The pillars of health

 

Wellbeing-article-WEB

 

 

Does your daughter: 
get enough sleep?
do enough exercise?
eat a healthy, well-balanced diet?

As part of our wellbeing program we are reinforcing to the girls the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle so as to maximise wellbeing and enhance academic achievement. To this end, we emphasise the importance of sleep, exercise, healthy eating, taking time out to relax as well as the importance of setting up good study habits. 

Below is some information you may find helpful to discuss with your daughter. Please do contact me if you would like further information to support your daughter - Liz Cannon School Counsellor or 9473 7836. 

 

Sleep
Sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activities occur. Therefore, a lack of sleep can be harmful to your daughter’s physical and mental wellbeing. A lack of sleep can:
Limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. 
Contribute to acne and other skin problems.
Lead to aggressive or inappropriate behaviour, e.g. yelling at friends, impatience with teachers and family members.
Cause you to eat too much or eat unhealthy foods. 
The average teenager needs 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night; between 8-10 hours is ideal.  The Year 11 and 12 girls sometimes feel they can only manage 7 hours sleep.
Children 5-12 years of age need an average of 10-11 hours of sleep each night. [1]

Tips for a good night’s sleep  [2]
Parents can help by creating a calm atmosphere in the home at bedtime.
Teens should have a regular, relaxing routine just before bedtime to unwind. The girls have been shown some simple relaxation strategies to help them drift off to sleep easily. These include breathing techniques and visualisation.
Teenagers should avoid activities that will their stimulate their mind late in the evening – e.g. social media, computer games.
Technology is best kept out of the bedroom, with all devices being recharged in another room. A clock radio is a much better alarm clock than a mobile phone.
They should not have anything with caffeine (including soft drink and chocolate after 4 pm
A regular exercise routine and a healthy diet will help them sleep better at night.
Keep the lights dim in the evening. Open the curtains or blinds to let in bright light in the morning. This helps keep their body clocks set at the right time.
If they must take a nap, they should keep it to under an hour.
On the weekends, teens should not wake up more than two hours later than the time they normally rise on a weekday.
Regular exercise

Physical activity is an important part of health and wellbeing. Regular exercise can:  [3]
Increase strength, stamina and flexibility
Help maintain a healthy body weight
Improve fitness and health 
Help you to relax
Enhance self esteem
Improve posture
Create a positive body image
Contribute to a better night’s sleep
Create an opportunity to have fun and interact with friends and family, building social skills and social networks

Most girls, however, drop their rate of physical activity once they reach adolescence as exercise takes a back seat to other priorities. Parents can help their daughters to become healthier and more active and healthier by being more active themselves and leading by example.  Families can build exercise into their regular routine by going on weekend walks together.  Make sure to provide support for your daughter and emphasise that exercise is important.

Guidelines and recommendations:
Children and young people aged from 5-18 years should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day to keep healthy. This includes incidental exercise such a walking to and from the station or walking the dog. 
Physical activity should be done at a moderate to vigorous intensity.  
o Moderate activities include, brisk walking, bike riding, and dancing. 
o Vigorous activities that make you ‘huff and puff’ such as netball, soccer, running, swimming laps or training for sport. 
For additional health benefits, older children and young people can do an extra 20 minutes or more of vigorous activity three to four days a week.
Sedentary or ‘still’ activity time should be limited and parents may need to supervise and monitor this if it is a problem. These include activities such as social media, watching television and movies and playing electronic games.  [4]

Healthy eating

A healthy, balanced diet is very important for teenagers. They will not only feel good but they will be able to concentrate better in class.  A healthy diet means eating a wide range of foods so that you get all the nutrients you need, and eating the right number of calories for how active you are.  [5]

Tips for healthy eating  [6]
Eat three meals each day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and have healthy snacks in between, like morning and afternoon tea. This gives your body the fuel it needs to keep going throughout the day and stops you from feeling hungry at your next meal.
Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast can increase attention span and memory, provide more energy and make you feel less irritable and restless.
Eat a variety of foods from the five food groups every day. This will provide the energy, vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Limit the sugary and fatty foods e.g. lollies, soft drinks, chips and fried foods.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. 
Teenage girls need foods that are rich in calcium to build strong bones and teeth. They also need iron to help protect against iron-deficiency anaemia.

 

 

Useful websites
www.eatforhealth.gov.au
www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au
www.nhs.uk
www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au
www.sleepcenter.ucla.edu

 
[1] http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/public-information/childrens/healthy-at-schools/688-does-sleep-matter.html

[2] http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/sleep-and-teens

[3] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/parents-guide-for-active-girls

[4] https://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/kids-teens/stats-and-facts-teens/teens-physical-activity/guidelines-and-recommendations.aspx

[5] http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/healthy-eating-teens.aspx

[6] https://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/kids-teens/stats-and-facts-teens/teens-nutrition/nutrition-for-good-health.aspx

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