Leesville Students Need Better Sleep

Route 5 bus riders are walking into school at 6:50 a.m. before the sun is even fully up. The last pick up for this route is 6:39, and the earliest pick-up is 6:25. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Stoflet.)

Leesville Road High School has a very early start time, with the warning bell sounding at 7:19 a.m. The pros and cons of having such an early school start time are endless, such as whether students grades would improve, would a later start time impair the students extracurriculars, and more. Students and teachers each have their own opinions on the debate.

Some of the Leesville High teachers believe that their first period would do better, but it would not improve periods two through four. Other teachers think the grades would improve overall with the students gaining more sleep as they would be more focused and aware.

On the other hand, multiple teachers believe that a later start time wouldn’t improve grades at all, and students would just stay up later.

Students agree with this point of view. A good portion of Leesville is still able to achieve good grades despite having to get up early. “I’ve been an all A student, regardless of how late I wake up,” said Aaron Newson, a junior who relocated to Wake Forest.

There is no doubt that Leesville students don’t get enough sleep at night. Studies show that teenagers tend to go to bed later, and they need 9 hours of sleep each night. With a 7:25 a.m. start time at Leesville Road High School, some students are out of their homes and heading for the bus by 6:20. In order for them to get a full eight hours of sleep, the minimum that studies advise, they have to go to bed by 9:30 or 10.

Now, a large sum of Leesville students do not have to leave at 6:20, only the ones on the early bus routes. Students that drive or get a ride can receive a little more sleep or go to bed a little later.

Late nights are not necessarily because students are staying up late texting or watching Netflix. Of course, some do stay up late for no reason (almost all teenagers are guilty of this at some point), but most of the time students are up late because they have homework, work, chores, rehearsals, and practices. There simply isn’t enough time in the day for students to complete all their tasks by 9:30.

In addition, according to the Sleep Foundation website, biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both falling asleep and waking up, which is why it is natural for a teenager to not be able to fall asleep before 11 PM.

“[The times are] definitely not ideal for the adolescent body. Teenagers tend to go to bed later and get up later,” said Cassy West, French teacher in the world languages department.

“Not being a morning person, my personal preference would be to start later, but considering all of the outside factors that go into that, like other people and when they have to work, and getting to and from school with the bus situation, and the buses running high school, elementary, and middle school routes, it would mean that somebody’s going to have to start early,” said Wendy Edwards, Special Programs department, in a statement that sums up many people’s views on how early school starts.

Regardless of whether grades would improve or not, there are more reasons the school system should ensure students receive enough sleep. In an article by Jodie Tyley in Independent, Tyley uses studies as evidence to show that students with a sufficient amount of sleep would have a tendency to be more happy, lively, and carefree, rather than snappy, exhausted, and stressed. Sleep deprivation is a real danger as it increases the likelihood of road collisions, hallucinations, and more.

Leesville will always be divided on this topic, and both sides have valid arguments. While students would surely enjoy some extra sleep, there are very accurate reasons and benefits that come with the early start time. In the meantime, students should try their best to get to bed at a reasonable time, and power off electronics an hour before they plan on going to sleep.

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