Bruce, E. S., Lunt, L., & McDonagh, J. E. (2018). Sleep in adolescents and young adults. Clinical Medicine.
It seems counterintuitive that sleep is directly associated with a healthy mind and body, yet schools require adolescents, who are biologically prone to staying up late, to wake up oftentimes before the sun even rises. During one’s teenage years, the brain is experiencing a significant period of growth, where the health and habits one will have as an adult are being shaped based on the choices one makes. One of the most important things for them would be to get an adequate amount of rest at night, considering mental and physical illnesses, as well as poor decision-making and mood, are linked to a deficiency in sleep. Not only would they be negatively affected by a poor sleeping schedule in their current lives, but they also run the risk of developing issues that will follow them into adulthood. Many teenagers report being unsatisfied with the sleep they get on weekdays, while a majority of those people also claim they do not get enough rest to focus on their schoolwork. Because they obtain a delay in recognizing the time their body feels tired, they are bound to stay up late whether they have to wake up early or not, lacking the hours of sleep their age group requires to function properly. With the best interest of their students’ futures in mind, schools should start and end at later times, allowing teenagers a few extra hours of shut-eye in the morning that may be life-changing to them.
How I used it: I used this article to better understand the link between a lack of sleep and feeling drowsy during the day. By discovering that it leads to health issues and impaired cognition, I was able to understand how sleep affects one’s ability to learn.
Das-Friebel, A., Gkiouleka, A., Grob, A., & Lemola, S. (2020). Effects of a 20 minutes delay in school start time on bed and wake up times, daytime tiredness, behavioral persistence, and positive attitude towards life in adolescents. Sleep Medicine, 66, 103–109.
The authors of this article conducted a study on whether twenty extra minutes of sleep had any significant effects on students’ health and well-being. They had them complete questionnaires at the end of each school year. This survey included questions on matters like the time they wake up and go to sleep and how they feel throughout the day. Though their findings were minimal and they concluded that twenty minutes was too short of a delay to provoke any outstanding results, the piece did mention that the average amount of sleep they got increased by sixteen whole minutes. With just twenty minutes of extra time, adolescents utilized the chance to obtain more rest. This brings to mind how beneficial an hour or even thirty minutes more time in the morning could be.
How I used it: I was wondering if, given the opportunity, students would take the extra few minutes of rest rather than staying up even later to make up for it. When the school district mentioned in this piece was delayed by twenty minutes and children reported sleeping an additional sixteen, my claim was able to be proven true.
Dunster, Gideon P., et al. “Sleepmore in Seattle: Later School Start Times Are Associated with More Sleep and Better Performance in High School Students.” Science Advances, vol. 4, no. 12, 2018
Everybody has a circadian rhythm that causes them to become tired or wide awake at specific hours of the day. During puberty, these times tend to become delayed. Many teenagers have chronotypes that make it difficult for them to fall asleep at a time that would assure they received enough hours of rest before the school day. Even though they wish they could do their very best and go to bed on time, their bodies prevent them from doing so. Because of this, the authors in this article performed a study to find out whether an extra hour of sleep would benefit adolescents and whether or not they would take the opportunity. Their findings turned out to be very positive, proving that not only did they obtain an extra 34 minutes of sleep but their grades also improved by 4.5%. Schools would be insane not to take this chance and better the present and future of every single student of theirs.
How I used it: I needed to be able to prove that it is in the biological makeup of adolescents’ to stay up into the late hours of the night. Through this article, I learned the parts of the brain that play a role in this and the reason young people have trouble falling asleep.
Fitzpatrick, J. M., Silva, G. E., & Vana, K. D. (2020). Perceived barriers and facilitating factors in implementing delayed school start times to improve adolescent sleep patterns. Journal of School Health, 91(2), 94–101.
Though there are many great benefits of starting high school at later times, it is important to touch on the disadvantages. For example, many school districts use a tiered bus system, meaning that if the time high school began was made to be later, the pick-up times of the children at the other schools would be affected. It may be difficult to get the community, especially the children, to get used to this change. Because of this, their school hours run the risk of being altered as well. In high school, sports are a big deal and can make or break somebody’s chance at getting into college. Considering sports are usually practiced after school, practice times would shift and this could negatively affect athletes in many ways. If they are involved in a sport outside of school, they may not be willing to change their practice or competition hours to compensate for one team member’s new schedule. It would be difficult to change the time school began without impacting sports participation. Many people attend church on Wednesday nights. Youth groups are also held, and a later school start time could interfere with this. It would take an adjustment of not just high school, but the entire community, to adjust the start and end times of high school.
How I used it: I had a difficult time understanding the negatives of beginning school later but this article opened my eyes to them. I was able to put myself in the opposition’s shows and take after-school activities into mind, as well as the tiered bus systems. By understanding their concerns, I was able to make a stronger argument against them.
