By: Pauline Tsui, Contributing Writer (‘25)
The detrimental effects of sleep deprivation pose an impactful factor on student performance. With the starting time of 7:35 a.m. and the rigorous workload, students are conflicted and often compromise their sleep to five or fewer hours of sleep each night.
Despite many schools starting at 8:00 a.m., Indian Hills High School remains fixated on opening its doors at 7:35 a.m. each morning. This early start time has resulted in students being mentally drained after a night of completing assignments. Some students directly blame the early start time for decline in student performance. Such decline accompanies Freshman, Charlotte Manning says, “The fact [is] that everyone in our school is always tired […] Research says that teenagers need a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night […] There is no reason to start school earlier than it has to be to preserve our students’ mental and physical well-being, but unfortunately, this cultural norm is unlikely to change.”
As students balance academics and extracurriculars, acquiring eight hours of sleep in a night is crucial. Yet, with a seven-hour school day and less than five hours of sleep, students like sophomore Stephany Baik feel unfocused in class. She mentioned that she has “less concentration in [her] classes. Although the early start time can be beneficial in making good habits for the future, the possible amount of productivity in the day decreases.”
Even changing the start time by 30 minutes to 8:00 am, student behavior and performance could, arguably, show as significantly improved. Sophomore Jia Chen says “I think it would help me focus in the morning and also feel less tired in general.”
Fellow sophomore Alexa Muro also emphasizes the benefits of later start times and says, “With an additional thirty minutes each morning, students would be able to sleep in and have time to get ready.”
It’s also important to note that many students have enjoyed the later arrival times during the March and May state testing weeks. I’ve seen students were consistently more energetic and increasingly productive in class during these school days.
Despite the visible benefits of pushing the school start time back by 30 minutes, change remains inadvertent for the Ramapo Indian Hills High School District. Continuation of Indian Hills High School beginning at 7:35 a.m. parallels the incessant increase of student exhaustion. As precedent with snow days and state testing, pushing start times at Indian Hills is crucial to seeing an increase in student performance and academic success.