Puget Sound-area school districts are experimenting with starting high school at 8:30 a.m. or making it optional to start your day in 2nd period and skip 1st period. Should local schools give it a try?

The reason for the change is more and more policy makers are learning what teachers have known all along: students don't pay attention well during first period. Frankly, they're too sleepy.

The natural biological clock of teenagers is later than adults. They get tired later and wake up later. Ironically, teenagers also need more sleep than the 7 hours that are optimal for adults.

It's in the best interest of the kids to start school at 8:30, BUT it changes high school culture.

Athletes do weight training early in the morning while bands, orchestras and choirs rehearse for concerts and competitions. Many study groups and tutors meet early. Drama classes often rehearse early. School clubs like Latin or computer programming frequently meet at what's called "zero hour."

If school starts later, it will need to end later, which could mess up sports practice and marching band rehearsal. Many other extra-curricular activities not listed so far meet after school if not before.

It appears to be a no-win situation... except for student health.

What should be more important? I woke up every morning at 5:40 during high school and I did well (although I was often moody and angst-ridden).