Students academic performance declines with earlier start times

December 13, 2021


Katherine Li ('23)

Students are getting less and less sleep every night and this can affect their academic performance.

Start times in schools across the nation impact a variety of things including car crash rates, students’ mental health, and perhaps most importantly, academic performance.

It is important to note that sleep is directly correlated with academic performance. In order for students’ brains to be able to retain as much information as possible, it is crucial for students to be getting the recommended hours of sleep per night, 9 ½ hours, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. During this sleep period, the brain processes what one has learned during the day and stores it for later use. If students are not getting enough sleep, not all of the information they learned in school will be properly stored and they will not be able to recall it later. Thus, start times affect students’ ability to retain the information they learn in school and their test scores, essays, and overall knowledge of a topic.

Moreover, if one comes to school sleep-deprived, it is more likely that they will not be paying attention in class or could even fall asleep. Oftentimes, this is quite noticeable among Cherry Hill High School East’s students, usually because students have been up late studying or completing homework assignments. However, all of the homework a student may end up doing could prove to be pointless in the morning if they are unable to remember it in a week.

As stated by the Sleep Foundation, “benefits of later start times include: improved attendance at school, reduced tardiness, better student grades, fewer occurrences of falling asleep in class.” These impacts all relate to academic success. The same organization found that when students have decreased sleep rates,they can experience problems with “information retention and cognition, student behavior and classroom conflict,” as well as other related issues.

Sleep and academic performance go hand in hand, and with the amount of homework students get every night, and pressure to get involved in school activities, makes it difficult for students to get the recommended amount of sleep. And of course, this is especially true when East’s school start time is at 7:30. Moving forward, students and adults alike need to understand that if education is so important, it is important for students to get the right amount of sleep. Otherwise, what students learn in school will prove to be inconsequential.

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