Spring Valley Slumped

The new rage among students not only in Spring Valley, but across many high schools, has taken over Instagram. Recently, accounts have been created that are dedicated to posting pictures of students sleeping in class. Students catch their peers and send in a photo to the account for the anonymous owner to post. For students, it’s a fun joke. Looking deeper, it’s worrying how many students sleep on campus. Does anyone get enough sleep?

In a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was recommended that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later, however in the 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study, it’s seen that 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S. started before 8:30 a.m. 

Despite an abundance of research supporting starting schools later, no one seems to be listening. Students sleep in class, turn in assignments at 11 at night, and come to school in pajamas. It’s not laziness, it’s a cry for help. 

Many people will say that students will just use the extra time to go to bed later, but researchers at the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies said that after a change in school start time, students did not stay up significantly later. They simply slept in longer, a behavior that scientists say is consistent with the natural biological rhythms of adolescents.

Students need more sleep. With the current situation, these kids are being set up for failure. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, earlier school times cause students to not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from symptoms of depression, engage in unhealthy risk behaviors, and perform poorly in school. The reason provided for starting school early is that students can have more time in the day after school. When students are exhausted, this is counterproductive. Many students go home and sleep or struggle through extra-curriculars while running on 5 hours of sleep. It isn’t healthy. Starting school at 9 a.m. may cause school to run later into the day, but it will benefit students in the long run. 

There shouldn’t be a battle every single day to keep students awake in class. The “Spring Valley Slumped” account shouldn’t just be funny, but should also be seen as insight into how many students truly need help. Administrators and school district officials everywhere need to realize that starting school later will help students, not only in grades, but also the well-being of students.