Guest View: School should start at 8:30: American Academy of Pediatrics

Letter to editor

The following is a letter to the editor.  Lincoln students and staff members are encouraged to submit their letters to the editor to [email protected]  Your letter may be published online or in our monthly paper publication.  Please abstain from using vulgar language.  We may edit your letter for errors and length.  Letters posted here do not represent the views of The Lincolnian or Lincoln Unified School District.

My name is Lauren Vierra and I am currently a senior. I have concerns about the overall welfare of high school students today. Students are sleep deprived and overworked. When students attend school, have extracurriculars, homework, personal responsibilities, and jobs, they often don’t get much sleep.

The average teenager gets an average of 6 hours of sleep a night. However, teenagers should be getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep! Without the needed amount of sleep, teens are at higher risk for obesity, drug use, depression, lack of physical activity, and, wouldn’t you know it,  poor academic performance. Our school’s time constraints are not only destructive but counter productive!

But if these responsibilities are what it takes to be competitive in today’s education system, what else can schools do to assist their students? They can push back their early start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting school at 8:30, but as of 2014, only 17% of schools followed their advice.

Some wonder: if the school time is adjusted wouldn’t the student’s just stay up later? In studies where schools changed start times from about 7:30-8:30, they not only found student’s bedtimes remained the same, but there was an increase in the number of students who slept more than 8 hours at rates of 23%. At a school where they made a 30 minute change in start time, bedtimes were 18 minutes earlier on average and the average of kids who slept more than 8 hours increased by 39%. We as a community should ask our local school districts to take this into consideration for the upcoming school year.