sleep

Thanks, College

Thanks, College.

Common real-world skills we learned at college, in or out of the classroom.

 

  1. Parallel parking: If you’re from the city this might not apply to you, or if you don’t have a car. For those of us from the suburbs or country with a car on campus, we learned to parallel park soon after arriving to college.  This skill comes in handy often when travelling home, to the city, or on vacation.  It also widens your parking possibilities in any situation.
  2. Tolerance for extreme temperatures: As the weather gets colder, we adapt to walking across campus in the cold, with the wind blowing through our layers of jackets and long-johns. We learn in our first semesters to bundle up and forget about being cute.
  3. Independence: Whether you were looking forward to this or not, you become more independent in college. You have to if you go to college more than about an hour away from home.  You (hopefully) learn how to do your laundry, budget your money, clean your room without being prompted, and study and do homework on your own free will.
  4. Time management: Sometimes, it takes people their whole college careers to get this down, but everyone learns throughout their college life how important time management is. Some people know the importance of it and still choose to manage their time badly.  You have to balance classes, studying, work, friends, sleep, eating, and mental health.  Usually this “balance” involves giving up one or more of these things, which one depends on your priorities.
  5. Multi-tasking: You may have been good at this before college, but you’ll be a master by the time you graduate. Multitasking can look like many things: eating while you work, study, or walk to class, taking homework to work, or considering meeting with a study group to be hanging out with friends.

We learn a lot in college that may have nothing to do with our degrees, but these skills or pieces of knowledge are just as important as the information we learn in class.  What are some skills you’ve learned in college that have become useful in real life?  What are you most thankful for?

Late Nights, Early Mornings, Less Sleep

Between early morning paper writing and late night study sessions, a good night’s sleep often comes as an afterthought to many college students. Before you grab that energy drink or espresso to pull another all-nighter, take the consequences into consideration.

 1. Cognitive and Memory Problems

Don’t let all your studying go to waste by missing out on sleep! Lack of sleep has been linked to memory problems and difficulty with problem solving. These issues can be permanent and brain deterioration can occur if sleep deprivation is long term.

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image source: wisegeek.com

2. Pre-Mature Aging

Those dark under-eye circles you get after pulling an all-nighter are doing more damage than you may think. Human growth hormone, which is responsible for strengthening skin, bones, and muscles, is produced during slow-wave sleep. If you never reach this form of deep sleep, your body has less of a chance to produce this hormone.  Lack of sleep also causes your body to increase production of cortisol: a hormone that breaks down collagen. This causes skin to lose its elasticity.

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image source: healthcaretips.co

2. Weight Gain

Your hormones also get thrown off kilter when you don’t get enough shut-eye. Production of the hunger hormone ghrelin is increased when you get less than six hours of sleep causing you to have a larger appetite than normal.

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image source: healthbeautyou.com

 3. Heart Problems

Lack of sleep has also been linked to several other heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, heart disease, and high blood pressure as well as diabetes and stroke.

Love

image source: medclient.com

While the occasional late night is sometimes unavoidable, proper time management could help you add on a few more precious minutes (or hours) of sleep. How do you make sure you get a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

 Feature, Camille. “10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss>.

 Klein, Sarah. “Sleep Deprivation Effects: 8 Scary Side Effects Of Too Little Shut-Eye.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/scary-sleep-deprivation-effects_n_2807026.html>.

Shifting Schedules

After all of those all-nighters, cups and cups of caffeine, lack of exercise and tons of stress, going home for summer can be such a change, it could get you sick!

Be sure to make the transition gradually.  This goes out to the freshman especially as they have never gone through this before.  I remember the first time I came home after college, I slept for 15 hours and was in the worst physical shape I had ever been.  I ended up getting pretty sick for a few days too.  Be sure to get your rest, but set an alarm so you do not over sleep or you will have no energy the next day.  Getting your body used to drastically different sleep schedules doesn’t happen overnight (I know, I know, I’m sorry but I had to).

This gradual transition tip also goes for caffeine.  Going from a constant  IV drip of caffeine to none at all can leave you with mild to severe headaches, insomnia or exhaustion, irritability, constipation, lack of concentration, etc.  Tone down your caffeine once you get home and get back on your home schedule, but do not cut it out completely.  Reduce your intake and form of intake.  For instance, if you were drinking energy drinks, try having a small amount of coffee the next day for caffeine, then black tea, then white tea.  Some are more sensitive than others to caffeine shifts; be sure to listen to your body.

