The Student News Site of The Morgan School

The Morgan PawPrint

The Student News Site of The Morgan School

The Morgan PawPrint

The Student News Site of The Morgan School

The Morgan PawPrint

High Schoolers Sleep Schedules: Do We Need More Time?

Four Day Week or Later Start Time
Gabriella+Franco+Sleeping+in+Class%21
Gavin Gersz
Gabriella Franco Sleeping in Class!

Humans, specifically high schoolers, struggle with getting enough sleep. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, adolescents, need 9-9 ½ hours of sleep each night, but each night only 7-7 ½ hours are spent sleeping. Research has found that 73% of students struggle with getting the right hours of sleep.
Why is lack of sleep in adolescents such a trend? There are a variety of reasons, but the Child Mind Institute has noted biology, screen time, and unreasonable expectations are the highest reported reason for lack of sleep.
Due to a fluctuating amount of hormones, teens feel more awake at late hours of the night. If it weren’t for school, students would be up all night. And apparently, when teens try to fix it over the weekend, it messes up sleep schedules even more.
On top of that, technology usage is a big contributor. Not only do students sit on their phones, but they also use computers for homework. The screens have blue light, a type of light that prevents the production of melatonin, the chemical that makes us sleepy.
The mental health aspect is also a bigger issue. Kids with high anxiety or overachiever tendencies tend to stay up for hours to study, some as late as 4 a.m.. Some students also feel they won’t be “well-rounded” if they don’t participate in many sports and after-school activities, which contributes to that later bedtime. The norm of activity being valued over sleep creates a trend among most teenagers, which creates long-term problems like high stress, depression, and anxiety. Students report to school as early as 7:20, but teens don’t even function well before 9 a.m..
Lack of proper sleep is a HUGE issue, especially for students who have to learn for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. This clearly poses a question: Do they need more time to sleep? Research proves that they do, whether it be 4-day weeks, or later start times.
Students must face the pros and cons of each possibility. Having a later start time would result in later dismissal times. It would also cause later start times for elementary and middle school students, or even call for a total reversal of schedules (Elementary/middle goes before high school). A later start time makes sports, clubs, and all other extracurricular events end later, possibly contributing to an even later bedtime.
One school that has changed start times is Old Saybrook High School. The school board voted in June 2022 to delay the start time from 7:30 a.m. until 8 a.m.. Beforehand, the board conducted research that proved a later start time would not only benefit the students’ sleep schedules, but promote physical well-being, mental well-being, and overall success. While this decision did not affect the other Old Saybrook Schools, the idea of who is affected definitely needs to be explored when creating such a rule.
In addition to that, around 60% of Colorado’s schools have switched to 4-day weeks. This was not actually for the benefit of the students though, rather it was a plan introduced to reduce the budget. In many states, schools are shutting down one by one, so they are introducing a new 4-day week to save the schools’ budget. The four-day week was also introduced due to a teacher shortage. More teachers are willing to work shorter weeks. According to KRDO, a local news station in Colorado, this has been the norm for some rural schools, but their reason differs.
Elbert School District 200, located in Elbert, Colorado, has been operating this way since 1982 for agriculture purposes so that the kids were free to work on their family farm. Elbert only has one paved road in town, making transportation difficult. Although it was initially introduced for farming, the district has since saved $640,000 annually just on salaries, food, transportation, fuel, and utilities, all from one day off. Traditionally, students spend a fix-day week, six-hour day, and attend 180 days to meet the CT state requirements. With the new 4-day week, the school day would be seven and a half hours for 144 days.
Other schools have used it for staffing, though. Brighton 27J, a district located in Brighton, Colorado, introduced the plan so they didn’t have to compete on salary. In Brighton, the teachers made around $56,000 annually, neighboring towns can offer up to $20,000 more than that. With the saved day, not only can they save money, but it makes the salary seem a little more realistic.


With this new change, the argument of reading and math scores going down is definitely a risk, but since COVID, there have been no reports of a decline in testing due to a four-day week. Sleep improved, as some people do report a gain in sleep time. According to RAND, middle and elementary schoolers have reported a gain in sleep, and overall, attendance increased. While the results aren’t significant enough to report, adolescents noted gaining around 89 minutes of sleep.
There are also a lot of disadvantages to a 4-day school week, though. Our days would last much longer, but is worth it in return for a 3-day weekend. There is also a possibility of later dismissal times for the whole school year, but this is unlikely with an extension of the school day.
To find some answers to this puzzling question, Morgan staff and students were asked, “How many hours of sleep do you get at night, and do you think we need a 4-day week or later start time?”

Gabriella Franco
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About the Contributor
Gabriella Franco, Reporter/Facebook Manager
Hello! My name is Gabbie Franco. I am a senior this year at Morgan, and I will also be graduating early. I am 17 years old and very interested in current events and pop culture. There isn’t that much about me that’s too interesting, so I’ll save the details. This is my first year in Journalism, and I’m very excited to share my thoughts with you as well as vice versa. I hope to do a lot of interviews, or question-based articles, typically about relevant things going on in our community/state, I hope to hear a wide range of opinions and insight from all.

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