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Breehne 1

Christina Breehne

Prof. Dunham

English 1101-513

30 November 18

Sleep Deprivation Directly Relates to School

Teens and adolescents all across America are lacking amounts of sleep that they

need. This can be associated with many things, but most importantly it directly relates to

the early start times of many schools across the nation. Schools that start early are

having a negative impact on students health mentally and physically. Downfalls include

how well they can perform academically at school when sleep deprived, symptoms of

depression, and gaining weight from not engaging in physical activity.

Over 93 percent of high schools start before 8:30am impacting the way high

school students perform academically. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted

a study and is currently recommending that high schools start at 8:30am or later, which

allows students to get the amount of sleep they need. Adolescents ranging from ages

13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep every night (CDC 2). With the average teen having

extra curricular activities and large amounts of homework they are incapable of

receiving the amount of sleep they need. If schools started later a student involved in

extracurriculars will get the amount of sleep that is much needed for their bodies to

perform and function at their full potential. This will allow the student to perform better

academically because they will not have to worry about staying up late to do homework
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and waking up early for the school day. They can focus on the extracurriculars without

stressing about the early time they have to be up at in the morning. As a whole,

adolescents and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep and to do so high schools should start

at 8:30am or later.

Connections have been noticed between the early start times of school and

depression as well. Depression is “persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety and

disinterest” that can increase with age (Fuligini 2). As we age, we grow academically by

advancing our skills in subjects such as math, science, and language arts. When we

specifically hit the ages of 11-14 years we discover that are sleep patterns have

changed from when we were little. Therefore our circadian rhythms have to adjust to our

academics that are advancing, which is very challenging because our circadian rhythms

are psychological and very hard to be changed. When we make efforts to try and alter

these rhythms it can lead to depression. Therefore, we need to adjust the school

schedule to our circadian rhythms. A study in 2004 showed that over 2,259 students

obtain very little sleep due to school work and their body's circadian rhythms. It also

assessed students symptoms they were feeling. These included feelings of low

self-esteem and sadness, which are symptoms of depression (Fulgini 7). Overall,

circadian rhythms can not be changed to fit our academic schedules because it can

lead to depression, it needs to be the other way around. If we start school times later it

can help prevent depression in teens and adolescents.

Lastly, gaining weight and lack of exercise can also relate to early school times.

Early school start times contribute to adolescents and teens sleep insufficiency,
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therefore we should start school no earlier than 8:00am (Widome 2). As we grow older,

are body hits puberty and there are two systems in the body that help regulate our sleep

and weight (Widome 7). These two systems are the pineal gland, which is responsible

for the production and distribution of melatonin, and the leptin that regulates the fat

storage in our body. These systems work together to manage our bodies well being.

When we lack sleep, our leptin gland allows stored fat to build up. When school starts

early, teens and adolescents lack sleep causing the pineal gland and leptin to work

together and allow unnecessary fats to be stored. This can lead to obesity in teens and

adolescents, which is an epidemic across the United States. If we delay school start

times, we can lower the risk for obesity in teens and adolescents.

Although school should start later, there is a counterargument that explains why

school should start earlier rather than later. Many students believe a later start time

would be better, but they are not fond of getting out of school later (Evansmoen 2). A

later start time could take away from a students athletic practices and games, family

and dinner time, and lastly work time to earn money (Evansmoen 3). Many believe a

earlier start time will be more beneficial in the long run, but a later start time will benefit

them more academically. If they have more benefits academically, they can get into a

good college and graduate with many job opportunities straight out of college, which in

reality is more beneficial in the long run because you will have the chance to have a

more successful adulthood. There are valid points to start school early, but the

reasoning as to why we should start school later outweighs the pros of starting school

early.
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Schools should strongly consider delaying school start times to later in the day.

The later school starts, the more benefits there are to its students. This includes

performing better academically, lowering the amount of students that struggle with

depression, and lowering the risk of obesity and lack of exercise in teens and

adolescents. Although there are advantages to starting school early, the benefits of

starting school later outweigh those advantages of starting earlier. School should start

later because of the lasting benefits and impact it will have.


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Works Cited

“CDC Features.” ​Centers for Disease Control and Prevention​, Centers for Disease Control and

-------​Prevention, 30 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html.

Evensmoen, Emilie. “Why School Should Start Earlier.” ​The Spartan Oracle.,​ 4 May 2018,

-------​spartanoracle.com/20044/opinions/why-school-should-start-earlier/.

Fuligini, Andrew. “B. Depression, Anxiety, & Fatigue.” ​The Impact of School Start Times on

​ dolescent Health and Academic Performance​, 6 Nov. 2017,


-------A

-------​schoolstarttime.org/early-school-start-times/depression-anxiety-fatigue/.

Widome, Rachel. “Later School Start Times May Lower Risk for Adolescent Overweight,

-------​Obesity.” ​Healio,​ SLACK Incorporated, 31 Oct. 2017,

-------​www.healio.com/endocrinology/obesity/news/online/%7B1f176e73-4fd5-44ee-92f1-da171

0f​-------​72fbe%7D/later-school-start-times-may-lower-risk-for-adolescent-overweight-obesity​.