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Critical Analysis of the Article “Later Schools Start Time Reduced Depressive Symptoms'

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Getting a full night’s sleep is essential to any student’s mental health and academic performance. Starting class around seven causes students to feel tired and unmotivated which negatively impacts their performance not only at school but in after school activities such as sports. Schools must delay start times because it improves mental health and boosts student’s academic success. In the article “Later schools start time reduced depressive symptoms,” Mary Ann proves that later start times are linked with improved mental health. In the article “Let them hit snooze: starting schools later can lead to increased academic performance, improved mental health, and fewer car crashes,” Saara Myrene Raappana states that studies indicate that later start times increased students’ test scores and allow students to drive more safely. Some people, on the other hand, believe changing start times will worsen traffic, as Rosenberg and Monaco explain in the article “Should high school students have a later start to the school day?” Ultimately, the positive outcomes of starting school later such as having improved mental health and academic success outweigh any negatives.

Most importantly, changing the school start time to a later hour has been proven to benefit students’ school performance. Raappana asserts how “Numerous studies have shown that children with impaired or irregular sleep perform more poorly on tests and have lower grades than those who get ample zs.” This evidence demonstrates just one of the many benefits that proper sleep can provide. Getting enough sleep is crucial to have enough energy and motivation to do schoolwork, socialize, or to participate in sports. Without the right amount of motivation, work may not be done properly which can negatively affect one’s grades and lower their GPA. Raappana also argues that “During puberty, teenagers’ brains release melatonin- the ‘sleep’ hormone later in the day, which means they are unlikely to feel drowsy until 11 P.M. or later.” Due to this, many teenagers find difficulty in falling asleep early, causing them to go to bed late. With such an early start time, it is nearly impossible to get the recommended eight hours of sleep. This causes certain students to be drowsier and less attentive than they would be if they had slept more, which harms how they carry out their school tasks. Pushing the school start time back by an hour or two would lead to higher scores and benefit nearly every student.

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Furthermore, not only will test scores rise if school start times are delayed, but mental health has been shown to improve too. Moon provides this statistic “After school start time was delayed, the percentage of students who rated themselves as at least somewhat unhappy or depressed decreased significantly from 66% to 45% as did the percentage who reported feeling irritated or annoyed much of the time (from 84% to 63%).” This is compelling evidence because there is a huge number of students who became more mentally stable when getting the right amount of sleep. Being stable is necessary in order to live a healthier lifestyle. If every school made the decision to delay start times, there would be a substantial drop in the number of students reporting depressive symptoms. Rosenberg acknowledges that “With sleep needs of about nine hours per night, and a sleep clock in the brain naturally geared toward staying up later, early school start times are a major contributing factor to chronic sleep deprivation in adolescents.” This is important because chronic sleep deprivation can put a person at greater risk for depression and can change one’s mood drastically. Students are not getting enough sleep and it is causing anger and irritability and lessening their ability to cope with stress. Due to this, schools must delay start times in order to improve the mental health of the many students lacking sleep.

Conversely, people believe delaying school start times will make traffic even worse. Monaco proposes “Later start times would put more buses on the roads closer to the rush hour, exacerbating traffic.” This claim is misleading because allowing students to drive at a later time when they have more energy and alertness will cause fewer accidents, which will increase everyone’s safety and lessen traffic. Moreover, Raappana proclaims how “Some parents prefer early start times that allow them to drop their children off at school before work.” This is an obstacle that could easily be overcome with a variety of solutions, such as public transport, carpooling, or even walking. School start times must be pushed back to provide students with more safety and prevent further car accidents that happen due to fatigue and lack of attentiveness in the early morning.

All things considered, schools should start later due to the apparent benefits it provides, such as better performance academically and improved mental health. There are statistics proving the rise in test scores and the decrease of depressive symptoms due to starting school at a later hour. A student’s safety is also something that must be taken into consideration. Driving while tired is a huge cause for concern and more car accidents are bound to happen. Plenty of lives will change for the better once school start times are delayed and there is no better time to start than now.

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Critical Analysis of the Article “Later Schools Start Time Reduced Depressive Symptoms’. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2023, from
“Critical Analysis of the Article “Later Schools Start Time Reduced Depressive Symptoms’.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Critical Analysis of the Article “Later Schools Start Time Reduced Depressive Symptoms’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2023].
Critical Analysis of the Article “Later Schools Start Time Reduced Depressive Symptoms’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 May 25]. Available from:
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