Can Starting School Later Help Improve Students Health? Essay Sample

Published: 2023-01-04
Can Starting School Later Help Improve Students Health? Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Research proposal
Categories:  Education School Healthcare Child development
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1955 words
17 min read

Starting school early is the primary cause of sleep deprivation among teenagers. Sleep deprivation is regarded as a significant course of many health problems suffered by society. Although most people view sleep as a luxury and associate it with laziness in which industrious and ambitious people cannot find time for, research has found that getting enough sleep is biologically essential as it is to get balanced diet or to have physical exercises. Adolescents are profoundly affected by sleep deprivation, as shown by research. Though they need to get 9 1/4 of sleep per night to get best brain development and optimize their performance, on average, they get 7 hours of sleep every school night, and as a result, they report being so tired during the day. (Wolfson, Amy, & Mary 875-887). The cause of this problem is associated with teens' behavior change and their poor sleeping pattern which deprives them quality sleep, as well as school time schedules which require students to wake up early, and carry homework, thus making them sleep even later. If the school time table is restructured to allow students to report then in the day, their performance and overall health can be improved.

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Sleep deprivation among teens comes with its risks, both health-wise and academically. Though they spend much of the time in school, lack of enough sleep affects their overall academic performance. They are unable to concentrate in class, thus affecting their ability to retain and apply what they are taught as they are already stressed by sleeplessness. Lack of enough sleep among youth is the primary cause of drowsy driving, depression, irritable, emotional behaviors, poor concentration, drug abuse, and the overall poor performance among youth today. The short term effect of sleep deprivation is loss of memory and concentration, whereas, in the long term, lack of enough sleep can lead to depression, heart attack, cancer, physical injury, poor academic performances, suicidal thoughts or at worst, committing suicide. Rescheduling school timetables can remedy all these vices and have students report a bit late as opposed to the current system (Minkel et al., 1015).

There are many biological and social changes among adolescent that cause a difference in their sleep patterns. As these teens reach puberty, sleep patterns change, which can increase their sleepiness during the day. Many teens undergo sleep delay, which makes them get asleep later in the night and wake up then in the morning. Research has shown a typical sleeping time among teen to be 11 pm as their internal clock gets more awake even in bedtime (Sousa, Louzada, & Azevedo 30-35). As a result of these pattern change, teens need to wake up late in the morning for them to enjoy their average sleeping time of 9 hours, but due to tight school schedules, these teen are deprived off sleep as are required to wake up early for school. To compensate for the lost sleep, teens tend to sleep more hours during weekends, and this causes irregular sleep patterns, which can worsen their health and well-being (Dahl & Carskadon 2-3).

Lack of enough sleep among school going students has been found to reduce melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle, and it is believed to reduce cancer risks by suppressing the growth of the tumor. Dr. Mary A. Carskadon of Brown University experimented with measuring circadian rhythm through the use of melatonin secreted in saliva. His finding was in agreement with the teen sleeping pattern as he found that, melatonin is secreted later in the night, leading to the delayed sleep pattern but turns off behindhand in the day which is the reason behind the struggle of a teen in waking early. As this is purely biological, forcing students to wake up much earlier in the day, denies them a chance to get enough sleep yet they cannot sleep earlier to compensate as their bodies will resist.

Sleep deprivation has led to overreliance in caffeine. Students are forced to consume much caffeine to remain awake and prevent the urge to sleep during the day as a result of sleeping fewer hours during the night. Much caffeine is harmful to one's health as it increases anxiety, raises blood pressure, causes insomnia affects digestion and can cause irregular heart rate. As these problems are caused by students trying to remain awake against their biological demands, starting school late can remedy these problems. Students will have enough time to sleep, thus reducing their need to use caffeine to remain awake during the day and in turn, improve their health.

Another cause of delayed sleep among teens is the social media and other mainstream media industry. The growth of social media has its good and lousy share among students. Whereas it has helped to improve knowledge and interaction among teen, it has also led to time mismanagement among youth, and this has affected their sleep pattern. Most students surf online or chat with their friends till late at night, only leaving themselves with a few hours of sleep before the alarm wakes them up halfway their dreams. As this social challenge is life among most school-going youth, subjecting them to a timetable that requires them to get up early only serves to depress them, overwork them, and lead to poor academic performance. There is, therefore, a need to reschedule school timetable to allow these teens enough time of sleep as the ripple effect of denying them is riskier both health wise and academically.

