Thinking About School Start Times

Maybe forcing teenagers to wake up at the crack of dawn isn’t a great idea…


New proposed legislature in New Jersey may help future high school students get enough sleep with mandatory later school start times.

Many teenagers will whine and lament about how much they hate school, but maybe we should consider that the problem with school may not actually be school itself.

The problem may lie in the fact that teenagers start 70% of their week at the crack of dawn, which sets a gloomy and tired precedent for the rest of the day. Studies have shown that getting better sleep has a direct correlation to increased productivity. To get a suitable amount of sleep, high schoolers should go to bed at around 9:00 pm, which is in most cases a far cry from the actual bedtime of many students

It is widely known that getting a better sleep leads to many benefits in your day to day life. In fact, when you look at the science of sleep, the benefits seem endless. Better sleep means a better immune system, better mood, better memory, better productivity, and much more.

More recently, the mental health of students has become a major focus in education. While schools have claimed to increase their focus on mental health, they fail to address one of the biggest issues that threatens the health of their students.

Based on the current information we have available, it can be concluded that delaying the start time of schools would bring a net benefit to both students and teachers.

Many politicians agree, and in fact, New Jersey lawmakers are proposing a bill that would require high schools to start no later than 8:30 am. Don’t get too excited however, this proposal appears to only apply to students starting the 2024-2025 school year and later.

However, there are also some concerns regarding delaying school. Namely, bus schedules would have to be redesigned to accommodate the new schedule across the district. And some students may complain about the reduction of afternoon free time that comes with a delayed schedule.

Overall, it would appear that the many benefits that would come with this change overwhelmingly outweigh the possible concerns. It has taken a long time for schools to address the issue, and it would appear we are finally getting some momentum.