Students can face many threats to health in September

Students can face many threats to health in September

Some students fall asleep during class when unprepared for the beginning of the school year.

Heading back to school means new supplies and new clothes, but it also means students getting back into the habit of their school schedule.

In the three months of summer that students receive off, they tend to develop a new daily schedule for themselves. This can include such things as waking up at a later time in the day, skipping breakfast, eating lunch early and not pursuing a daily amount of exercise like they would on a school day.

School equals less sleep

In a recent University of Colorado survey, 82 percent of high school students reported that they wake up tired and more than 50 percent have trouble concentrating at school at least once a week. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that only one-fifth of teenagers gets the nine recommended hours of sleep each night.

Fairmont sophomore Tanner Woodside feels it’s hard to take a large break from school and be expected to get right back into the school schedule. “It’s extremely difficult to stay awake and focused in class because some of the classes are so boring compared to what you usually do during the summer,” said Woodside. “You’re not used to having to concentrate on one specific thing and not being able to get up and take a break.”

During the summer, students are less stressed about school-related worries such as homework, extra-curricular activities and time management in general. Studies show that once students change schedules when going back to school, they receive less sleep, nutrition and exercise than they would outside of school.

Junior Megan McFarland says she has all the basic back-to-school issues. “After you’ve been staying up super late and waking up at two in the afternoon, it’s hard getting up early in the morning and trying to fulfill your school priorities,” said McFarland. “To get out of this habit, I try to start going to bed earlier a week or two before school starts. Also, once school starts, I always try to eat a good breakfast and study for tests in advance, not at the last second.”

A little advice for students

Fairmont parent Susanne Morgan, who has had experience with getting her child back into regular school mode, has her own advice to students on what to do.

“Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast so your body has nutrition to function at its best levels,” said Morgan. “I also think students should start exercising when returning to school. Ideas such as going to the gym a few times a week or walking their dog always can help get them back into a routine.”

Poor nutrition and a lack of exercise and sleep aren’t the only things students should pay attention to when starting a new school year. Students also should take steps to make sure they don’t catch any viruses, including the common cold, or come into unnecessary contact with bacteria. When students come into an atmosphere they haven’t been around for a while, they are open to several germs, especially from other students.

Fairmont nurse Kathy Thomas feels she can’t stress enough to students how important it is to take care of themselves during the school year. “It’s so important to frequently wash your hands. Especially since all the students are so close together and sneezing, coughing and touching each other throughout the day,” she said.

Thomas also feels students should take it to the next level to ensure they are as healthy as possible. “Make sure you stay up to date with immunizations and flu shots,” said Thomas. “There’s nothing wrong with going to your doctor to get a quick check-up and making sure you’re taking care of yourself properly.”

Sometimes students realize they’re getting stressed, and they feel clueless on how to handle the issues that the beginning of a school year can bring. Morgan feels all students need is patience. “The best thing for students to do in this kind of situation is to take a deep breath, maintain their priorities and just think things through,” she said.