The Wrong Side of the Bed

Zach Speed, Staff Writer

Sleep. It is what we all long for. It is what we rarely get. Forced to get up at a time when it’s unclear whether it is night or day, there is little hope for a high school student to get the sleep necessary. Yet, somehow teachers still find the nerve to yell for sleeping in their classes.

What is the world coming to?

Just so there is no misunderstanding, this is not a rant; I’m just cranky.

This is backed by scientific research. Most people are aware of the fact that teens need approximately nine and a quarter hours of sleep each night. However, according to the Sleep Foundation only 15 percent of teens were reported to be getting just eight and a half hours.

And it’s not our fault that we can’t get that sleep. Emma Tolkin ’13 explained that the only way to get enough sleep is, “If I go to bed at9:00 p.m.and skip first period.”

Faculty and parents have an easy solution, right? Get to sleep early. What may surprise them is that the Sleep Foundation has proven that sleep patterns for adolescence shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking up. That means that it is unnatural to fall asleep before11:00 p.m.

Check mate.

With that cleared up, can the mystery of why elementary students have a later starting time than high school be solved? Six-year-old kids don’t need the extra sleep. They have enough energy the way it is. Ask any parent.

But somehow it makes sense for them to get more sleep than high school students. Logic. Got to love it.

To be fair, maybe high school students have grown accustomed to these early starting times. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal. That would be a reasonable excuse if it were true.

Students like Ethan Bradeen ’13 have said that, “Absolutely,” school starts too early. Bradeen has also claimed to never be able to focus first period. And has even admitted, “Yes,” he has fallen asleep in class.

It may come to your attention that Bradeen only gave one-word responses. Can you guess why? He was asked about this first period in the morning. Surprise.

Teachers may also notice a lack of interest during first period. Maybe even a little bit more than lack of interest. Rebecca Stern, a math teacher, has reported catching several students sleeping in her class.

While falling asleep in class obviously doesn’t help learning, lack of sleep is also the cause of both irritability and loss of focus. Not to mention the fact, provided by Harvard Health, sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory.

Unfortunately, I doubt, “I didn’t get enough sleep” will fly as an excuse for failing a class. Sucks. I know.

Getting down to business though, there is no reason for school to start as early. It makes students less vigilant, provides a less effective learning environment, and is just annoying.

It is time to take a stand.

Enough getting up before the sun. Enough getting up before elementary kids. Enough not being able to pay attention in class. Enough is enough.

I challenge Principal John Dodig to do the right thing and support making the starting time later. My initial proposal would be to make it12:00 p.m.But, that might be a little much.

But, just to help the decision making process along, keep a few study results in mind.

According to Psychology Today, a school inRhode Islandthat shifted its start time from8:00 a.m.to8:30 a.m.showed several positive outcomes. These outcomes included an increase in attendance, fewer visits by students to the health care center, and mood improvements.

Surprisingly to some, our principal is actually a pretty cool guy. Dodig recognizes that7:30 not an ideal starting time at all and that changing it could help.

However, Dodig also brought to light several problems with changing the start time. “The same fleet of buses is used for all schools, if we started any later, elementary school children wouldn’t be able to start their day until close to nine o’clock,” stated  Dodig

Anybody could see the dilemma that puts Dodig in. But, guess what? I have a solution.

Instead of shifting the elementary, middle, and high school start times later, just switch them. I’m willing to be selfish at this point. I have been up too late and had to wake up too early too many times.

We need the sleep. And what ever happened to sharing is caring? The elementary school had their turn with later start times. Now it’s our turn.


With that to chew on, I just have one thing left to ask: Can I go back to bed?