OPINION: More Motivation

The pros of our new start times.


India Turner, Editor in Chief

It isn’t about the amount of sleep, but when that sleep happens. This is what the new schedule is helping address. Unless the amount of school time or homework is reduced, students are still going to sleep the same amount that they do now. However, what the new schedule does do is try and change what time students are going to bed and waking up.


As hormone levels change in teens, the internal body clock changes as well. The release of melatonin, a hormone which helps us fall asleep, is actually delayed in teenagers. So, while melatonin is released at around 10 p.m. for most adults, it isn’t released until about 1 a.m. for teenagers, according to BBC Science. This doesn’t mean you can’t fall asleep before 1 a.m., but it is more difficult, and most studies claim that teenagers generally can’t fall asleep before 11 p.m.


Many teenagers spend up to an hour trying to fall asleep, becoming restless and frustrated, because they are actually going to bed too early and resisting their body’s natural cycle. Some people even have to be prescribed medication to change their sleep schedule, in order to get enough sleep because of how early school starts.


Schools throughout the nation have pushed their start times back after research done by the American Medical Association advocated for later start times for high school. A study surveyed eight schools (some in Colorado) when the start time was 8 or later. Tardiness to first period dropped 66%, and students’ GPA for their first period skyrocketed according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


There are problems with the new schedule that need to be solved, no doubt. The later end time makes it difficult for students who work after school, and bus and sports schedules need to be adapted. No matter the schedule, there are always going to be problems. However, the health of teenagers needs to come first. Sports are important, academics are important, but health should be the priority.


With a later start time: teen car crashes are reduced by up to 70%, the number of students sleeping in class goes down, grades go up, behavior in class improves. If we focus on putting health first, improvement in grades and sports will follow.


Thousands of schools throughout the country have made the change and it has worked. Right now it may seem like more problems have been made by this new schedule than have been solved, but the long term benefits of a later start time have fundamentally changed the environment of schools, and will change Monarch for the better.