Sleeping On Our Sleep Schedules

In 2016 Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall. This massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Eighteen high schools changed their beginning bell an hour later — from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Extracurricular activity schedules changed and school buses were redeployed. 


In a paper published Dec. 12 in the journal Science Advances, researchers at the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies say that teens at two of the eighteen high schools got more sleep on school nights. Sadly that’s not a lot of improvement, but more tests could be done to see if this data is consistent. The average increase of sleep was 34 minutes each night. This led to the students average of sleep go from six hours and 50 minutes to seven hours and 24 minutes. 


Senior and corresponding author, Horacio de la Iglesia, a University of Washington professor of biology said, “This study shows a significant improvement in the sleep duration of students — all by delaying school start times so that they’re more in line with the natural wake-up times of adolescents.”


Puberty shifts everyone’s circadian rhythms, basically the part of our body that tells us when we’re tired, so most teens don’t get tired till 10:30. 


Personally, I think that we should also have A-B scheduling as well as a later schedule.  A-B scheduling is when you are assigned half your classes one day and then the rest of your classes the next, then you trade off between the two throughout the school week. This could help students not be as stressed out over classes and have time to do their work and get the help they need for it. You could have all core classes one day and then extracurriculars the next, so then we can leave even sooner because we’d only have four to five classes a day. We could also use Wednesdays as club days.


I think the schedule should be: school starts at 8:30-9:30, Monday half the students have math, science, English, and history then lunch. The other half will go to their five extra curricular, so there will be two lunches. The next day the schedules will just flip. Then on Wednesday, students can freely go to the classes they’re struggling with and get the help they need, OR they could have 30 minutes in every class and then two hours of free time to do whatever they need, like clubs and such. On Thursday and Friday you would repeat Monday and Tuesday.