:15pm. Although, what lacks awareness is the fact that adolescents are literally not meant to function entirely until at least 8:30am. When an adolescent undergoes their transition into the wondrous world of puberty, their internal clock shifts about two hours. Meaning a kid who used to go to bed at 9 pm will habitually begin to feel drowsy at 11pm instead. Melatonin is the chemical your brain secretes when its time to feel like sleeping, and teenager’s brains don’t begin to do so until about 11pm. Interesting how it’s not a stubbornness to sleep, but a lack of a chemical reaction until a set time. It’s all very biological and scientific. But the current school schedule does not take this factor into deliberation.

Adolescents need nine and a 1/2 hours of sleep a night to be healthy. Most students, nevertheless, are lucky to get seven. There are many dubious factors to take into consideration when it comes to a teenagers sleep deprivation and their schedule, which is usually packed as it is. In preparation for school, students wake up 5 sometimes even 4am in the morning. Subsequently, school and social obligations take up a good portion of the afternoon. Then there is homework to attend to that, more often than not, eats away at the night and precious resting time. Sequentially, this causes teenagers to be fatigued from lack of rest in the early school morning, during which the prerogative changes
from actually learning to worrying about keeping your head up in class or, better yet, students resolve to use school as a means of gaining back their lost sleep. Teenagers then have trouble with the workload at home, which means an even larger loss of sleep, and the whole situation spirals into a gruesome domino effect cycle that tastes like instant coffee and sleep withdrawal, all due to the fact that schools have to open at 7:30.

Sleep is usually not taken seriously in the world of teenagers but the cons of sleep deprivation are anything but a joke. In fact, sleep deprivation could possibly be the cause to many symptoms that are part of what normally considered common ‘moody teen’, which makes sense considering that 90% of american teenagers fail to get their full nine hours of sleep. To clarify, lack of sleep can cause lack of focus and an inability to learn and listen in the classroom. It can make teens be easily forgetful with things such as phone numbers, names, even important dates with your significant other. Do you still get acne or pimples? Well, lack of sleep induces extra stress that causes breakouts. It also leads to aggressive behaviour like impatience and those moments where everything and everyone makes you irritable and its one slow hallway walker away from a fit of rage. Irritability, pimples, and ditzyness is something that is stereotypically considered the norm for all teenagers. Since our internal clocks clash with society’s schedule, teens don’t get enough sleep, and in turn we end up acting how we are stereotyped as.

There has been many speculations on whether the time schools open should be adjusted to a more adequate hour for the sake of teens health. Would modifying the time even have an effect on student’s health our education? Studies actually show that although the time difference is a mere one hour, schools and districts that begin class time at 8:30 have a definite increase in things such as student attendance, completed homework, student focus and alertness, and fewer student issues with stress and parentals. An 8:30 start time also reduced student driving accidents, this being due to a decrease of students driving while drowsy, which can lead to serious risks of being unfocused while driving a vehicle.
Appropriate sleep and rest isn’t some sort of privilege that with is awarded to those who are just fortunate and successful. Its a biological necessity, that is just as important as eating and breathing. What’s worse, students have taken to a habit of putting off sleep for the sake of homework and more often than not its encouraged to do ‘all nighters’ or stay up till the sun comes up to finish work. It has become the norm for highschooler’s to expect not getting enough sleep, when it should be considered a necessity.

Some steinbrenner students postulate that opening schools at an earlier time would alleviate a considerable amount of the anxiety that comes with having to wake up. With a student’s internal clock more functionable and relative with the actual time school begins, the workload that can be put into education will not be lost to the early morning exhausted-zombie-sickness that so many pupils experience daily.

The cons, however, are likely the reasons to why action on this issue has been so sparse. The main con being problems with transportation. Streets and schedules have been so accustomed to the high school 7:30 system that changing it now would affect traffic greatly. Also, having school start late also means having school end late. There have been states who have put in the extra sleep hour into action, with positive results. Hopefully in the near future things could begin to change closer to our district, because I could predict that while adjusting might be a slight endeavor, there would certainly be great result in the end.

Becca Pizano / Graphics Dept.

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