Harbard, Emily, et al. “What’s Keeping Teenagers up? Prebedtime Behaviors and Actigraphy-Assessed Sleep over School and Vacation.” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 58, no. 4, 2016, pp. 426–432.
In order to help teenagers achieve more sleep, we must first understand what it is that is keeping them awake. Though there are biological factors, in this day and age, there are also many external factors. Electronics are so much more easily accessible and often require kids to be active users of them in order to stay in touch with their peers in school. Teenagers could stay up all night texting on their phones if they have no self-control. Video games and surfing the web are also other large contributors according to the study performed by the authors of this article. Whether listening to music is harmful to children’s sleep schedules is debatable, though, because while it delays the bedtime of some, others use it as a sleep aid. On the other hand, participating in family activities does the opposite of electronics and actually helps children fall asleep more quickly. Unfortunately, children are bound to use electronics at night and this is out of the control of schools. This could be because of reasons such as peer pressure, screen addiction, and curiosity.
How I used it: I had an idea that children were staying up because of electronics, but I wanted to be able to confirm my beliefs. I now realize that this day in age it is nearly impossible to avoid things like video games and social media if we want to fit in with society.
Hudson Walters, P. (2002). Sleep, the athlete, and performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 24(2), 17.
It seems counterintuitive that student-athletes are the teenagers who need the most sleep, yet they are the ones who get the least. There could be many reasons for this, including nervousness prior to games, a lack of time for homework and socialization after school and practice, and the early start times of high schools across the nation. Coaches are actively searching for a solution to this problem, considering lack of sleep negatively affects performance. Throughout history, studies have shown that people who participate in higher-intensity exercise receive an increase in quality and quantity of sleep, but student-athletes seem to be the outlier of this equation. Because their only difference from regular athletes is that they are in high school, the issue seems to be rooted in the scheduling of their schools. A 2-week period, consisting of 1 week of stabilization and 1 week of observation, is the recommended treatment for athletes who are sleep-deprived. It is also suggested they keep a consistent sleeping schedule in a comfortable sleeping area. Though, it’s important to note that this may not be possible for everybody, especially teenagers. Starting school at later times would benefit these athletes by giving them a few extra hours of sleep in the morning. These are people that would definitely take advantage of this time because they need the rest and care extensively about their performance.
How I used it: Because delaying what time school begins would change when sports started as well, I made a goal to look into how this would affect athletes overall. What I came to find is that though their practices would occur a little later in the day, they would perform better in them and achieve more positive and long-lasting results.
Kotagal S, Pianosi P. (2006). Sleep disorders in children and adolescents BMJ; 332 :828
Because of the early times, they are forced to wake up, plus their natural circadian rhythm, adolescents are prone to developing sleeping disorders. Things like smartphone use, after-school sports, caffeine addiction, evening jobs, and homework may increase their risk. Teenagers are expected to wake up around six in the morning for school, yet require nine hours of sleep at the least. Daytime sleepiness is a common sign of these disorders and it is important for parents to keep an eye out for the symptoms. Narcolepsy and Restless Leg Syndrome are examples of two sleep disorders that can form. Restless Leg Syndrome involves a crawling feeling in the arms and legs at night, while Narcolepsy is random bouts of sleep followed by vivid dreams. Delayed sleep phase disorder and sleep-related breathing disturbances could interrupt a person’s circadian rhythm, therefore, risking their mental and physical health. Psychiatric disorders that are not directly related to sleep – such as anxiety, depression, and OCD – can also lead to poor sleep hygiene. A sleep specialist may be required to detect and treat any sleep disorders. Fixing the issues among adolescents with sleeping disorders caused by a lack of proper rest at night could be the key to enhancing the quality of life.
How I used it: I used this thesis to educate myself on which disorders an unhealthy sleep cycle causes and what they can do to people in the long run. There is no reason we should not prevent them in their origins if we have the capability to do so.
Plog, A. E., McNally, J., Wahlstrom, K. L., & Meltzer, L. J. (2019). 0207 Impact of changing school start times on teachers/staff. Sleep, 42(Supplement_1).
Not many studies discuss how a later start time would affect the school’s staff as opposed to the students. While the well-being of the children is obviously the most important factor in decision-making for school districts, it is also important to consider the staff. In this specific study, the starting time of Elementary School was made earlier, while the middle and high school were made later. Middle and High School teachers both reported a later wake-up time and total sleep time. On the other hand, Elementary School teachers reported an earlier bedtime and wake-up time, with no change in total sleep time. Elementary School teachers also felt less prepared to start the day, though there was no report of the other level teachers feeling this way. Though assumedly because of the later times they arrived home, there was an increase in Middle School teachers who did not get to have dinner with their families. Middle and High School teachers experienced less daytime sleepiness, while Elementary teachers felt less prepared to start their days. Overall, it seems as if a later start time would be very beneficial to both students and staff. The level that had their starting time made earlier was the one that showed the most negative effects, while most of the impact starting later had on MS/HS teachers was positive. Not only would starting school later improve the attentiveness and energy of the students, but it would also increase the quality of teaching.
