Yoga at RLS Middle School

Aleka Eisentrout leads RLS Middle School students in a yoga demonstration.

Jesse Duarte, Star

RLS Middle School students learned last Thursday about nutritious snacks, techniques to relieve stress, and how looking at your cell phone late at night can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

According to the school district, the school’s second annual Wellness Fair was intended to “help students become more responsible for their own positive health behaviors.”

Students cycled through four stations involving sleep, stress, snacks and yoga, featuring specialists from St. Helena Hospital and other organizations.

At the sleep station, wellness practitioner Beverly Davies talked about how important sleep is for adolescents. She talked about “sleep stealers” like cell phones that emit the sort of blue light that halts the pineal gland’s secretion of melatonin, a hormone that promotes restful, restorative sleep. The naturally occurring red light of a sunset turns on the body’s melatonin factory in anticipation of sleep, but the light of a cell phone shuts it down again.

The snack station featured hands-on demonstrations of how much sugar, preservatives and chemical additives are contained in popular snack foods and drinks. Angela Zivkovic, a professor of nutrition at UC Davis, and Angela Baxter, food services director, offered samples of healthy snacks and taught kids how to tell the difference.

District school nurse Barbara Dondero and high school counselor Laura Jorgensen talked about relaxation and stress-relieving techniques. The yoga station, run by Aleka Eisentrout and Betsy Titus, also emphasized relaxation.

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