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Scientists are starting to understand sleep patterns and their effects on the human brain better than ever before. One interesting outcome of this fact is a greater awareness of the fact that adolescents have different circadian rhythms than either adults or the very young. Though the reasons for this are still unclear, it’s becoming widely accepted that an adolescent’s normal sleep pattern would have them both going to bed and getting up later than people in other age ranges. While some high schools might consider later start times to accommodate this fact, many are constrained against such changes by outside forces (athletics, parental needs, etc). Still, it’s important to recognize that many teenagers are not “morning people,” and rather than trying to force them into a mold that doesn’t fit, we should keep the science in mind and adapt to it wherever possible.

In an earlier post I mentioned a Girl Scout program called Be a Friend First, designed by GSUSA as part of an anti-bullying campaign. The Girl Scouts of Ohio and Colorado their own program called Power Up that focuses on preventing bullying through awareness and the development of empathy skills. I wonder, do the Boy Scouts have any similar programs? I need to do that research …

In another earlier post I pondered the increase in diagnoses of ADD and ADHD. This article posits a different suggestion as to what might be contributing to kids’ fidgety behavior in school. When our students are having difficulty focusing and staying on task, we’d do well to ask, “Are they getting enough sleep?” Counselors working with these students, in addition to their regular interventions, might consider having the student’s family keep a sleep/diet/exercise log. Maybe, just maybe, something will turn up that will present an easier and less invasive treatment than medication.

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