How I used it: This piece helped me take into consideration how delaying school start times would affect teachers. I found out that they’d also benefit from the extra sleep they would receive and that it would improve their quality of teaching.
Killgore, William D.S. “Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cognition.” Progress in Brain Research, 2010, pp. 105–129.
Because sleep is what makes the brain function, it is important humans receive enough of it and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Considering teenagers are still developing, it is crucial their health is regarded by schools. They should contemplate a lack of sleep’s effect on cognition and formulate their start and end times considering this. Important factors of learning such as creativity, attention, and memory are damaged when one does not rest enough at night. It harms parts of the brain that play a key part in processing the information we learn each day and then recalling it at a later time. Not obtaining enough sleep also harms us emotionally, making it substantially more difficult to keep a level head and remain in a positive mood. If teenagers’ mental and academic well-being was taken into mind more often by those who create school policies, the start times of classes would be at least an hour later and they would have a better chance at retrieving their recommended eight hours of shut-eye. This minimal shift would have extremely positive results, such as adolescents’ grades improving and an increase in their motivation to learn.
How I used it: I wanted to research the health of children and how it is impacted by the early hours school begins. I found out the multitude of negative consequences it has and was able to use them to strengthen my claim on schools harming their students.
Mo, Yun, and Kusum Singh. “Parents’ Relationships and Involvement: Effects on Students’ School Engagement and Performance.” RMLE Online, vol. 31, no. 10, 2008, pp. 1–11.
Children’s family lives are huge factors in how successful they are academically and their motivation to try hard in school. Those in abusive households where they are treated violently or forced to care for their siblings do not get an equal shot at achieving the grades their privileged peers do. With the already inappreciable amount of time they have to themselves following the school day, dealing with family dilemmas could overtake these few hours up and prevent them from doing their homework or studying in a timely manner. School is designed for the most fortunate of students and officials do not think about those who have to work triple as hard to obtain the same results.
How I used it: I needed statistics on how home lives affect children’s motivation to learn and I was able to find a link between the two.
Kelley, Paul, et al. “Synchronizing Education to Adolescent Biology: ‘Let Teens Sleep, Start School Later.’” Learning, Media and Technology, vol. 40, no. 2, 2014, pp. 210–226.
Most people assume adolescents are simply just lazy when they complain about being exhausted throughout the day. They believe it is their choice to stay up all night on their phones or play video games until the sun rises. They fail to take into consideration that there is an extreme change in their sleep habits during puberty and it is the time in their lives when they are most likely to stay up late. The deeper they grow into their teenage years, the later they are prone to be awake. It is unethical for schools to fight against biology and force children to show up before they have received a healthy night’s worth of rest. It would be more reasonable for the time classes start to change in order to avoid negative consequences, such as poor grades or moods. Poor sleep is also associated with many mental and physical issues, such as diabetes, depression, anxiety, and hypertension. Policies should be formed based on scientific evidence, but schools across the country tend to ignore the facts and harm their students in the process. Later school start times would benefit teenagers greatly.
How I used it: I wanted to show my readers that teenagers are not just lazy and that staying up at night is beyond their control. It is how their bodies are programmed and they would do the opposite if given the choice.
Owens, Judith A., et al. “Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, vol. 164, no. 7, 2010
Even a shift as minimal as 30 minutes could immensely change the lives of high school students. Researchers had students in grades 9-12 complete a survey relating to the sleep they received at night before and after making this change in their district. Every part of their days improved from their attitudes to their alertness. These findings are crucial when regarding recent studies documenting that the average adolescent is sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is not something to be taken lightly and can lead to health issues and learning delays that stick with a person throughout their entire lives. Not to mention, school statistics would skyrocket as well. Fewer dropouts, tardies, and behavioral problems occurred as rises in attendance and grades did as well.
How I used it: An ideal later start time of school would be anywhere from an hour to two, but I also wanted to confirm that even a tiny difference would benefit students. The school district studied in this article found that just 30 minutes could do wonders for their grades and health.
Strauch, I., & Meier, B. (1988). Sleep needs in adolescents: A longitudinal approach. Sleep, 11(4), 378–386.
190 high-school students filled out questionnaires over the course of a few years regarding the quality of sleep they receive and how it makes them feel. A majority of them wished for more sleep each year and many reported feeling drowsy in the morning. The typical adolescent has a difficult time adjusting to the sleep schedules imposed on them by schools, failing to receive enough. This contradicts that school districts have the best interest of our children in mind.
How I used it: I wanted to prove that most students wished they received more sleep, and through the survey the authors of this article examined, I was able to.