In those first few weeks as kids go back to school, there are certain things we have come to expect. One thing that seems to be happening more often is that they will come home sick. I want to give you 4 things you can do to help keep your family healthy all school year long.
1. Have good sleep habits. This is probably the number one issue when kids go back to school as many children have been staying up later and sleeping in later. Keeping a consistent bedtime all year long will go a long way in helping them stay healthy. Good sleep habits will reduce body fatigue reducing the opportunity for you to get sick. Even one night of poor sleep can have an effect on performance in school and work. Kids need about 9 hours of sleep per night – set the expectation right away about good sleep habits so when they leave the nest they know the importance of good sleep.
2. Put the phones/tablets/tv away an hour before bed. This goes along with good sleep habits. The blue light tricks your brain into thinking it is still day time reducing the amount of melatonin in the brain needed for good sleep. It is very hard to sleep when your mind won’t shut off. Studies are showing the more screen time a child has, the more they are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Even better would be to make sure the phone is not charging in the room at night. Turning off the Wi-Fi in the house at night will help even more to provide your brain with a better night’s sleep.
3. Get some exercise each day. It has been shown that movement every day will provide the body a boost to the immune system – the right amount of exercise will help change the environment inside the gut. We can over-do exercise, so make sure you are checking in with your kids to see how their fatigue level is, especially if they are in extra curricular activities. Taking a day off every so often may be needed – a run-down body tends to get sick and more time off will be needed to recover. Getting outside for a 20-minute walk could be just the exercise needed to help reduce the stress that a lot of kids are placed under by all the activities and workload at school.
4. Lastly, I highly recommend the following supplements for all of my patients. A daily probiotic because 70% of your immune system is in the gut. Vitamin D every day as we only get about 6 weeks of good sun during the summer in Minnesota. Take a daily multi-vitamin to help with the gaps in dietary intake of essential nutrients in the diet. Lastly, I recommend fish oil for every person – good fats are needed for our brain and it helps your immune system by reducing inflammation in the gut.
Do these 4 things and you will see that you and your family tends to stay happier and healthier during the school year.
-Dr. Brian, Chiropractor