Is “Sleeping in” the Answer?

August 12, 2017

Have you ever slammed the snooze button a few too many times just to get those extra minutes of sleep before you absolutely have to roll out of bed to start the day? That buzzing of the alarm clock is a reminder that the school day is about to begin. But you’re still so groggy, right?

In 2014, a research study from the University of Minnesota found that students who slept eight or more hours a night were less likely to fall asleep in class and be depressed, and more likely to be on-time and perform better on tests. The conclusion of this research study and others about the effects of teenagers and sleep drove California State Senator Anthony Portantino to craft Senate Bill 328 (also known simply as SB 328).

If SB 328 passes all of the hurdles and becomes a law, all California middle and high schools will be required to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. For those of us who love staying up late and sleeping in, this is great news! You can continue to stay up, and get the sleep that you need to do your very best in school. Sweet, you think. Maybe the early bird doesn’t always get the worm—there’s research that proves that after all!

Before you start doing your happy dance, we’re going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: SB 328 isn’t liked by everyone, and it still needs to go through more approvals before it becomes a law.

Who’s opposing this bill? Some school administrators, parents, and even other researchers. Why? Some school administrators are worried that this bill is trying to be a one-size-fits-all-type bill, but schools are not the same everywhere. Parents think that a later start time would cause havoc with scheduling. How many times have you heard your parents say, “Hurry up!” in the morning because they’re running late for work? Now imagine if you started school even later—mom and dad might just be late for work everyday! Other researchers are also chiming in with their concerns. They’re worried that this bill might give the impression that sleep is the answer to all of a teenager’s problems, and it’s not. One researcher suggests that iPads and phones are the culprit for more loss of sleep nowadays, and that instead of reshuffling schedules, we should just put away devices before going to bed!

What do you think? Should all schools start later? Do you think that would help students?