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Resources for Students

Diet, exercise, and sleep are three pillars of a healthy life. While improving just one of these lifestyle factors can help people lead longer lives, improving all three may be more beneficial for both physical and mental health mental health.

Diet

Food is fuel, and the kinds of foods and drinks you consume determine the types of nutrients in your system and impact how well your mind and body are able to function.​​  Our feelings, thoughts and behavior are affected by what we eat and drink. The brain influences what you eat, and what you eat influences your brain.

Diet tips:

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (about 2 liters)

  2. Limit caffeine intake​​

  3. Incorporate a healthy breakfast into your daily routine​

  4. Eat regularly
  5. Mindful eating

What to eat:

  • Eat the right balance of fats

    •  Your brain needs healthy fats to keep working well. Healthy fats include olive oil, grapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, milk and eggs

  • Include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

    • These contain the vitamins and minerals your brain and body need to stay well.

  • Include protein with every meal.

    • It contains an amino acid that your brain uses to help regulate your mood.

Exercise

Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

Benefits:

  1. Improved sleep

  2. Relieve stress

  3. Cope with strong emotions

  4. Improvement in mood 

  5. Increased energy 

  6. Improved academic performance, attention, and memory

  7. Improvement in executive function-the set of skills used for learning, solving problems and self-control

  8. Strengthen bones and muscles

  9. Reduced risks of disease

  10. Maintain healthy weight

Amount of exercise:

The amount of physical activity children need depends on their age.

  • Children ages 3 through 5 years need to be active throughout the day.

  • Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 need to be active for 60 minutes every day.

Sleep

Children need long periods of uninterrupted sleep for their growth and development, but sleep problems are common. 

Sleep Tips:

  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it's time to sleep

    • Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day​
  • Create a restful environment

    • Bedrooms that are dark, cool and quiet are generally easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in​

  • Avoid large meals,  caffeine, and alcohol before bed​

  • Try apps designed to help with sleep problems or white noise​

  • Avoid using screens in the evening, including on smartphones and tablets

    • The light from the screen can have a negative effect on sleep, and social media, news and games can all stimulate your brain and make you feel anxious

  • Write down your worries if you lie awake worrying about tomorrow​

  • Do something relaxing (ex: listening to music or reading) until you feel sleepy

 

Amount of sleep:

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) 

  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) 

  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) 

  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

  • Adult 18 to 60 years of age should sleep 7  or more hours per night

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