Spartana

7:45 AM

The time when pencils and papers replace pillows and blankets.

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7:45 AM

Hafsa Ibrahim, Writer

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     Due to the inclement weather, most of us had the opportunity to sleep in far past our normal rising hour during the recent e-Learning days. When school is in session, students do not have this luxury and suffer throughout the day from exhaustion due to an inadequate amount of rest each night. Therefore, the question stands: are Homestead students waking up too early to go to school?

     Being sleep deprived can have a multitude of unhealthy consequences to anyone, but to a high school student, the consequences can be especially detrimental. Ignoring this aspect of life is dangerous to overall well-being and health.  

     The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teenagers get about nine hours of sleep each night. It is particularly difficult for high school students to fall asleep early because their brains are wired to function on later schedules.

     According to the National Sleep Foundation, the body’s circadian rhythm, a natural, internal system that regulates feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period, is reset during adolescence, telling a teen to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning.

     The brain hormone melatonin is produced later in the night for teenagers than it is for children and adults, which is why this change in circadian rhythm occurs. As a result, teenagers have a harder time going to bed early.

     Most students would argue that a few extra hours to rest each night would be both beneficial and helpful.

     “School should definitely start later because after school activities and homework take up so much time in the evenings, and getting time in the morning is good to get a few extra things done,” Leena Hussain (10) said.

     In addition to being able to sleep for a longer period of time, students who prefer to wake up early would have a chance to complete assignments that might be due, or study for any upcoming tests they might have in the near future. There seems to be much more freedom when school starts later.

     “I’d be a lot more awake, and more willing to learn,” Chengyu Bi (12) said. “It would push after school activities later, though.”

     A student who currently attends Snider High School was asked how he liked starting school at a later time of 9:05 a.m. The answers he provided were overwhelmingly positive.

     “I feel that I can concentrate way better because I get good sleep and that allows me to focus better, rather than being tired all day,” Austin Reasoner, Snider sophomore, said. “If I do not come into school super tired I am more likely to have a successful day.”

     Snider may begin earlier, but it also gets out later than other schools. The school day ends at 4:10 p.m. Despite this, students who were given the opportunity to rest for a longer period of time in the morning felt that they were able to concentrate and perform better in school.

     However, there are those who wish to wake up earlier than the normal time of 7:45 a.m. This would imply getting out of school earlier and having more time for homework and extracurricular activities.

     “Honestly, I wouldn’t mind waking up at five,” Rachel Lenardson (10) said. “If school started earlier, I would be able to go to practice earlier, and I could finish my homework earlier.”

     Although some students seek an earlier start, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “The first bell should ring at 8:30 a.m. or later – which is the case at only 15 percent of U.S. high schools right now.”

     Therefore, if students were to wake up even earlier than 7:45 a.m., the consequences would be severe.

     Despite the controversy surrounding the topic of starting times at HHS, there are some who are happy with the way things are, and see the fruits of leaving school at 2:35 p.m. each day.

     “As a local school leader, I am not in favor of changing our start time, largely because of the benefits of our current start time and end time,” Park Ginder, principal, said. “If you look at our schedule with the ending time of 2:35, it benefits hundreds of our kids each year because of internships and work experiences. It’s also good if you think about sports, music, dance, and band. If you look at the parking lot at 5:30, our kids are going home to have dinner with their families. The schools around us that have much later start times, their kids are leaving school at 7:00 p.m. Their evenings become later. Having talked with schools that have shifted their time schedules, they haven’t seen an improvement in discipline, or a change in grades.”

     Although the school is not considering a change in the start time, teenagers can find other solutions to fight sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

     Managing time and being efficient when completing assignments or studying for tests makes a person both productive and successful. Also, avoiding excessive hours of social media, although easier said than done, can prove immensely beneficial and eliminate most, if not all, distractions that occur throughout the day.

     Overall, Homestead’s start time might not be the best for students’ health, but it looks like it’s here to stay.

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