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Home » Newspaper News

Some schools consider changing their hours to improve sleep deprivation among students

March 20, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy

Schools across America are considering changing school hours to decrease sleep deprivation issues among students.

For Byrnes Freshman Academy the school hours are 8:10 in the morning to 3:25 in the afternoon. With an academic morning starting this early, most students wake up between 5 and 6 in the morning to begin getting ready for school, and some still don’t have the time to eat a fully healthy breakfast.

Kylie Burger, student at BFA, does not get up to begin getting herself ready for school until 7 and eats her breakfast at home.

Hayden Brown, student and athlete for BFA, claimed he doesn’t begin preparing for school in the mornings until 6 and eats his breakfast at school.

Brown and Burger both agree that a change in the school hours would have a positive effect on the students of BFA.

Assuming most students go to bed between 10 and 11 at night and wake up between 5 and 6, this gives the high school student between 7-8 hours of sleep on weeknights. An adolescent teen needs approximately 9 hours and 15 minutes of sleep.

A study of more than 3,000 teens published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “85% were chronically sleep deprived and accumulated a sleep deficit during the week.”

However, moralists will argue, teenagers should simply go to bed earlier; this may not be as easily done as it is said.

In another study, researchers found the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that prepares the body for sleep, occurs later and later in the evening as a child goes through adolescence and shuts off later and later in the morning.

Mr. Jackson, vice principal at BFA, suggested, “I wish we started earlier, like 6:30-12. But I don’t think many students would come that early. Or we could all have a schedule where you could pick whether to come AM or PM, almost like a night school but still having the option to go in the day time.”

However, with this change teachers may have to work later, and after school activities would end later as well.

This change would greatly impact students like Hayden Brown, who participates in multiple sports such as football, basketball and lacrosse for Byrnes High School and also participates in swimming outside of Byrnes. Each of these sports requires over two hours of practices and often has games lasting two hours or more.

Kaitlin Distler, Math Tech I teacher at BFA, offered another suggestion about school hours, “…I would go to school longer if it meant a four-day week with a three-day weekend.”

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