Heading into a new school year can bring on a range of different emotions and this new school year is no exception. After a whirlwind of a year with lockdowns, social distancing and virtual schooling many kids are ready to get back into the classroom. Returning to the classroom and interacting with teachers and peers will not only require a focused mind but also a healthy body. Maintaining a healthy immune system and managing stress levels all while supporting brain function are integral for a successful school year.
Psychoneuroimmunology is a relatively new field of study that focuses on the interaction between the mind, the nervous system and the immune system. Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology has demonstrated that periods of high and/or chronic stress can negatively impact immune function. In particular, psychological stress is thought to disrupt immune signaling pathways and immune cell functioning leading to slow wound healing and reduced protection against infections . In other words, as an individual becomes more stressed out, their ability to fight off an infection is reduced.
Achieving a stress-free life is not realistic, especially when you are a student. Surprisingly, a small amount of stress can actually be beneficial to overall health. Healthy levels of stress keep us motivated, encouraging us to get up out of bed to start our day or complete that book report by the deadline. However, high levels of chronic stress can become counterproductive, resulting in a lack of motivation, difficulty with learning, feelings of burnout and even lead to physical complaints such as headaches. Headaches including migraines and tension headaches are common in undergraduate students since there is a constant supply of stress during the school year. This along with irregular sleeping habits, inadequate meal times, bad food choices and too much screen time can trigger painful headaches, all of which are unfortunately too common in students.
Headaches can significantly impact a student’s life, making it difficult to focus and learn. Luckily, there are a number of natural solutions to help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Tips to help reduce headaches:
- Avoid skipping meals. The human brain is a nutrient hog. It requires a constant supply of energy, vitamins and minerals so skipping out on breakfast can deprive the brain of crucial nutrients that it requires to help keep you focused and alert during class.
- Get a good night’s rest, especially on school nights. Learning and retaining information requires a well-rested mind and body. Try to get at least 8 hours of rest each night and you will quickly notice improvements on those midterm exam grades.
- Keep your screens at eye level and adjust the brightness. When staring at your phone or laptop your chin should be parallel to the floor to prevent those neck and upper shoulder muscles from becoming too tight thus triggering a tension headache. Additionally, adjusting the brightness on your screen to ensure you are not squinting can help reduce eye-strain and headaches.
Bell Lifestyle’s Migraid® Headache Relief formula helps reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. It combines a powerful blend of herbal extracts such as feverfew and skullcap with magnesium to help ease pain and tension.
Balancing stress and preventing headaches can help set you up for success as you get through another school year. Furthermore, you might also be interested in ways to keep your brain healthy so that you can reach your academic goals.
The brain is a vital organ that helps us interact with the world around us through senses, communication, and most importantly, thinking. Thinking and learning are mental processes that help shape students into successful professionals. Whether it’s a coach, a doctor or a musician, your brain’s ability to learn and think during school are crucial for helping you achieve your goals. Supporting the brain with adequate blood flow and essential nutrients can set you up for a productive school year.
Tip to support brain health:
- Stay hydrated with water. Juice, pop and colourful processed drinks are not nutritionally valuable to the brain and may actually hinder learning, focus and attention. Keep it simple with a plain glass of water.
- Consume vegetables and fruits that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12, folic acid and magnesium play important roles in learning, memory, focus and attention. Leafy greens, a piece of fruit or a side of roasted vegetables can help kick up those grades.
- Get your Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, seafood, nuts, and some seeds (flax seeds) have shown to benefit memory and mood.
- Prioritize sleep and rest. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Sleep is crucial for learning, focus and memory.
- Stay organized. Use your day planner to help keep you on top of school commitments without leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unorganized.
- Set goals daily. Every achievement, no matter how small can keep you feeling accomplished and give you the momentum to keep going while the school work load piles on.
Bell Lifestyle’s Brain Function is uniquely formulated to help enhance memory and cognitive function. Rosemary and ginkgo extracts help support peripheral blood flow, delivering important nutrients to the brain via the blood. Huperzia serrata extract naturally contains Huperizine A, a specialized natural compound used by the brain to help support memory and recall. L-glutamine is an amino acid used by the brain to produce two important neurotransmitters, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These neurotransmitters play important roles in mental focus and alertness. Lastly, lecithin is included in this formula to help supply the brain with choline, a special compound that is required in abundant amounts to help support memory and recall.
Take on the new school year feeling confident and healthy. Support your body and mind by making healthier choices while achieving good grades.
 Godbout JP. And Glaser R. (2006). Journal of neuroimmune pharmacology. Stress-induced immune dysregulation: implications for wound healing, infectious disease and cancer. 1(4): 421-427.