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Here’s why school starting at 9am might not be as beneficial as you think


It’s an age old debate every September, but we might have some evidence to show 9am (or earlier!) school starts just aren’t as good for students as we think they are.

It might seem like a fun idea to get all that daily educating over and done with ASAP but science might be against it. What do YOU think?

Seriously, who let schools start so early?! Starting back wouldn’t be so horrible if we didn’t have to get up before the sun does.

Brb, we’re trying desperately to stay awake right now. Are teens just lazy or is there some actual scientific evidence that our teenage brains just don’t function as well as adults in the morning?

As far as we’re concerned, waking up at 7am (or even earlier) is pretty hard for anybody but when coupled with the fact we can’t usually get to sleep until at least midnight, well, we’re pretty darn tired when it comes to doing trigonometry the next morning.

Some people out there are shouting about how lazy we are right now. Seriously, what gives? We’re pretty sure if we could fall asleep at a normal time and get a full, refreshing night’s kip we totally would. We’re not sleep depriving ourselves on purpose!

According to Paul Kelley when he spoke to the Guardian, “young people in Britain [are] losing on average 10 hours’ sleep a week, making them more sleep-deprived than a junior doctor on a 24-hour shift.” Seems pretty radical right?

By just putting school start times back to 10am or even 11am we could allow for teens across the country to get a couple hours more kip every night, allowing for better capacity to learn during school hours and a bunch more top grades.

Question is, is this all a rouse? Do teens actually need extra sleep and later school hours or do we need to toughen them up ready for the 9-to-5 working world? Because, unfortunately, no matter how much we hope, we aren’t all going to have jobs we can do in the comfort of our PJs.

There’s a fair argument for prepping young ‘uns for the real world. We might not like it but the working world isn’t a fun one and we might as well get used to early starts as soon as possible. Right?

Then again, 18+ year olds making a decision to work early hours is their own personal choice. Unfortunately school doesn’t work that way – you can’t just pick and choose what hours you want to work.

Yeah, we’re annoyed about that one too. We’d definitely say goodbye to our 9am lectures if we could.

Some IRL studies have taken place to explore what would happen if lessons were delayed until 10am. Dr Paul Kelley, the headmaster at a high school used for a pilot study, had this to say on the experiment’s results:

“Academic results went up, illness down and the atmosphere in school changed. The students were not only much nicer to each other, they were much nicer to teachers. It was bliss.”

That sounds beyond crazy! And if the science falls in favour of later school starts, well…

We hear a lot the phrase “just go to bed earlier” but anyone who struggles to sleep before midnight knows it’s just not that easy. We could get in bed at 9pm and still be tossing and turning at 1am.

Turns out that’s because our circadian rhythms are out of sync with adults and our screaming primary school siblings. So whilst our parents are downstairs yelling at us for being lazy and rebellious, there is actual physical evidence that it just can’t be helped.

Listen, maybe we are kinda obsessed with watching our YouTube faves late into the night, but we’re not doing it on purpose you know? We do TRY to sleep but it just doesn’t work out. Like, ever.

Speaking from personal experience, even though we do like getting all our classes over and done with ASAP, we’re usually so tired in our 9am lessons that we’re just not concentrating properly. Surely this means it’s not practical, plain and simple?

What do you think though: should schools start later or do teens need to get over it? There’s arguments for both sides here. Let us know which side you fall on in the comments and let’s spark a conversation.

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