Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, FAAP
What happens when your iPod or a cell phone gets low on power? You recharge it!
Your body needs to RECHARGE, too. But you can't plug in your body to get more power. You recharge it with rest and healthy relaxation.
Sleep is really important for good health. It affects what and how much you eat. It affects your energy level. And it affects your emotions. Here is why taking time to RECHARGE matters to the other parts of the FIT Platform.
You need to rest and RECHARGE to have energy to MOVE your body every day. Ever notice how hard it is to get up and get dressed in the morning when you don't get a good night's sleep? And when you don't sleep well for several days, it's harder to move all day long. The more tired you are, the less energy you have to be active. And if you don't get enough exercise, you can get more stressed out. Then that can make it harder to sleep. Whew!
Watching too much TV can be a problem, too. It's not really relaxing because your brain is still working. "Screen time -- and that includes TV, computer, even texting -- takes up all our down time," says David Ermer, MD. He's a child psychiatrist with Sanford Health. "It's a very unhealthy activity as far as exercise goes, and even emotional well-being." He means that when you watch a lot of TV, you don't have time to play and have fun with your friends. Playing with friends is a healthy way to relax. So are singing and dancing and laughing.
Too little time for RECHARGE can make you want more FOOD. When you don't get good sleep, it affects how much you want to eat. Studies of adults have shown that not enough sleep can mess with chemicals (hormones called leptin and ghrelin) in your body -- even after just 1 night. If these chemicals are out of whack, you'll feel hungrier and junk foods that aren't healthy for you look really good.
When you're busy and tired, you might want to just open a package to eat food even if it isn't good for you. It's easier to eat healthy food when you RECHARGE. And the best way to do that is to have a regular bedtime. To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, see FIT Connection for Kids: Healthy Weight.
When you RECHARGE by resting and relaxing, it's easier to be in a good MOOD. When you wake up cranky in the morning, think about if you got enough sleep. Kids your age need about 10 hours a night. In a study, people who didn't sleep for 1 week became worried, sad, angry, and couldn't think well. Missing even just 1 night of sleep can put you in a bad mood and make it hard to think.
OK, so now you know it's important to give your body and brain time to RECHARGE. What can you do to make sure you get enough rest?
Think about what you do after school. Think about what you do after dinner. Think about what you do before bed. Maybe you need to give up some TV time, or get your homework done before dark. Then you can play outside or go to bed earlier.
When you make a healthy change, start with 1 small thing -- like watching just 1 less TV show. Then, after you get used to that, you might want to try something else. You can ask your parents for help, too.
Use the RECHARGE section of FIT Kids to find out more about sleep and rest. Power up for a healthy life!
Ronda Rose-Kayser, CFLE, family life specialist supervisor, Mutch Women's Center for Health Enrichment, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.National Sleep Foundation: "2008 Sleep in American Poll," "How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?"Smaldone, A. Pediatrics, February 2007; vol 119: pp S29-S37.Spiegel, K. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2004; vol 141: pp 846-850.Schmid, S. Journal of Sleep Research, September 2008; vol 17: pp 331-4.Schmid, S. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2009; vol 90: pp 1476-1482.Barnett, K. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, September 2008; vol 7: pp 405-20.Healthy Sleep: "Sleep and Mood."University of Michigan Healthy System: "Less Sleep May Expand Kid's Waistlines."Patel, S. Obesity (Silver Spring), March, 2008; vol 16: pp 643-53.
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