Starting the school day later can help children succeed academically - study

Recent scientific studies have proven that more harm than good can come from starting school before 8 in the morning.

 Student sleeping in classroom (illustrative) (photo credit: PEXELS)
Student sleeping in classroom (illustrative)
(photo credit: PEXELS)

For generations, students across the globe have been rolling out of bed and heading to school in the early morning hours. Although different institutions had different requirements and expectations, they all appear to have one common assumption - students will be at school, energized and prepared to engage with the material, regardless of what hour they are asked to be there.

However, while some students may thrive in the early hours of the morning, others struggle.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, schools worldwide had to find alternative ways to carry out their curriculum during unprecedented times. And so, the concept of distance learning was introduced.

Major changes in educational structure post-COVID have awoken educators

With schooling practices changing to fit the needs of the pandemic, students had to adhere to different schedules and through studying these changes, experts learned that starting school before 8 a.m. can cause more harm than good to active learners.

 Can later start times in school help children succeed academically? (credit: PEXELS) Can later start times in school help children succeed academically? (credit: PEXELS)

In a recent Sleep Research Society study, experts examined the correlation between instructional methods and sleep patterns in students. This examined "bedtime, wake time, sleep opportunity, percent of students obtaining sufficient sleep," amongst other key factors.

This study also took other important factors into account when making important comparisons; if school is held in person, students have to account for travel time to getting to school, which varies from person to person.

Sleep patterns drastically changed depending on the time school started each day. According to the study, starting class early will lead to earlier bed times, earlier wake up times, and less time for a comfortable morning routine. Thus, students who started school after 8 a.m. had primarily shown up to class, whether in person instruction or online, well rested and ready for a day of soaking up knowledge.

For students, being able to "catch up" on sleep allowed them to fully engage with their school day, opening up the academic floodgates of success, with less concerns about having enough time to complete schoolwork and other extra curricular responsibilities before having to be in bed by a certain time to start the same routine all over again. 

Ultimately, researchers found that starting the academic day even the tiniest bit later in the morning can make all the difference in a student's ability to be present in every aspect of the school day.

Sometimes, that extra five minutes can really make all the difference.