Five More Minutes Please!

Schools are Starting at Later Times

Art by Angeline Tan.

Imagine this: you’re snuggled up in a cozy blanket on your bed, dreaming happily and finally getting your ever so needed rest. Then, you’re awoken by the blaring of your alarm clock, disrupting your peaceful slumber and forcing you to get ready during detestable hours of the day, all to actually get to school on time. 

A struggle every student has gone through or is currently going through is the lack of sleep. Sunken eyes, bleary expressions and fatigued behavior is a common occurrence for West High’s students. It’s no surprise that our students are tired; rigorous courses and demanding sport requirements cause students to stay up late at night to complete their assignments. Add in students who have jobs, chores that are expected to be completed, other extracurricular activities, or personal events, and it is clear why students choose to lose sleep to accomplish everything they have on their plates. 

How did the government respond to these occurrences? Earlier this year, California passed a bill that would push school starting times to 8:30am or later for most middle and high schools across the states, beginning in 2021. The reasoning behind the legislation seems logical- to help students regain a proper sleep schedule as well as reduce the lack of attention and impaired memory that insufficient sleep causes. Yet, starting school later won’t fix all the problems that cause students to lose sleep. The disadvantages of delayed sports practices, games, rallies and other events, among other things complicate matters more. A student with a job or a sport must spend their time after school completing their requirements, to go home and finish large amounts of homework. Getting out later would only delay the time students fall asleep and cause them to wake up later, which changes nothing. I believe that the reasons students lack sufficient sleep goes far beyond school start times. Personally, I think the large amounts of homework and studying the school system forces you to do is what makes students stay up.

 Will this administration truly help? The cons will make sleep even more difficult for certain students. Showing how the government should focus on larger things that affect sleep schedule, such as unnecessary homework and rigorous standardized testing that forces students to constantly stress and work through the night. These are the things that are causing sleep deprivation for our kids. Either way, the legislation is a step forward and shows that leaders are trying to make strides to achieve fully rested and ready students.

However, there is still a lot more to do.