Shelby: When it comes to sleep and school, do more Z’s equal more A’s? Well, to find the answer to that question, Scott Evans traveled to a high school in New York where later start times actually sparked a big debate among students. Check it out.
Scott: 6:35am. It is an early morning start to another school day. But how early is too early?
Increased irritability and impulsiveness and even depression are some of the many effects of sleep deprivation in teens. Not a shocker though, right? But experts say there is also a loss in functionality, even though the student may not feel sleepy. That is why two years ago, Glens Falls High School in upstate New York pushed the school’s start time back almost 45 minutes from 7:45 to 8:26.
Collins: This seemed like really a no-brainer and something that we could control and do that would be best for the students.
Scott: But even though more sleep on school days sounds like a no-brainer, not all the students here were happy about the switch.
Patricia ‘Patty’ Corey: I was dead-set against it.
Scott: Senior Patricia Corey and a small group of other students protested the later start time. They feared it would affect their afternoon sports schedules and make getting their homework done even tougher.
Patty: We were in the news. Like, it was big deal, you know, for us as students.
Scott: Patty does mock trial competition and competes as a diver on the school’s swim team. So a later start time at school means a later start time on homework.
Patty: I’m probably not home until about 8:30/9:00. And then I still have probably homework, still have to eat dinner. Like, all that kind of stuff.
Scott: But it is a switch schools across the country are considering. And students in California, Oklahoma, Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky and Minnesota are already hitting the snooze button.
Students were asked to keep sleep diaries and complete sleep surveys throughout the transition. And after two years, students here are getting 18 to 48 more minutes of sleep each night. And that is translating into some other big gains for them. The number of courses failed by both juniors and seniors was cut in nearly half in the first year of the switch alone.
Collins: Now, our initial data collection is showing that our tardy rate is down. You know, people are calmer and they seem happier and more at ease. And because of that, I think our discipline referral rates are down, students are more alert in the classes.
Scott: And even Patty was convinced.
Patty: I love the later start time. I honestly can say that. You know, I can admit that I’m wrong. I was wrong.
Scott: In this case, the phrase should be, ‘If you don’t snooze, you lose’.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.
Shelby: Now we want to hear from you. Do you think school should start later in the morning? Head to ChannelOne.com and give us a piece of your mind.