Picture this: you jolt awake to the dreaded sound of your alarm blaring. The clock displays the time 6:00, and you can barely resist hitting the snooze button. As the day grows on, the sleepier you seem to become. This exact situation happens to thousands of students in the United States every day. Doing well in school requires a student’s full attention and effort, which can vary depending on the amount of time spent sleeping at night.
Children and teens are advised to sleep at least nine to eight hours each night; however, most students do not achieve that goal due to a number of reasons. It is widely known that poor sleep leads to poor academic achievement. A teen’s biological clock shifts forward so instead of feeling tired at night, teenagers become more awake and often find it difficult to fall asleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “melatonin, which cause sleepiness, is secreted later at night and causes a teen to be groggy in the morning due to the high levels.” Seven schools in Michigan began school at 8:30 am instead of 7:25 am and recorded the students’ response to both start times. Data showed that both attendance and alertness increased dramatically due to the later start time. Students who began school at 7:25 am were four times as likely to be tardy and had significantly worse grades.
In this study, data concluded that beginning school an hour later increased alertness, improved grades and attendance, and decreased depression in students.