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Since I started eighth grade, I have noticed that when listening to my teachers lecture, I have a tendency to zone out. However, this is not on purpose, it is due to my fatigue, which stems from a lack of sleep. Once I finish a class and am out in the hall socializing, a common conversation that seems to be initiated between my friends and I is complaining about how tired we are. This usually leads to us talking about past experiences about how one of us fell asleep in a class or how someone could not concentrate while taking a test. This is usually taken lightheartedly, but in reality, this is a subject we need to view with utter seriousness. A reason for this is the amount of sleep a person gets each night is reflected in her schoolwork and tests, ultimately her place in the future, which sounds like something to be viewed with caution.
To achieve the nightly obligation of eight hours of sleep, one has many ways to do this. For example, a student could go to sleep earlier each night. However, this raises another issue of whether or not the student is able to get to sleep early enough. This is because one must take into consideration a student’s nightly homework, and if she is involved in any extracurricular activity, she has many additional obligations. So I have proposed a solution to the problem of lack of focus in school. This would be that our school initiates the start of class promptly at 00 a.m. and ends class at 400 p.m.. From this approach, a student will find it easier to get the required eight hours of sleep. Many of my peers agree with me, including Michelle Sampson who quoted, “We should start school an hour later, because we would have more time to sleep in the morning. Also, people won’t be falling asleep in class as much.”#
The side effects that result from lack of sleep are often severe enough to interfere with a student’s daytime activities including her “learning” time. For example, as soon as a teacher starts to talk consistently about a subject, I usually stop concentrating on her teaching and start daydreaming. I will lose my focus on her lecture, which will result in time wasted and spent not learning anything. In addition to daydreaming, I have another problem that frequently distracts me from my learning. This recurrent feeling has a tendency to make my eyes slowly feel heavier and heavier. Then, I begin to feel lightheaded. Before I know it, the bell is ringing and I am left wondering how long, or even if, I was asleep. Being confused and bewildered like this is something no one should ever have to experience, especially in the middle of “learning” at school.
For the responsible students, the act of starting school an hour later would benefit them in many ways. Some of these ways include being able to learn, and more importantly comprehend at the same time, as well as avoid serious health problems. One study suggests that “students, as well as everyone else, need at least eight hours of sleep to maintain optimum health and learning capabilities.”# I conducted a survey and found that only five out of ten students get the required amount of eight or nine hours of sleep a night. In addition, only 0% of these students went to bed before 1100 p.m.# For the school to change its starting time, would definitely be healthy and beneficial to many of the students.
Although starting school an hour later would benefit the responsible students, it still might not affect some of the others at all. These students would not use the time shift to their advantage, because they would end up going to sleep later than their usual turn-in-time. In addition, these students might use this as an excuse to stay out later having fun, which might be a danger to themselves and others.
Although, there is another group of students who would not be able to use their time shift for their advantage. These students would be the ones who participate in extracurricular activities or are maintaining jobs. A problem that lies within school lasting to 400 p.m. instead or 00 is these students would have to modify their normal schedule. In fact, this proposal would cause students to work later in the night or attend practices later than normal. This would end up cutting into their extra hour that is supposedly going to another hour of sleep.
In addition, many professionals are now changing their mind about the amount of required sleep per night. Before, the time was eight hours, but now “ten hours of sleep a night is ideal.”# Even if they have added to the amount of sleep required, students still are not getting enough. Contrary to the hypothesis of this paper, the amount of sleep gained from the time shift will still not be the sufficient amount.
Nonetheless, these reasons seem to be outweighed by the stronger academic and safer health benefits of school beginning an hour later. Just an hour more of sleep would improve student performance, attendance, concentration, and attitude. In fact many of my peers agree with me, because we find getting the adequate amount of required sleep is next to impossible. However, there will always be those occasional, irresponsible students who would not use this time shift to their advantage, and rather against themselves. In the end, every hour of sleep counts.
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