Sleep or School?


Photo by Photo courtesy of Google Images

Students wake up before the sun on a daily basis.

Holly Palmer & Lauren Herrin, Staff Writers

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” is an old saying by Benjamin Franklin, but this does not necessarily apply to teenagers.

“Nobody wants to wake up at the crack of dawn,” said Kylee Koopmans, a senior at Bingham High.

It can be hard to pay attention in your first period. Sometimes you don’t learn a lot because you are trying to keep your head from bobbing. Sure you can get to bed earlier, but due to after school activities, jobs, and homework that might not always be possible.

Students aren’t the only ones losing sleep. Teachers arrive to the school about thirty minutes to an hour before the bell rings. “For us old schoolers, we’re used to getting up early so we expect you guys to do it,” said Coach Wes Gross, one of the football coaches and weights teacher here at Bingham.

Teachers may be wasting their lectures in their first and/or second period classes because half of the students have their heads down dreaming of the weekend. “My afternoon classes are more energetic, but that doesn’t mean they’re learning more,” said Ms. Charron Mason, a history teacher at Bingham.

According to the Sleep Foundation, teenagers have specific biological sleep and wake patterns. The natural tendency is to wake up late and stay up late. This is a dramatic contrast from

Bingham’s schedule.

Mr. Scott Sommer, Psychology teacher at Bingham, said that research indicates that if school schedules went according to biological sleep patterns, elementary schools should start early in the morning, because little children naturally wake up early and go to bed early. Mr. Sommer has asked his students on how much sleep they get every night, and in his experience his students get about 5-6 hours of sleep each night. He said teenagers need 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Teenagers would benefit from starting school later, because they naturally wake up later. However, there are many sociological reasons why elementary school starts late and high school starts early.

There was a study done in Minnesota by Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom. They changed the starting time in seven different high schools from 7:15AM to 8:40AM. Dr. Wahlstrom examined the affects of having a later start time and student performance. She discovered that just a few extra hours of sleep each week improved student performance.

Coach Charron Mason, the girls’ basketball head coach and history teacher, does not want school to start later. She said she normally gets home around 9:40PM, and if school started later she would get home even later.

“There’s not enough time in the day as it is,” she said, and if school started later students wouldn’t have enough time to do everything.

There would be less time for homework, sports practices, and after school jobs.

Amber Davis, senior, works as a lifeguard at the South Jordan Recreation Center. Unlike most students, she sometimes works before school, from 5-7AM. She said it is hard for her to get to school on time, and she would love it if school started later, because then she would have time to get ready for school and not rush.

Senior Hannah Davis would also like school to start later. She doesn’t work until 5pm, so a later start time would not affect her, but she said many people would not be able to get jobs if school ended later. However, if a later start and end time did confict with a student’s work schedule, there is always the option of work release.

Students would benefit from even an extra hour of sleep each night. Scientific evidence shows that there would be an improvement in student performance. We would be able to stay awake in class better and focus on lectures being given. This would cause less disrespect to teachers, higher grades, and happier parents.

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