John H. Keefe III, D.C.
IN THE NEWS: Wide Awake in the Electronic Age: Our Kids’ Sleep Habits Are Suffering Smartphones, tablets and everything in between – chances are high that if your child’s over the age of 6 (and in some cases, even younger these days), they’re spending a considerable (read: unhealthy) amount of time engaged with portable electronic devices. At the same time, we’re finding that kids are suffering from sleep deprivation in terms of time spent asleep and quality of sleep enjoyed. Is there a connection? Yes, say researchers who reviewed various studies on the topic – and the news is even worse than you might imagine. After reviewing 20 studies, researchers found that kids who used portable electronic devices near bedtime had more difficulty falling or staying asleep, and experienced poor daytime function because of sleepiness. Device use also contributed to lack of sleep compared to non-use: less than 10 hours per night for children and less than nine hours for teens. But here’s the kicker: Even kids who didn’t use the devices, but had access to them, still experienced shorter sleep times. Children with bedtime access to devices close to bedtime three or more times a week also experienced less sleep and lower quality of sleep compared to children with less or no device access. Researchers speculate that access, even without use, can exert an influence on sleep because children are thinking about different aspects of the device, such as text messaging (e.g., “Has someone responded to that message I sent earlier?”).
WELLNESS: Exercise: The Key to Better Grades? For better or worse, we live in an increasingly competitive world, which means when it comes to education, grades matter – big time. While they don’t necessarily reflect the learning process, effort expended or lessons learned, grades remain an important indicator of knowledge, critical thinking and other variables that translate well into adulthood. And of course, when applying for college, few application reviewers consider the straight D student, even if that student gave 100 percent in the classroom every day. With all the tutoring clubs, online support groups and other tools at students’ / parents’ disposal these days, it’s encouraging to know a simple grade-booster exists that doesn’t require money or even a great deal of extra time: exercise. Research suggests children who exercise more perform better in several academic subjects and are more attentive compared to their less-active peers. The most recent study to examine this association reviewed 26 studies involving more than 10,000 children ages 4-13. Results, published in the peer-reviewed research journal Pediatrics, showed that increased physical activity, particularly physical education, improved various aspects of academic achievement , “especially mathematics-related skills, reading, and composite scores.” Students who exercised more also appeared to stay more focused on their schoolwork than students who exercised less. In the studies analyzed, researchers increased physical activity levels through expanded recess, afters-school sports or active breaks between lessons throughout the school day – which also may suggest academic performance is related to whether kids get breaks from their long days sitting in the classroom. Definitely food for thought for the education system. From a parent standpoint, teaching your kids to exercise and encouraging them to take active breaks at home, particularly while doing schoolwork or studying for quizzes / tests, could help their academic performance – and will certainly help avoid the health perils of a sedentary lifestyle. Talk to your doctor for more information.
CHIROPRACTIC: Kids and Chiropractic Care “Chiropractic care for my child? Why? His back doesn’t bother him.” How often chiropractors have encountered parents who appreciate the importance of regular checkups for their child’s teeth, hearing, eyes and ears but draw a blank when it comes to a spinal checkup. In fact, a spinal check up could be one of the most important checkups your child will ever have. Your child’s spine is his/her lifeline because running through it is the spinal cord, containing billions of nerve fibers that send messages and energy from the brain to every part of their body. If there is blockage of any of the nerves along the spinal cord, any nerve damage at all, then a state of ” dis-ease” will develop. Dis-ease means dis-harmony in the body that will cause generalized weakening of your child’s body, lowered resistance to disease, and consequent body malfunction and sickness. Blockage of nerves in the spinal column are usually caused by tiny fixations and misalignments of the spinal vertebrae that are called vertebral subluxations. Only chiropractors are trained to detect and correct subluxations, much like only a dentist finds cavities. Subluxations can be cause by the birth process, the very physical childhood activities of running and jumping, falls and accidents. Because your children (and you) may have spinal subluxations and not know it, all children need periodic spinal check ups. A recent study of 332 children showed that chronic ear infection sufferers under chiropractic care had no more infections in 80% of the cases (JCCP, Vol.2, No.2 1997). The Chiropractic Approach By releasing stress on the nervous system with very gentle and safe chiropractic adjustments, the body will work more effectively and be able to express better health. Why not include chiropractic spinal checkups for you and your children? It may be the best move for your family’s health you’ll ever make.
FUNNY BONE: With tears in his eyes, the little boy told his kindergarten teacher that only one pair of boots was left in the classroom and they weren’t his. The teacher searched and searched, but she couldn’t find any other boots. “Are you sure these boots aren’t yours?” – she asked. “I’m sure,” the little boy sobbed. “Mine had snow on them.”@@ My little sister is so smart! She’s only in nursery school and she can spell her name backwards and forwards. Really? What’s her name? Anna.@@During Show and Tell, Miss Johnson showed pictures of different birds. “George,” she said, “what kind of bird do you like best?” George thought for a while. “Fried chicken,” he replied.@@“It’s clear,” said the teacher, “that you haven’t studied your geography. What’s your excuse?” “Well–my dad says the world is changing every day. So I decided to wait a little while until it settles down.”@@ “No one likes me at school,” said the son to his mother. “The kids don’t and the teachers don’t. I want to stay home.” “You have to go, son,” insisted his mother. “You’re not sick, and you have a lot to learn. Besides, you’re 45 years old. You’are the principal and you have to go to school!”
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