Weekly Wellness: The keys to having a great summer

We are yet again nearing the end of another school year and heading into a much deserved summer break. For most students, summer is a great time to relax and revitalize before the next school year begins. It is beneficial for your mental health to take advantage of this relatively stress-free time without the demands of the school year upon you. However, it is also important to keep your physical health in mind entering into the summer months.

 If you are not working a full-time day job it can be tempting to stay up all night some nights, and sleep-in late some days. This type of deregulated sleep-wake cycle can actually have a negative impact on your circadian rhythm, which is regulated by sunlight. Disruption of the circadian rhythm can result in sleepiness, poor sleep, loss of concentration, poor motor control, slowed reflexes, nausea, and irritability. It is difficult to avoid sleeping-in without any reason to get out of bed, but try to keep your sleep cycle regular and in line with the rise and fall of the sun as much as possible to avoid the negative consequences of sleep loss.

Summer is a prime time for alcohol consumption given a reduced work load compared to the school year. Unfortunately, in the summer, high levels of alcohol consumption coincide with an increased risk of dehydration and can put your body at serious risk. Hot weather increases body temperature and alcohol increases water loss through urine, since it is a diuretic. This results in increased dehydration and risk of heat stroke. If you are drinking alcohol in hot weather, remember to eat lots of food and drink lots of water to help keep your body hydrated and safe. Also keep in mind that it is always smart to drink in moderation and not surpass a level where you lose conscious control.

I know you have all heard this before, but it really can’t be said enough: use sunscreen. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage elastin fibres in the skin, making it weaker and more sensitive. As well, we all know the pain of a really bad sun burn after a long day outdoors. By simply applying sunscreen or covering up you can avoid the pain and skin damage. If you do happen to get sun burnt, take Advil to reduce inflammation in the skin and be sure to moisturize, as all your skin’s moisture will have been depleted. If the short term pain of a sunburn isn’t enough to stop you from going out without sun screen, keep in mind that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. The risk of getting skin cancer is increased for fairer skin types, however, everyone who spends time outdoors unprotected from the sun is susceptible.

– See more at: http://argosy.ca/article/weekly-wellness-1#sthash.WfJlQotk.dpuf

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