Why One Person Thinks High School Shouldn’t Start Earlier Than 10 A.M.

Reddit’s Unpopular Opinion thread is the place to be for people who think they know a better way to do things, or a way things should be done – that said, oftentimes it ends up being more of a popular opinion than people thought.


This guy basically wrote a dissertation about why teenagers shouldn’t be required to get up so early.

We know TWO things about teenagers: (1) they need between 8-10 hours of sleep per night and (2) that their circadian rhythms, or the biological mechanism that regulates human sleep and wakeness patterns, operate in a way that, on average, they don’t start producing melatonin until after 11 PM.

Taking those two facts into consideration, the typical high class has class at around 7 am and most students have to wake up between an hour or two hours before their first class if they don’t want to be late. So like at 5 or 6 am. Let’s assume that teens fall asleep right on the dot at 11 pm (even though in reality they actually fall asleep much later since melatonin takes time to induce sleep), and have to wake up at 6 am. That’s only 7 hours of sleep, which is already under the 8-10 hour requirement.

And in reality since most teens fall asleep at least 15 or so minutes after 11 PM, as well as how some students wake up for school even earlier than 6, you have students getting between 4 and 6 hours of sleep, and this situation gets worse for students with jobs, lots of family obligations, extracurriculars, or lots of homework.

And listen, he’s got solutions, too!

These earlier start times just DON’T work. We already have the data for why they’re a terrible idea and even the CDC recommends that all high schools start no earlier than 8:30 am.

The reason I say 10 instead of 8:30 is because those same students who fall asleep at midnight and have to wake up two or so hours before school starts to make it on time would get 8 or 9 hours of sleep. You would have to fall asleep at 1 or 2 am to fall below the 8-10 number. That’s way better than if you had school at 8:30 or even nine.

And I know what people are gonna say. But what about students with jobs? What about athletics or clubs? What if the school day is longer?

Well, for athletics or clubs you can either have them at 9 am or have them as part of the regular school day if we reduce instruction time (which we should do anyway), so that way people don’t have to stay after school. You can also have tutorials and additional help during these times.

And about students with jobs, well I’m sorry but the rest of the school body shouldn’t have to suffer because a minority of students have jobs. What’s more, with a later start time, people have more time to spend doing things in the evening so maybe try to adjust your hours with your boss?

What does Reddit think about all of this? 10 people are weighing in!

10. We know it’s better, but…

I did my masters thesis on how to help students perform better in school. In short, studies support this. I dont know about 10, but 9 seemed reasonable for most.

Sh%t, I think I started school at like, 7:15. My gf was in honors choir, so she actually started at 6. Marching band was first hour and it was in the dark.

9. So many kids do this.

That’s why me and my homies used to sleep in school.

I slept more in school than at home some weeks, still managed decent average, schools make learning boring.

8. Thank goodness for college.

Yep… School started at 8am for me, from kindergarten till the end of high school, so I got up at 7 every school day for 14 years straight.

Then in college, the earliest any class you could enroll in started at 8:30. I’ve purposely avoided those at all costs. I’ve had a couple courses that started at 9:30, and even those were really hard to get to on time, or even at all.

I think I’d flunk out of college if I ever had to wake up for a class at 7am again.

7. This is ideal.

I teach middle school and we start at 8:20, which I like but feel is still a bit early.

8:45 would be perfect.

6. Because of society.

The general gist of it is teenagers are benefited by starting school later.

Youngsters are benefited by starting school EARLIER.

We do it the exact f**king opposite.

5.  Most of them are silent until lunch.

Maybe 8 or 9ish?

10 seems late to me.

It was amazing how some kids had enough energy to fight at 7am, I’d just be there half dead.

4. To put it bluntly.

Yes, we’ve chosen to value productivity over the developmental needs of our children.

This is very bad because kids who aren’t given the chance to grow as they should are obviously going to carry that forward into adulthood.

3. A minor quibble.

Got some of your data wrong.

Melatonin is produced at 1045, so the average international time to fall asleep is indeed at 11:00 pm sharp.

If you then want an average of 9 hours of sleep, you wake up at 8.

Delaying it until 10 has no basis in science (I lived far away from school and still didn’t need to wake up 2 damn hours beforehand), but there is a reason why most psychologists are calling for a start time no earlier than 830.

2. That’s so tough.

I don’t wake up til like noon.

High school was basically impossible because I’d just sleep all day.

That was until I flipped my schedule so that I would sleep when getting home and wake up at night.

Do my homework when I wake up and then end the day by going to school.

1. We have to grow up sometime.

People are angry in these comments.

I didn’t read the body bc its far too long but I remember in high school I was confused why the high school started the earliest out of all three types of school and I still am.

However ten is too late too. I’d say 8 or 9 though. I mean most adults work 9-5.

It makes sense, but what a big job it would be to switch things around.

Do you think we should try to make it happen? Tell us why or why not in the comments!