My school year so far has been OK. Not outstanding, but not bad either. I expect that to change now though because today is the first day of drama (AKA: craziness). I would like to better plan out my time, particularly my sleep schedule around drama, work, and school. Last year, I definitely did not get enough sleep and I would like to avoid that this year as it is very unpleasant to walk around in a constant state of exhaustion. This week, I intend to start looking at my schedule and try to plan it out so that it can be the most efficient and healthy for me. Something that could unravel that plan is unexpected schedule changes like cancellations and reschedulings, snow, and ability to get a ride to where I need to go (until I get my license).
Speaking of lack of sleep, the issue that I am interested in evaluating deeper is the issue of school start times. People are becoming more and more aware of the problem of chronic sleep deprivation among teens. Studies have shown that a teenager needs an average of 8 to 10 hours to function properly, but most fail to come close to this number. Teenagers are stuck with enduring many biological changes, including how they sleep and how their bodies react with sleep. They are hardwired to get tired later in the day and consequently sleep later in the day. When schools start earlier than 8:30, it becomes very difficult to find time to get the sleep necessary. A later start time would help promote proper sleep schedules and be beneficial to the student academically, emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially.
Some parents are not so keen on this proposal to have school start and end later in the day. They feel that this will interfere with after-school activities such as sports and eating times. If the school day starts an hour later, it also ends an hour later. This, in turn, will push back sports practices and make it harder for the parent to adjust meal times and pickup times.
I side with pushing school start times to a later time because I feel that the student’s overall health is more important than convenience. As a sleep-deprived student, I can say first-hand that it isn’t healthy trying to take tests on 6 hours or less of sleep. While the other side has some valid concerns, I think they are not nearly as important as the overall health of the teenage population.