The Kimball Conception: Later start to school day will help students

Andy Kimball
Opinion Columnist

Andy_Column BWEvery day high school students wake between the hours of 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. to go to school at the 7:55 a.m. start time.
Most high school students go to sleep around 10 p.m. and don’t actually fall asleep until 10:30 or 11 p.m.
This means some students go to sleep at 11 p.m. and wake up at 6:30 a.m. or earlier and don’t get the full eight hours of sleep recommended by doctors.

Students who get eight or nine hours of sleep regularly are more likely to learn and less likely to get into fights, be tardy and sustain athletic injuries, according to the “New York Times” article called “To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In.”
According to “Nurtureshock’s The Lost Hour,” children under the age of 21 get an hour less sleep than they did 30 years ago.
That doesn’t seem like a lot, but the study shows the hour of sleep lost each night over the 21 years of brain development take away two years of cognitive development.

Sleep deprivation can also cause sleeping in school or worse falling asleep while driving to or from school.
Also every hour of that students lose shifting their sleeping patterns costs a child seven IQ points.

Children who suffer from sleep deprivation have other symptoms like disengagement, impulsiveness and depression.

Also the “New York Times” reported the University of Minnesota studied eight high schools that changed start times to later, and the study showed that the later start times produced better mental health for students, fewer car accidents and, in some of the schools, higher test scores and grades.

The school district in Columbia, MO , changed its start time to 8:55 a.m. due in large part to Rockbridge High School student Jilly Santos’s efforts in bringing awareness to the issue.

WGHS should follow suit, changing their start time to 8:55 a.m. It would give students that hour of sleep back. A student would just start the day later and then end school at 3:35 p.m. School sports could still start after school at 3:50 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Changing the start time will result in students showing up to class on time, ready to learn, and being alert and involved in class.

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