I hope you got to spend extra quality time with the kids this summer and build great memories, but it’s that time of year again - it’s time to send the kiddo’s back to school!
It might be challenging to get back into the routine of preparing the kids for school, but this blog will provide a few tips that might help you along the way.
The days are getting shorter, making it difficult to wake up and get out of bed early in the morning! Shorter daylight does, however, make it easier to go to bed earlier at night. The pineal gland in the brain produces and secretes melatonin in the dark, making it easier to fall asleep. Shift your sleep schedule accordingly, aiming for approximately 8 hours per night. Adequate, good quality sleep will help with both learning and productivity. Listen to your body, if you feel tired then maybe it’s time to go to bed. Try not to wait for that “second wind”.
Avoid cell phone and other electronic use before bedtime. These devices emit blue light which influences the circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin secretion. Studies reviewed by Harvard hypothesize that decreases in melatonin may be associated with increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A sleep hygiene protocol is beneficial for the circadian rhythm: dim the lights prior to sleep, and use the bedroom for sleeping only (this means watching the television and doing homework in your room is maybe not the best idea!).
Prepare lunch for the kiddos the evening before. This saves you a tremendous amount of time and energy in the morning. Prepare healthy snacks where possible, keeping in mind if your child has any food sensitivities or intolerances which can affect their digestion as well as ability to concentrate and retain new material. Protein with meals is important to help balance blood sugar levels, and it also helps keep you full longer – minimizing the chances that the child will indulge in unhealthy snacks later on. Protein is an essential building block for neurotransmitter production; neurotransmitters play a key role in healthy mood and overall sense of well-being.
Proper time management and planning can ease the transition this back-to-school season. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor if you suspect you or your child may have food sensitivities – symptoms range from bloating and gas to inability to concentrate or retain new information. Naturopathic Doctors also help with circadian rhythm regulation. Naturopathic medicine is covered by many extended healthcare insurance plans; contact your human resources officer for the details and specifics of your plan! Contact me if you would like to book an appointment.
**ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS IN EMBRUN, RUSSELL, AND OTTAWA/WESTBORO.
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.