The Well Viking

A Glimpse into Wellness at Palo Alto High School

In This Issue

Paly's Wellness Center

The Wellness Center at Paly provides a safe and supportive environment where students can discuss a variety of topics in a confidential and nonjudgmental space. The center is staffed with professionals who are dedicated to improving the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of all students. Through both on-campus programming and community-based partnerships, students receive coordinated health education, assessment, counseling, and other support services to maximize student engagement and success. We are located in the Tower Building across from the Main Office. Be sure to stop by and say hello! If you would like to send us much needed snacks & tea, please check out our Amazon Wish List! Thanks!

We've had over 6000 visits to the Wellness Center so far this year!

Teen Brains Need Real Food

Trying to find a way to help your teen be in a happier mood, do better in school, and have more energy for fun activities? The types of food a teen eats – plus how much and when – affects teens' attention, memory, mood, and ability to focus. No particular food will boost a student's performance before a major test, but if you want your student to have the best advantage, start by providing breakfast each day. Kicking off the day with a breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats can regulate blood pressure and keep teens satisfied for a few hours until lunch. Too many days where students get too few carbs, calories, vitamins and minerals can lead to poor concentration and feeling tired. A few important things to remember:

Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood, and teens who don't get enough calcium have an increased risk for developing bone loss and fractures down the line.

Complex carbs turn sugar into energy, and are necessary for focus and energy. Find them in peas, beans, whole grains and vegetables. They're a much better choice than simple carbohydrates, which are best avoided – they're found in processed and refined products.

Teens should eat two cups of fruit a day and about 3 cups of vegetables a day – they've been found to protect against ailing memory and decision-making skills.

Sleep and the Teenage Brain

1. Make sleep a priority: Teens need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night.

2. Leave time to unwind: Don’t leave your homework for the last minute. Try to avoid the TV, computer and phone close to bedtime.

3. Create a bedtime ritual: Teach your body to recognize that it’s time for bed. Try taking a bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.

4. Make your room a sleep haven: Keep it cool, quiet and dark. If you need to, get eyeshades or ear plugs. Let in bright light in the morning to signal your brain to wake up.

5. You can’t fake wake: No pills, vitamins or drinks can replace good sleep. Consuming caffeine late in the day can also disrupt your sleep many hours later and leave you tired the following day.

6. Grab a quick pick-me-up: If you plan them right, naps can help pick you up and help you work or study more efficiently; however, naps that are too long or too close to bedtime may interfere with your regular sleep.

The Nurse's Corner

Concussion Symptoms

Every year, the nurse sees an alarming number of students who have experienced a concussion. If you believe your student has experienced a traumatic brain injury, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor's note can help the school make accommodations for your student to allow the brain to properly heal. While the signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle or not even show up, you can look for the following signs:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or "seeing stars"
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue