[Opinion] Lack of sleep due to early school start times leads to lack of productivity in students

Ashley LoFurno, Writer

Although school starts at 7:40 a.m., several students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are forced to wake up as early as 5 a.m. in order to arrive at school on time. For approximately 180 days of the year, students are expected to come to school fully prepared and energized for the day ahead of them, regardless of the amount of sleep they received. Numerous students find the constant lack of sleep annoying and exhausting, enhancing the stress that school already brings.

The average school day at MSD is roughly six hours and 30 minutes long in addition to and other extracurricular activities, such asincluding club meetings and sport practices, that can add hours to the already lengthy day. On top of these activities, which students are highly encouraged for students to participate inin, for college admission purposes, homework and studies also consume time that students could be using for sleep and resting purposes.

The Child Mind Institute says that school is a large cause of sleep deprivation in teenagers, which brings down productivity in the classroom and harms teens’ academic life and health.

“I often feel exhausted in my early classes due to how early in the morning it is, and it also makes me less motivated to do my work,” freshman Deborah Medeiros said.

Many students find themselves only receiving six hours of sleep or less, spending more time at school and doing homework than letting their bodies rest. This can cause focusing issues, resulting in the students being distracted by how tired they are instead of giving their full attention to the lesson being taught.

“Most days I end up going to bed late because I’m staying up doing homework since I have extracurricular activities and end up getting about five to six hours of sleep,” sophomore Oliver Paul said. “I find myself getting tired in the middle of my first class and it’s really hard for me to stay focused.”

The CDC recommends teens aged 13 to 18 years old should be receiving eight to 10 hours of sleep per night in order to be physically and mentally healthy, but MSD’s ridiculous start time prevents the majority from getting the suggested amount of rest.

7:40 a.m. is too early to expect students to be at their best and schools would significantly benefit their students’ learning capabilities by making school start times later. When students are well rested, they can focus on the information that is being taught to them, resulting in less students failing classes because they were too tired to pay attention. A later start time is a change MSD needs to consider to be truly successful in increasing students’ productivity.