Dealing with 'COVID-somnia': ASU clinic launches new sleep group

Psychology graduate students train community to improve sleep habits

March 8, 2021

Sleep has only gotten worse for many people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and sleep neurologists have dubbed this reduction in quality sleep “COVID-somnia.”

Arizona State University's Clinical Psychology Center is launching a new Sleep Therapy Group designed to help people improve their sleep habits and understand why they may be having poor sleep. This group will be facilitated by ASU clinical psychology doctoral students and therapists Emma Lecarie and Mickie Gusman starting March 24.  Mickie Gusman and Emma Lecarie Mickie Gusman and Emma Lecarie from the ASU Clinical Psychology Center are launching a new Sleep Therapy Group designed to help people improve their sleep habits and understand why they may be having poor sleep. Download Full Image

Over 35% of the adults in the United States get less than the amount of sleep recommended by the Centers for Disease Control's guidelines. Additionally, approximately 70 million people in the United States deal with some level of sleep disorder every year, including sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy. On top of that, 70% of college students report getting insufficient sleep. 

“The good news is that sleep is a fairly malleable process and by learning skills and practicing better sleep hygiene, many people can improve their sleep quickly,” said Lecarie, a third-year clinical psychology graduate student and resident therapist in the ASU Clinical Psychology Center. 

“We are launching this new six-week sleep group to help teach our community — both inside and outside of ASU — how to improve their sleep habits, manage issues they may be having surrounding sleep and ultimately help reduce anxiety or stress related to sleep.”

Poor sleep or insufficient sleep is linked very closely with increased stress, irritability, reduced attention, poorer grades, worse memory, increases in weight gain, along with an increased risk of getting sick from a weakened immune system. 

“While having poor sleep once in a while isn’t an issue, consistently having issues with sleep can be detrimental to a number of important long-term problems, such as depression, emotion regulation, hypertension or even obesity,” Gusman said. 

The new group is a teletherapy group delivered through Zoom and is designed to teach skills that are specific to issues that clients are experiencing such as health behaviors like drinking coffee too close to bedtime, not designating a space for rest or even using devices too close to sleep. 

The group uses the cognitive behavioral therapy model for insomnia strategies and teaches “experiments” that group members can practice on their own and document in a sleep journal. These practice sessions are backed by research studies demonstrated to have been effective in reducing sleep problems. 

“This is a once-per-week group where we talk about the importance of sleep, the mechanisms of sleep, the physiology of sleep and ways to improve someone’s sleep,” said Gusman, a second-year clinical psychology graduate student.

While sleep guidelines generally recommend eight hours of sleep for adults, Gusman and Lecarie want to reinforce that sleep requirements vary per person.

“Sleep issues are super common, and there are a lot of misconceptions about sleep — it really is dependent on the person and how much sleep they need in order to feel refreshed for the next day. A big part of our group is to help people to understand exactly what they personally need,” Lecarie said. 

To sign up for the new sleep therapy group, students and community members need to call the Clinical Psychology Center at 480-965-7296. The six week program is available on a weekly basis or clients can sign up for the entire program at a discounted rate. Sessions will take place from 4:30—5:30 p.m. every Thursday, starting March 25 until April 29.


Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


ASU School of Politics and Global Studies forms advisory board

March 8, 2021

Since its founding in 2009, the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University has expanded from offering degrees only in political science and global studies to now offering degrees in political science, global studies, politics and the economy, global security and political psychology. Soon, the school will also be offering a master’s degree in international affairs and leadership.

Thanks to the support of donors, alumni and stakeholders, the school has continued its growth and expansion of academic offerings and exciting research projects. ASU School of Politics and Global Studies forms advisory board Download Full Image

To assist with guiding those efforts, the School of Politics and Global Studies has recently formed the SPGS Advisory Board made up of community members and alumni.

The board provides linkages to the broader community, gives the school insight into how to better prepare students for a changing world and brings new ideas to the school’s leadership.

“I’m really excited about the phenomenal group that we have assembled,” said Magda Hinojosa, director and professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies. “Our SPGS Advisory Board members are exceptionally talented and dynamic individuals.”

The SPGS Advisory Board is currently made up of a diverse group of 12 individuals with backgrounds such as education, law, policy, public service and business. Many from the group have already given back to the university both financially and through service.

“The School of Politics and Global Studies is accomplishing incredibly important work in many facets of global politics and global diplomacy,” board member Mario Diaz said. “To be part of Dr. Hinojosa’s vision for the school is an opportunity I could not pass.”

Many of the board members have volunteered for years with the school, assisting with internship programs and events. As a student, board member Ryan Sullivan informed the school's administration of a Teach English in Korea program, which covered costs and provided a monthly stipend.

“Ryan Sullivan brought this fantastic opportunity to SPGS, and we were able to implement it as an international internship opportunity,” senior coordinator Gisela Grant said. “The individual monetary value to each student was easily in the $3,000 range. The program was housed in SPGS for three consecutive years with more than 60 students participating and benefitting.”

On Feb. 23, the board held its first virtual meeting where School of Politics and Global Studies administration, faculty and staff gave a brief overview of some of the school’s programs and initiatives.

“I am very much looking forward to contribute in the area of mentorship and to give guidance to students in SPGS,” Diaz said. “I was very fortunate to have had mentors during my time as a student at ASU, and giving back to current and future students is a commitment I will enjoy.”

The group will continue to meet quarterly to strategize and discuss the development of new initiatives.

“The new ideas and support that our advisory board bring are essential for SPGS to continue to succeed in carrying out our teaching and research missions,” Hinojosa said. “I’m deeply moved by their willingness to give of their time and energy in order to be of service to SPGS.”

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies