Maybe it is not students who are late, but schools that are early.
This debate whether school should start later or stay the way it is has been going on for a long time. While Singaporean students seem to be doing well by global standards, many new studies are in favour of a later starting time than the current one.
While it is easy to call sleepy Singaporean students complain kings who should sleep earlier, a growing body of research proves that youths sleep late at night because puberty hormones shift their body clock forward by about one or two hours.
There was also an interesting argument that attributed the sleepiness problem to our time zone being out of sync from our body clock. Basically, we should wake up at the break of dawn because our body clocks follow the natural cycle of the sun.
As a result, sleep-deprived youths are facing many health risks, like depression and heart disease.
So, is it a good idea to start school later in the morning?
For starters, starting school later will enhance brain absorption levels and allow youths to process information faster. Not only that, their attendance and grades might also improve.
Secondly, youths will also have the chance to start the day together with their working parents. It is worrying that youths are skipping breakfast just to earn a few minutes of extra snooze before rushing to school, leaving no proper family time. This way, youths will be able to spend the morning with their parents and get ready for the day at the same time.
However, there are people who balk at the idea of starting school late and their arguments are valid too.
Ending school late means that students with part-time jobs will be affected. This is important for youths from families who depend on the extra income to get by. Thus, the adjustment may disproportionately affect low income families.
Also, some youths might need to reach home earlier to care for their younger siblings if their parents are not around. Youths with co-curricular activities in school or externally will also have scheduling problems.
So how can we adjust the reporting time so that the students have ample sleep to perform better in school and still be able to carry out their external responsibilities?
Personally, I feel that school should start an hour later.
Youths at least need a healthy seven hours of sleep so they can start the day fresh. So an ideal time to start school is 9.30am. They can head to bed by around midnight and then wake up at 7am and have breakfast with their family before heading to school.
Also, here are a few ways to help you sleep better at night!
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