Getting enough sleep will help our bodies to replenish and repair the worn out tissues. Everyone needs to regenerate their body cells and allow their body to relax and replace the dead body cells. Research has shown that the body replenishes itself when it is asleep. Even more, our minds can only recharge when one takes enough sleep. As students require this replenishing more, they need to get enough sleep for them to perform optimally when in class. But this is not possible with the current school schedule that is not concerned with their overall health, forgetting that lack of it will not only affect one's physical health but academic performance as well. Kids, who get enough sleep, tend to be healthier, happy, and academically smart compared to those with deprived sleep.

Enough sleep improves heart health. Studies have shown that lack of enough sleep can lead to heart attack and other heart-related failures. Most of the heart attacks are reported to occur in morning hours as lack of enough sleep may worsen blood vessels and blood pressure, which is the primary cause of heart attacks. Depriving one's rest also raises insulin in the bodies, which is a significant cause of diabetes and heart attack.

Starting school late will improve students' academic performance. When kids get qualitatively and quantitatively enough sleep, their minds are replenished, and their bodies rejuvenated. The benefits are reflected in their academic performance as their attentiveness increases, their memory is improved, and as a result, they get able to retain more of their learning and reflect the same during assessments. As a study conducted by professor Wolfson of Loyal University in Maryland and Dr. Mary Carskadon of Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University shown, students with a mean average of C were getting 25 minutes fewer of sleep every night compared to those with higher grades (Wolfson& Mary 875-887). Students should, therefore, be encouraged to get enough sleep by having school schedules start late as this will be beneficial to their academic performance.

Another health benefit of starting school late is that students will get time to enjoy a healthy breakfast to start their day with energy. Many students nowadays abandon breakfast as they rush to catch up with the school bus. By pushing the start time, students will get time to prepare or get the already made breakfast and have time to enjoy it without a hurry. As the breakfast is arguably the best meal of the day, giving then time to enjoy it will significantly boost their physical, mental and psychological health which will help them even to improve their overall academic performance.

Starts school early leads to more injuries. Most students drive themselves to school and having them drive while tired is a significant risk to their health. Their lack of coordination and attention due to lack of enough sleep can make them cause road accidents that can even be fatal. Students who also involved in sports activities are at higher risk of getting injured due to reflex and other physical coordination problems caused by lack of enough sleep.

The primary reason most youths do not get enough sleep is the school rules and schedules, which require them to be in school early in the morning. As most kids cannot get to sleep in good time even when they are tired, the only solution is to have them wake up late after sleeping the recommended hours. The research has shown that schools that have rescheduled their timetable to start later in the day have their students improve performance in academics and overall health. There is, therefore, a need to have school timetables changed to reflect these observations. Continuing to hold to the old traditions that waking up early and being awake till late improves one's performance is a great contradiction of what scientific research and experiments have proven.

The duty of seeing this paradigm shift should be a combined effort between school management and parents or guardians of these teens. As the school reschedules their starting hours to offer students more time to sleep, their guardians should also play a role. They should ensure their kids gets to sleep early enough and even dim the lights and switch off electronics for them to get sleep. A media curfew, both mainstream and social media, should also be implemented as these digital products are the major causes of late bedtimes among youths. Parents should consider switching off the internet and televisions when it is bedtime to force kids to sleep. As teens prefer to sleep late on weekends and during vacations, the parents have to ensure that their kids maintain a health consistent sleeping pattern as breaking the model leads to irregular sleeping patterns which affect one's health even more.

Otherwise, the shift will not bear any favorable fruits as teens are known for defiling all odds to seek fun and enjoy their time. Some kids may end up sleeping even later when they expect to wake up late. They may spend much more time on movies and social media of which will deny them the anticipated outcome of the shift. When students report to school and leave later in the evening, their physical exercise back at home will be deprived, and this may cripple the benefits targeted as a lack of exercise will affect their health negatively.

In conclusion, it is scientifically evident that going to school late would not only improve students' health but academic performance as well. Einstein once said, "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school" (Hayes 143-154). There is, therefore, no need to subject kids to early school hours when yet they can't retain what they are taught due to sleep deprivation. There is, therefore, more significant need to advance the campaign for late schooling as it will allow kids to get enough time to sleep and get overall healthier growth.

Works Cited

Dahl, R. E., & Carskadon, M. A. (1995). Sleep and its Disorders in Adolescence. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine in the Child, 2, 2-3.

Hayes, Denis. "What Einstein can Teach us about Education." Education 3-13 35.2 (2007): 143-154.

Minkel, Jared D., et al. "Sleep Deprivation and Stressors: Evidence for Elevated Negative Effect in Response to Mild

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