sleep deprivation

Bad Habits to Avoid in College

College is a time when you gain some independence.  You are now free to live your day-to-day life without checking in with Mom and Dad (although depending on your parents, they might not have been like that before …or they could be on the other end of the spectrum insisting on daily phone updates).  No matter what your parental situation is, you definitely have more independence now than back in high school.  Professors have a higher expectation of you in the classroom.  You have more control over what your schedule is like.  And what will you be doing with your free time?  Working out excessively?  Partying too much? Diving into mounds of ice cream, sugary cereal and macaroni and cheese? Hopefully, that last one isn’t all in the same mouthful.  Anyway, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance.  Any of the habits you will pick up in college, healthy or not, could follow you for the rest of your life, so let’s make sure you start your new college lifestyle on the right foot:

Overeating ­– People talk about the “freshman fifteen” for a reason, but I am here to tell you that a person can make it through while maintaining your current weight and even becoming healthier.  For one, paying college tuition always comes with a gym membership (I have never heard of a college that does not have a gym for their students)!  These gyms range from top of the line equipment to smaller gyms with just enough machines, free weights, and other things to stay in shape.  To be fair, these gym amenities also come with dining halls; these are usually buffet style, which are full of greasy, fattening comfort foods.  It is easy to indulge day after day on burgers, fries, and other treats.  Try to first look up either online or at the front of the dining hall what is being served that day.  If the healthiest options are things that you do not like, try to eat somewhere else on or off campus that day.  Remember that maintaining your weight means eating and exercising the same as you did at home, and if you were not eating junk food much then, college should not be the place to start

Another way people overeat is through munching.  To keep from munching constantly in your room, remove the temptation.  Only keep healthy foods in your room.  If you are into crunchy things, grab an apple or two on your way out of the dining hall to keep in your dorm for later or stock up at a local grocery store with cereal (one that isn’t so sugary), soup, granola bars, yogurt and other healthy snacks.

Sleeping Late – This is a major problem for a lot of college students.  Whether you are up late socializing or studying, sleep deprivation is something not to be messed with.  Dr. Max Hirshkowitz and Patricia B. Smith of warn that sleep deprivation may cause you to “age more rapidly; become more susceptible to colds, flu, and other infections; display an increased risk of accidents due to sleepiness and poor coordination; experiencing more emotional problems, including depression and anxiety; feel irritable and experience mood swings; forget important information; have reduced ability to deal with stress; increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death; and show poor judgment, poor concentration, and an inability to make decisions.”  Learn more by reading the whole article here.

College is a time to start off fresh, to begin a healthy lifestyle.  To do this, be sure to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly but in no means excessively.  Be sure to pick friends who are good influences on you, as you do not want to pick up other people’s bad habits.

When you enter college, you are going to meet all different people.  You will have all new options, decisions, and choices before you.  It may seem daunting, but it can be fun and simple if you just stay true to yourself and balance healthy choices with fun ones.


I’m reading America: A Narrative History

Recover After Your All-Nighter

First off, let me congratulate you for actually successfully staying up all night. So many people fall asleep with their coffee cups in hand, or wake up with their notes stuck to their face. So you should be pretty proud that you made it all the way through. Though, likely, right now you’re not feeling very proud. Your eyes are probably drooping, a hint of dark circles giving away your marathon school work endeavor. All you want to do is curl up and sleep forever. But, there are better steps you can take to return to your normal self.

Though after an all-nighter the only thing on your mind is skipping classes you don’t need to go to and napping, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Your sleep schedule is screwed up, and long naps will likely only make you more tired and even more useless in the classroom. Instead, you’re going to have to force yourself to stay awake until bedtime—early bedtime that is. Think about what time you usually turn off the lights and go to bed 3-4 hours earlier. You may be thinking that’s not enough sleep. You’ll likely still be tired the next day, and we’ve all learned there’s really no such thing as “catching up on sleep,” but this step is important to get your sleep schedule back on track. By following this step, you’ll be able to fall asleep at your normal time for the rest of the week and get up in the morning as usual.

