kids in school

Back-To- School Health Tips

Without warning, summer flies by, and suddenly it is time to go back to school! It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the many things on our back to school lists like shopping for school supplies and new clothes. However, it is important to add a few tasks on your list that are more important than new tennis shoes. Here are four tips to help your child have a happy, healthy and successful school year! 

 

Make sure sleep needs are met 

 

Did you know that the majority of children in the U.S. do not get enough sleep? Some studies show as much as 70% are sleep deprived depending on the age breakdown! To encourage healthy sleep hygiene, remove electronic devices from your child’s reach an hour before bedtime. Darken sleeping areas as it is still very light at bedtime in the summer months. Limit caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon. 

 

How much sleep is enough? For preschoolers (age 3-5) The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours. School-aged children should sleep 7-8 hours, and teens should sleep at least seven hours. 

 

Fight off school illnesses 

 

Closer contact with more students means closer contact with more germs. Ward off illnesses with healthy habits! During the lazy days of summer, comfort foods and treats may be a normal part of your child’s diet. School time is a great time to implement a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, a daily multivitamin and plenty of water. Hand washing is a must, but attaching hand sanitizer to your child’s backpack when the restroom isn’t readily available is a good idea too. 

 

To learn more about preventing specific illnesses, check out our article “Back-to-School Illnesses.”

 

Schedule your child a checkup 

 

All student-athletes should have sports physicals, but annual checkups are recommended rather your child plays sports or not. At your child’s check-up, the physician will discuss any needed immunizations, nutrition needs, and any other health concerns you may have. 

 

If your child does not have a regular pediatrician or primary care physician, consider reaching out to one of our Lawton Community Health Centers conveniently located in four communities throughout the area. 

 

Don’t miss out on the chance to visit with your child’s teacher 

 

Many parents do not take advantage of the opportunities offered to meet with their child’s teacher. Even if your child’s grades are fine, don’t assume everything at school is fine. Take the time to attend parent-teacher conferences. 

 

Many teachers undergo training to recognize a variety of problems that may affect your child’s school performance and health. The more specific questions you ask about your child’s performance, the more productive these conferences will be. Vision problems, depression, anxiety- sometimes it takes a teacher and parenting meeting together to discover concerns that require medical attention.

 

We hope the 2019-2020 school year is the best year ever for you and your family!

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

woman holding head in pain

Sleeping Well with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is suspected to affect between 11% and 40% of American adults. The most common types of chronic pain include back pain, nerve pain, joint pain and chronic headaches, and it is one of the top reasons adults seek medical care. 1 A variety of additional problems are linked to chronic pain including depression and anxiety, restrictions in daily activities and mobility, dependence on opioids, and reduced quality of life.

No matter the extent which the chronic pain sufferer experiences these symptoms, most all sufferers complain of inability to receive a good night of rest. Sleep is important for the physical health of all. However, it is even more important for those dealing with chronic problems. For example, sleep helps to repair the blood vessels and heart. Furthermore, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a variety of conditions including kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 2

For the sufferer of chronic pain, sometimes the only time he or she receives reprieve from pain is while sleeping. Although, many develop problems while sleeping due to the inability to get comfortable. A vicious cycle then begins of feeling exhausted which increases symptoms and pain.

Although difficult, sleeping with chronic pain is not impossible. Here are seven methods which may help improve your sleep quality despite the pain.

 

Avoid napping

When you suffer from chronic pain, you tend to try to get sleep anytime and any way you can. Sleep is however, how the pain is avoided. Sometimes a nap is unavoidable after a fitful night of sleep, but don’t nap routinely. Napping too much during the day may increase your chances of not being able to sleep at night.

If you do feel especially tired, try to nap in the morning and set an alarm so you don’t sleep the day away. A morning nap allows more time to pass before bedtime than an afternoon nap, ensuring you are sufficiently sleepy for bedtime.

 

Develop a routine

Although it is difficult to avoid hitting the snooze button, rising and laying down at the same time everyday is important. Your internal clock will adjust and your body will prepare to relax and sleep at the right time.

During the day, open up the house and let in as much light as possible. Exposing yourself to light helps your internal clock become more aware of when it is time to go to sleep.

Also, go through the same steps of your sleep routine each night. Spend half an hour or so going through your hygiene routine and complete a relaxing activity before turning off the light such as reading. Avoid screens from computers, smartphones and TVs which can be overstimulating and keep your mind from winding down. Some relaxation exercises may also help you go to sleep more quickly.

 

Limit caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in sodas, teas, energy drinks, coffee and chocolate. Limit your consumption as much as possible and consume caffeine by early afternoon. This will allow sufficient time for the effects to wear off before bedtime.

 

Review your medications

Discuss your medications with your doctor to ensure none of them are causing you to lose sleep. Also, ask your doctor about sleep aids. Although not usually recommended long term, your doctor may approve for you to take a sleep aid short term to help get your sleep on track or as needed for particularly bad days.

 

Exercise

Exercising four to eight hours before bedtime may help reduce anxiety, a common factor that interrupts sleep. However, be sure to allow enough of time between exercise and bedtime. Working out too late in the day can keep you awake.

 

Create a good environment for sleep

Many factors can influence your sleep including mattress and pillow firmness, sleep position, temperature and darkness level. Consider using white noise to block out noise if your bedroom is near a high traffic area. Blackout shades may also help. Discuss with your doctor to learn if he or she recommends specific types of mattresses, pillows and sleep positions for your type of pain.

 

Get your pain under control

Although easier said than done, getting your pain under control is the best method to improving sleep. Relaxation techniques, acupuncture, medications and surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Discuss with your doctor which methods may be best.

If pain is part of your daily experience, we want to help you achieve the optimum level of comfort and an increased quality of life. Please seek medical attention from one of our CCMH providers. To learn more about problems affecting sleep and how we can help visit CCMHealth.com/Center-For-Sleep-Medicine/.

 

Sources

1 Dahlhamer J, Lucas J, Zelaya, C, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001–1006.

2 National Heart Blood & Lung Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.