If you travel far for school, you may even feel a bit of culture shock when going back home for a few months.  Try to do some things at home that you would have normally done at school.  Keeping a similar schedule. Work out the same time you would if you were at school. Simply staying busy can be a good idea.  You may end up feeling restless or bored, feeling stuck at home instead of living the exciting college lifestyle.  In college, you are surrounded by people.  If you go home to the suburbs or a rural area, you may feel a bit isolated at times.  Be sure to stay busy catching up with family and friends not just getting right into your summer work schedule (if you have one).  Keeping in touch with friends from school can be good too, but be sure to live in the present and interact with the people who are physically around you.

Having things to look forward to in this regard can do you some good.  Getting a couple friends together for a road trip, sports game, or concert can be just the thing you need to get through the hours at a boring summer job.
If you do find yourself with a day completely free and bored, remember that it was only a few weeks ago that you were stressed out beyond belief, and there weren’t enough hours in the day.  Enjoy the days when you’ve got nothing to do since before you know it, you will be a graduate and enter the real world where there are no summers when you’re completely off.

– TravelBug

Tips & Tricks to Fall Asleep Faster

Isn’t it crazy that we can fall asleep in ten seconds flat at the library, but as soon as our heads meet our pillows we are wide-awake? There are many things that can be done to help a person fall asleep fast, without the use of shady sleeping aids those people down the hall always offer you:

1. Limit caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant (well, duh). Having a cup of coffee before your night class might instantly perk you up, but chances are you will be up way long after your professor lets you go.  Avoid energy drinks, coffee, even caffeinated tea for about four hours before trying to sleep.

2. No eating right before bed.
Just like caffeine, if you have an orange (or any other acidic fruit) right before bed, it will be harder to drift off to la-la-land.  Just as you don’t want to get wired up on caffeine right before sleep, try not to eat until you’re full right before bed.   You can still hit up late night with friends; just ensure you are not planning on sleeping for s few hours afterward.  If you are starving try to eat lighter foods like eggs, an apple, some cereal, etc. if you are planning to doze off soon.

3. Having a sleeping schedule.
Your friends may be unpredictable or spontaneous, your schedule may be drastically different from day to day, and if your involved on campus, forget about it.  Having a different schedule each day is an exciting part of college that one may not appreciate until one starts working 9-5.  Ensure that your sleep schedule is somewhat routine (i.e. you try to sleep each night around the same time and try to wake each morning similarly).  No one says your bedtime has to be at 11pm anymore, but keeping a schedule will help you fall asleep faster and get a more restful sleep.

4. No tech ‘til breakfast.
This is a tough one, but using your phone, iPad, laptop, or anything of the sort right before bed might be a reason you can’t seem to sleep well.  Have you ever closed your eyes and the first picture you have in your mind is a computer game or a part of that funny YouTube video?  This is a sign you should probably cut down.  Skeptical? See what Dr. Breus has to say about this.

5. The right amount of exercise.
Girls and guys alike seem to drastically change their exercise routine when in college to either extreme. Some slow down their workouts, go less often or stop them completely.  Others workout so hard that their body is throbbing in pain and they end up so sore that they need to take a break on the stairs when trying to get to class on the second floor.  Either of these extremes is harmful to your sleep.  Exercising that right amount is different for everyone, and it takes practice to find that balance.  At least 20 minutes of exercise every other day is a nice minimum whether that is walking, lifting, running or rock climbing.  Finding fun and different ways to keep in shape can keep your muscles guessing and trick your mind into disbelief that what you just did really was a workout can give you a more restful sleep.  Try a new sport with a friend or check out a fitness class on campus.

6. Meditation.
Not a yogi?  Try just sitting at your desk or on a comfortable chair and just take a few slow breaths.  Clearing your head a bit before bed may get rid of some stress or anxiety before sleep.

7. Less pressure on yourself.
Keep up with your responsibilities, going to class and such, but not putting too much pressure on yourself may help you drift off to sleep quicker.  Remember that saying “College is the most exciting time in your life”?  They say that for a reason.

8. College sleep kit.
Either by hitting up the local convenience store or asking for these items to be sent in your next care package, these items are known to help you fall asleep faster:

  1. Lavender lotion or putting a drop of lavender oil behind your pillow
  2. Eye mask to block out your roommates desk light
  3. De-caffeinated herbal tea (most labels will advertise it is a natural sleep remedy)
  4. A word on ear plugs – although they work wonders in the library around finals when everyone is doing their homework last minute, earplugs at night could be dangerous incase of fire or other emergency.  Talking with your roommates or neighbors about the noise level could be your best bet.

Do NOT succumb to alcohol.  Many bad habits can begin in college, but do NOT let using alcohol as a sleep aid become one of them.  Once legal age, there is nothing wrong with a glass of wine at the end of the day, but using alcohol as a sleep aid can be very dangerous! Here’s proof.

Sweet dreams!

-TravelBug

I’m reading From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader

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.

Alabaster

I’m reading The Art of Public Speaking

 

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/abcs-zzzzs-when-you-cant-sleep

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/

http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=659