Counselor’s Corner

The Holy Family School counselor is an important part of the educational leadership team at Holy Family School, and provides valuable assistance to students. The school counselor helps parents, teachers, and school faculty/administration to identify potential behavioral, social & academic difficulties. In addition, the counselor will work with students to identify their strengths, interests, and needs, providing students with the support and encouragement that they need to develop academically and socially. The counselor will frequently provide counseling in both individual and group settings.

Students are referred for counseling in three ways: school faculty/administration, parents or by the students themselves. Student are never solicited for counseling, parental/legal guardian consent is only to assure that your child use the counseling services if you, your child or the school deems it necessary.

SLEEP, WHO HAS TIME FOR IT?

In October 2015, Stanford Medicine published an article titled, “Among teens, sleep deprivation an epidemic,” by Ruthann Richter that highlights research and studies by Rafael Pelayo, MD, with Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, William Dement, MD, PhD, founder of Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, and Nanci Yuan, MD, director of Stanford Children’s Health Sleep Center, to name a few. The research provides area of concern and addresses the link of sleep deprivation with mental health concerns.

The article is lengthy (https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/10/among-teens-sleep-deprivation-an-epidemic.html), so I will highlight a few items I found helpful:

Pressure not to sleep

  • “While teens are biologically programmed to stay up late, many social and cultural forces further limit their time for sleep. For one, the pressure on teens to succeed is intense, and they must compete with a growing number of peers for college slots that have largely remained constant.”
  • “Teens have access to multiple electronic devices they use simultaneously, often at night. Some 72 percent bring cellphones into their bedrooms and use them when they are trying to go to sleep, 28 percent leave their phones on while sleeping, only to be awakened at night by texts, calls or emails, according to a 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll on electronic use.”
  • “The problem of sleep-phase delay is exacerbated when teens are exposed late at night to lit screens, which send a message via the retina to the portion of the brain that controls the body’s circadian clock. The message: It’s not nighttime yet.”

The role of parents

  • “Studies suggest adolescents do better in terms of mood and fatigue levels if parents set the bedtime – and choose a time that is realistic for the child’s needs. According to a 2010 student published in the journal Sleep, children are more likely to be depressed and to entertain thoughts of suicide if a parent sets a late bedtime of midnight or beyond.”
  • “Many studies show students who sleep less suffer academically, as chronic sleep loss impairs the ability to remember, concentrate, think abstractly and solve problems.”
  • “Sleep is believed to reinforce learning and memory, with studies showing that people perform better on mental tasks when they are well-rested.”
  • “It impacts academic performance. It’s harder to take tests and answer questions if you are sleep-deprived.”
  • “That’s why cramming, at the expense of sleep, is counterproductive, said Pelayo, who advises students: Don’t lose sleep to study, or you’ll lose out in the end.”

The panic attack

  • “Sleep is believed to help regulate emotions, and its deprivation is an underlying component of many mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. For students who are prone to these disorders, better sleep can help serve as a buffer and help prevent a downhill slide, Joshi said.”

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions and / or concerns regarding this topic.

Roberta Fernandez, LMFT

Holy Family School Counselor

P: 626-403-6162

rgomez@holyfamily.org