Should High School Classes Start Later in the Day?
Sleeping in is just for weekends, or so we thought. The editors of MacLeans, a Canadian public affairs magazine, think that high school students should be able to sleep in and have classes start at 10 a.m. The editorial reviewed students at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute in Toronto. They are already in their second year in late-start classes.
It’s no surprise that teenagers like to sleep in, but studies show that there’s a biological reason for them not being early birds.
“It is starting to look as though a forward shift in sleep patterns is a natural accompaniment to sexual maturation—not just in humans, but in mammals generally; rats and monkeys, it seems, engage in their own version of what parents witness in their recalcitrant 16-year-olds,” the editors at MacLeans stated in a recent article.
Not only does waking up late seem to be a more natural sleep pattern, studies also show that sleeping in late means more sleep overall.
“In a 2008 study conducted in Fayette County, Ky., a one-hour forward shift in the start times at public schools was associated with longer reported hours of sleep—and a 17 per cent reduction in accident rates among teen drivers, during a period when rates for all other drivers increased eight per cent,” the magazine reported.
Additionally, recent research shows that more sleep means better grades.
Undeniably, studies in sleep patterns prove that late classes could be a better way to go. However it’s more complicated than that. I think that 10 a.m. classes throw off a whole family’s schedule.
We can assume that classes wouldn’t get out until 5 p.m. every day, and after-school activities would last at least until 7 p.m. That means supper probably wouldn’t start until 8 p.m., leaving little time to spend with family.
Sure, teenagers may be able to stay up late, but parents have to get up early for work. Will parents be forced to stay up until two in the morning just so they can spend more time with their children?
I also believe that high school is the best time to teach children good habits that they will use their whole life. Getting out of bed early happens to be one of them. Though teenagers’ brains might not start until 10 a.m., most of the population rolls out of bed way before that.
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