April 30, 2002
With the school starting time right now, students are not getting enough sleep. The average teenager needs about 9 1/2 hours of sleep per night, but 25 percent of them are only getting 6 1/4 hours of sleep. The rest of them are getting about 7 1/2 hours. I propose that school starts at 8:50 a.m. and ends at 3:55 p.m.
A recent study in Rhode Island shows that students who earned mostly C’s, D’s and F’s got on an average 25 minutes less sleep than the students who earned A’s and B’s. It also shows that most students got an average of two hours less sleep than was actually needed. Students who got poor amounts of sleep were more likely to have behavior problems.
Dr. Mary Carskadon, an expert on adolescent sleep, says that because of hormones and changes in the body it is difficult for teenagers to fall asleep early. If school started at a later hour, students would be able to focus more and be able to reach their full potential.
If schools start later, then they will end later, too. Therefore, it would keep many kids off the streets while their parents are not home. In Minnesota they changed their school times to 8:40 a.m. from 7:55 a.m. The teachers in the school said the students were a lot more alert during the first two periods.
School should start at 8:50 a.m. and end at 3:55 p.m. This would give students more time to sleep and make them less irritable. They would also be more alert and would most likely get better grades.
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