Sleep: Your New Favorite Hobby

Spring is finally here! Well, sort of. Warmer weather means going to baseball games, cooking out with friends, going to the beach, concerts, and late nights. But this doesn’t leave much time for sleep.

Getting enough sleep can not only reduce stress and improve memory, but it can also extend your lifespan! Here are some benefits and facts about sleep that you should be aware of.

Benefits of Sleep: Sleep Can…

  • Boost creativity
  • Reduce the risk of depression
  • Improve physical appearance
  • Sharpen your attention
  • Help with weight loss
  • Make you more alert
  • Help your body heal itself
  • Boost energy

The Facts

  • You should get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep each night
  • More than 70 million Americans live with over 85 types of sleeping disorders
  • Check out this awesome infographic: Sleep Facts
  • 77% of college students have trouble sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation

Untitled

Sleep Trouble: Ways to Fall Asleep Easier

  • Turn off all electronics
  • Do not exercise in the late evening or night
  • Listen to calming music (Pandora has relaxation and meditation stations)
  • Do not eat a couple hours before bedtime
  • Do not play games on your phone or electronic devices (it will stimulate your brain and keep you awake)
  • Make lists and take notes before bed of what you need to do the next day (otherwise you will be thinking about it when you’re trying to catch some ZZZ’s)
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature (research has shown that people fall asleep easier in cooler temperatures)
  • Keep your room clean (clutter causes stress)
  • Limit your caffeine intake

e147787a53048d7371a4e2e3c869cf93

So while making your spring and summer bucket lists, make sure to add sleep into your schedule. Happy snoozing, Warhawks!

If you want more tips on sleeping habits or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

College: The Game of Balance

College is a game of balance. Attending classes, studying, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and finding time for friends, family and yourself can be very difficult.

College BalanceThe following tips will help you stay balanced and stress-free:

Get Organized
It took me almost all of my college years to acknowledge this one. Organization is one of the hardest things to get the hang of for many of us. But there are many resources that you can use to get become more organized.

The best thing to do is make organization binders. This way you can organize everything from work, projects, to-do lists, grocery lists, meal plans, bills, personal documents, and everything else you need to keep track of.

Here are some of my favorite free printables for getting everything in your life in order:

Prioritize
Once you know what needs to be accomplished, it’s time to prioritize. This means figuring out which tasks are most important and which ones need to be completed first. For example, if you have to plan a friend’s birthday bash for next month but also have a presentation due tomorrow for your internship, you should do the presentation first.

When you prioritize, you are able to avoid the problem of, “I have so much to do, and don’t even know where to start.” Make a list and number your tasks in order of importance and by the date each needs to be completed.

Avoid Procrastination
Oh yes, the dreaded “P” word! If I had a dollar for every time I saw a Facebook status or tweet from a college peer about procrastination, I wouldn’t need a job after graduation.

We all procrastinate, but here are some ways you can avoid it:

  • Make lists
  • Make a specific time-frame for downtime
  • Be around enthusiastic and driven people
  • Get into a routine
  • Reward yourself for completing tasks (perhaps some frozen yogurt after you finish that English paper?)
  • Avoid distractions – go to the library, a café, or somewhere it is easy to focus
  • Divvy up the time for larger tasks and project
  • Put motivational photos and quotes on a bulletin board in your office
  • Do simple tasks right when they come up

Have “Me” Time
Trying to balance everything can be very stressful and overwhelming. It is important that you make time for yourself to reenergize and keep your sanity. It is okay to tell your friends you can’t go out one night because you want to catch up on Walking Dead  and Duck Dynasty episodes.

Having balance means making time for the  things that bring you happiness. Haven’t opened up a new book in months? Well it’s time to burst open the binding and get lost in some you-time!

Know When to Say “No”
Sometimes we college students feel like we need to be superheroes and balance the weight of the world on our shoulders. However it will do nothing but hurt you in the end. In order to keep balance in your life, it is important to not bite off more than you can chew.

For example, if you have an academic overload and your boss asks you to participate in planning a charity event, it is okay to turn it down. Do not simply say, “no,” but explain that you have a lot of things on your plate right now for school and to please have your boss keep you in mind for the next opportunity.

Find Ways to Move
For many of us it isn’t realistic to make it to the gym every day. So find ways that you can stay moving throughout the day and won’t take away from other things you need to get done.

Here are some ways to keep your body going outside of the gym:

  • Stand instead of sit
  • Walk to class instead of driving
  • Take the stairs
  • Clean your place (talk about killing two birds with one stone!)
  • Park further from buildings
  • Fidget at your desk
  • Dance around to your favorite music
  • Do crunches, squats, or burpees during TV commercials

Explore Your Options. Get Help.
The awesome thing about college is there are resources everywhere. You typically can find guidance from your professors, advisors, tutors, a health clinic, and counseling centers. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or be embarrassed. We are all human and need help at times!

Here are some links for resources on the UW-Whitewater campus:

If you want more tips on how to balance college life or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Photo by Heather Schwartz.