Rise and (Try to) Shine!

(Photo Source: PEXELS)

(Photo Source: PEXELS)

Jessica Brann, Writer

There’s no doubt students resent arriving at school so early in the morning. It can be miserable getting up in the dark while the rest of the world is still sleeping and getting ready for a day one may not enjoy. For growing minds, does the academic schedule have students’ best interest in mind?


Student Opinion

In response to a survey about the time school starts in the morning, students answered a series of questions about their preferences. Two thirds of students surveyed claimed to not be happy with the current time school begins, but only about 45 percent would want sports practices to be pushed back to make space for a different schedule. When asked about ideal start times, a majority of students said starting the day at 8 and ending at 2:45 would be the best option. Another large quantity of students said the current schedule is best.


“This [schedule] would provide most adolescents with an hour more of sleep, and that’s so valuable for them. Moving the time forward for school starts would be very cool, therefore,” said Ben Drescher, and many students agree. 


The North Reading School District, for example, has a later start time each morning. The high school starts their days at 8:30 in the morning and gets out at 3 in the afternoon.



There is no debate surrounding the importance of sleep for students. According to the CDC, children ages 13 to 18 should be getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. For a student who must wake up at 6 in the morning, they must go to sleep at 10 at the very latest to get the recommended amount of sleep. Most students who were surveyed wake up between 6 and 6:30, but about 20 percent of students wake up earlier than 6.


Senior Jack Fahey writes on the topic of sleep, “ I definitely think myself and my classmates could use more sleep. Naturally, many of us would wake up later and fall asleep later if the school schedule allowed it. The only thing is, I think that there are more aspects to the problem. Phones and stress from schoolwork can also raise issues for sleeping,” and he couldn’t be more right. 


The National Institute of General Medical Studies has an article describing circadian rhythms, which is also an important factor in students getting enough sleep. The circadian rhythm is the routine rise and fall of energy one has during daytime and nighttime. This routine is different for teens than adults. Teens see a rise in melatonin about an hour later than adults do, meaning they naturally wish to stay up later at night. Another thing that can affect circadian rhythms is blue light from devices. In the world of technology we live in today, this is hard to avoid. The blue light from phones, computers, and other devices with screens can suppress melatonin, making for a restless night.


The Sports Dilemma

A big reason school begins and ends so early is to make room for sports and other extra curriculars. The time students spend on sports after school depends on what they are doing. One student explains that “…sports can take up 2-5 hours, closer to 5 if there is a game”. 

Outdoor sports can also rely on natural light, meaning it becomes more difficult once the sun sets. Students also have homework they must complete and should make time for relaxing and socializing. 

Sophomore Kate Conover shares her opinion as follows: “Starting earlier is a benefit because it allows more time for homework and sports. Not to mention, if someone is trying to hang out with friends it makes it hard when school goes so late. Also, for sports that are outdoor and need daylight, need an earlier start before the sunsets so early, especially in the fall.” 

There is a value in starting school early in the morning. By taking advantage of every hour of daylight, children get more time to fit a busy schedule without it spilling over too far into the night. Nonetheless, it appears that students are split nearly equally on the topic of when school should start. For students who wish they could get some more sleep, routines can be implemented that allow for them to go to sleep earlier in the night and wake up more refreshed.