During the day following your dusk-to-dawn cram session, there are some options to help you stay awake and also remain tired enough to hit the sack earlier that night. You need to keep your day as normal as possible, following your routine like you spent the night dreaming of unicorns and butterflies. Caffeine was your friend to stay awake, but now it is your enemy. You can drink some coffee or tea in the morning to give you some energy to get through the day. After noon stick to water or some other non-caffeinated drink. Though you may have to drag yourself through the finish line, it’ll be better than getting too wired and energized that you stay awake way longer than you planned to—no need for another all-nighter.

When you do nod off or can do nothing but yawn, instead of reaching for an energy drink, you need to get up and do something. We’re all well aware that when a teacher has that droning voice or turns the lights off for a movie, at least one person is bound to fall asleep. Well, it’s not going to be you! Once your head hits the table, you’ll have a hard time waking up again. Instead, opt for a nice little walk to the water fountain. Go to the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face. Take a walk around campus and soak in some rays. You’ll feel a little more energized and you can feel a tiny bit less guilty about skipping the gym for sleep later on.

The following day, as much as you might be tempted to sleep in, you need to get up at your normal time. Just because you were good and went to all your classes after an all-nighter doesn’t mean you get to reward yourself by skipping out today and sleeping to your heart’s content. This too would throw off your sleeping schedule and keep you up later at night, thus going back into this vicious cycle of constantly being overly-tired. So, don’t hit that snooze button and set a bunch of alarms to make sure your open your pretty little eyes. By doing so, you’ll have helped repair your sleep schedule and it’ll be as if that horrible all-nighter never happened.

Finally, you should remember all-nighters should be kept at a minimum. Don’t torture yourself by staying up all night several times a week because you put off homework or studying. Cramming and waiting until the last minute won’t get you very far in your classes or your real job down the line. It’s not only bad for your grades and your work ethic, but you can seriously throw your body completely out of whack. So, rather than sitting here reading this article to get ready for an all-nighter or feeling like death because you just finished one and need some help getting over it, try making a schedule and getting nights of regular sleep. You’ll thank yourself later.


I’m reading Short Course in Digital Photography

The Importance Of Napping In College

When was the last time you slept a full 8 hours on a weekday? The National Sleep Foundation says that most people generally need between 7-9 hours of sleep on any given night. I usually get somewhere between 5-6 hours of sleep on weekdays. How could a busy, working college student like myself function as a normal member of society for 12 hours each day and still find the energy to go to the gym afterwards? Power naps, and many of them. Napping is essential for college students who have a hard time balancing their busy schedules. If I didn’t take naps, I know for a fact that I would become a walking zombie.

What effect can sleep loss have on the functionality of our brains? It has been found that sleep loss can impair one’s ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning and logical reasoning. Obviously one who has problems these will struggle in college. College can be the toughest time to find sleep, however it’s important to realize that sleeping problems will detrimentally affect one’s school performance. Many students don’t fully understand just how much pulling all-nighters negatively affects performance.

Some students choose caffeine over power naps, without realizing that a cup of coffee can stay in their system for hours and make it more difficult to fall asleep later. Another common misconception made by students is that it won’t hurt to miss some sleep during the week and make up for it by sleeping in on weekends. This causes changes in sleeping patterns that will make it much harder to wake up come Monday morning, according to an article published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. They also suggest that if students choose to nap, to make sure it lasts less than an hour each time.

Insufficient sleep is one leading cause of fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that there are over 100,000 auto crashes every year that are fatigue related. This is said to affect drivers aged 25 or under more than any other age group. Additionally, people who suffer from the sleep disorder sleep apnea have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, heart failure and irregular heartbeat. Napping isn’t an affective treatment for sleep apnea, however people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea really need all of the extra rest that they can get. We should all try to get some extra sleep when possible to improve our quality of life, as well as the quality of our work.


I’m reading The Art of Public Speaking