Healthy Living on Campus

Maintaing good health on campus can be difficult. Taking care of yourself by making smart choices can keep you in good spirits and in good health this semester.

Stay Rested

A sparatic sleep schedule or sleep deprivation is a common occurrence among students. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Aug 10 found that less than one-third of the 1,125 students participating got the sleep they need for their age.

Inadequate sleep is not unique to college students and can serious affects at any age. . Lack of sleep may be related to obesity, diabetes, and immune system dysfunction according to Harvard Magazine Article, Deep into sleep.

Though the function of sleep is still unknown, it has long been thought to be integral to the process of learning and memory. A study from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. found a correlation between grade point average and sleep deprivation amoung participants. Pamela Thacher, who wrote the study examined the sleeping patterns and transcripts of 111 students to see the correlation between sleep and their GPAs. Thacher was later quoted by USA Today saying, “Many students believe that it’s a “rite of passage” to stay up all night during college and that “it’s kind of fun” but “if you use all-nighters, your GPA is slightly lower on average.” “Pulling all-nighters compromises your (overall) sleep” and makes it difficult to reach full academic potential.”

Sleep Tips for College Students

Most adults need at least eight hours of sleep each night, though some may need up to ten. Getting a better night’s sleep may be easier said than done, but small steps go a long way towards better, more restful sleep.

  • Review your class, work, study, and play schedule. See what changes need to be made to ensure you get eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully.
  • Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such as noises or bright lights. – Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – even on the weekends.

**Courtesy of the United States Center for disease control and prevention

Stop Procrastinating

Putting things off to the last minute should be a last resort and not a regular habit. Procrastination may lead to unnecessary stress, which can have serious effects. Stress has been linked to a slew of health conditions spanning from acne and psoriasis flare-ups, to more severe problems like high blood pressure and blood clotting.

The “I’ll do right after I…” mentality, is one most of us are guilty of from one time to another, but simply scheduling your day or using a weekly planner can go a long way to fight off the temptation to procrastinate. For projects with far out deadlines, try making an “unschedule,” working backwards from the deadline and deciding what portion of a project you will have done by what date.

Another way to fight the urge to “do it later” is to recognize when you actively search for things to do instead of the task in question. Checking your email or Facebook page and getting the sudden inspiration to do some long neglected spring cleaning will not help you make headway on that 50 pages of assigned reading.

Eat healthfully, this includes eating breakfast

Breakfast is not just for kids and the Mayo Clinic can discuss why. According to an article by nutritionist and registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, eating breakfast helps to restore blood sugar and can help increase daily physical activity levels.

“Eating breakfast reduces your hunger later in the day, making it easier to avoid overeating,” says Zeratsky .

Healthy options in dining halls at Ferris State are available and may help persuade even the most veggie-averse of diner-goers. Taking advantage of the salad bar as well as The Rock’s new Mongo-Grill may help “healthify” your campus dining experience.

One of the most serious tests of will though, occurs outside of the dining halls. Frozen diners, fast food, and trips to the vending machine offer immediate and inexpensive options that many find too tempting to resist. Planning meals and packing healthy snacks like fruit for between meals can help prevent a potentially disastrous drive through run.

Get your exercise

The recreation facilities on campus are a great way to get your daily dose of physical activity. Students pay an activity fee each semester to use both the UREC and the Raquet facility. With all fees paid for in tuition, there is little excuse for students to not take advantage of this amenity.

If a time crunch is a problem, try incorporating a trip to the gym into your daily class schedule or as part of a lunch break.

Lacking motivation? Try dragging a friend along with you. A workout buddy can help to keep you accountable for and on-track with your fitness goals. For adults the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity arobic activity every week along with muscle-strengthening exercise that work all of the major muscle groups at least twice a week.