Children are the future. This phrase heard multiple times sums up the pressure that is placed upon students to get good grades and do their best in school. Parents push their kids to study hard for the test the next morning. Teachers assign homework. All the work adds up. An average homework load for any student may look like a math assignment, a reading for social studies, a paper for English and a lab write-up in science.

All this knowledge intake can be hard for a teenager, especially on top of a social life, possible athletics, working a job or any combination of these. With such busy schedules, students sacrifice their sleep to make time for everything.

The high school and middle schools in Roseburg should contemplate starting later in the day to improve the well being of students. Losing sleep every night is an unhealthy practice and is associated with bouts of depression, weight gain and substance abuse.

These findings from the Centers for Disease Control fully support that starting school later in the day is more beneficial for students: Students getting more sleep means healthier students and a healthier teen population as a whole.

This conclusion is the result of a Centers for Disease Control study conducted with the U.S. Department of Education, where 40,000 public middle and high schools were surveyed to research the best start time for schools.

The study found that the best time is 8:30 a.m. because it allows students to get their recommended eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep per night. In the Roseburg school district, the two middle schools start at 7:35 a.m. and Roseburg High School starts at 7:40 a.m.; this is almost an hour before the recommended start time. That is an hour of rest that some students may be losing daily, causing school performance to suffer.

Just in Oregon, several school districts have pushed their school starting times later based on sleep research according to the nonprofit organization Start School Later. These school districts include Corvallis, Lake Oswego, and North Clackamas. The Roseburg school district could be the next.

If more schools in the state adjust their schedules accordingly, then it will be better for coordinating sporting competitions and school related events of that nature. Soon, it could become the norm for the state.

What is the need for the delayed start time? Couldn’t students just get to bed an hour earlier and be fine? A minority of students do get enough sleep, but the majority are left tired, and that is not their fault.

Leading research shows that teenage sleep cycles shift up to two hours later during puberty. School starting at 8:30 a.m. takes into account this hormonal change and allows for the students to do their best in school, that way their brains are better rested and more awake for the school day.

One of the major factors preventing schools from moving the school time an hour back is sports. With school ending at 3:40 p.m., sports would start and end later. This leaves the student athlete getting to bed later than they would have normally. With the school day starting later than normal, this does not seem to be an issue. Everything is just shifted an hour to accommodate a teen’s sleep patterns.

In a Corvallis Gazette Times article, Corvallis High School was concerned with athletes missing too much school on game days. The sporting events do not move to accommodate the change, so leaving school early would mean missing more classes than with the previous schedule.

A solution presented by one of the committee members who was involved in the later start time was to favor athletes for those who request to have a free period at the end of the day. This would allow student-athletes to get homework done and not have that burden hanging over their heads, as well as not missing as much school on competition days.

With Roseburg having a large high school with many updated facilities, concerns with athletics will not be an issue. Moving the day an hour later may have some unforeseen effects, but one known effect is that schools will have a more positive, more rested and more healthy student body.

Ben Swanson is a senior at Roseburg High School.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at

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(4) comments


Yes, I think that this is important. In the improvement of the teachers, we must invest a lot of time. In my personal opinion, this is something that will help to power up the students. Also, it is worth mentioning that at the moment, students are enjoying to easy their studies. Teachers themselves are to blame for this because they do not want to diversify their tasks for the students.


From what I could find the main reasons for school starting early or at different times are staggering school bus pick up and drop off times and the child's ability to handle early start times. From what I read hormones play more of a role when it comes to a child's ability to get enough sleep. Going through puberty messes with their ability to get enough sleep. So much of the problem is hormones and the fact that kids get so much homework today. It would be nice if teachers could spend their time teaching and not policing the classroom.


The problem is (usually) the parents - they want their kids out the door early, so they can get to work on time.....


Yeap, Rise722 you are correct. What were the original reasons for starting school so early (besides getting the kids out so the parents could go to work)?

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