Sleep, Exercise, and Nutrition

Sleep in college can be a roller coaster. From assignment deadlines to spending time with friends, there are a number of things that can impact how much sleep you are getting. What you need is a consistent sleep schedule. The dream goal is 8 hours of sleep a night, but if this isn’t feasible, start with going to bed at the same time every night and trying to wake up around the same time. Our bodies and brains like routines, and not having enough sleep is associated with so many consequences, from your mood, to your ability to perform well in school, to your physical health.

Exercise may be the most difficult to make a habit. Why? We are most often tired, mentally or physically, from a full academic load. At the end of the day, most of us just want to relax. The CDC recommends both cardio and strength training for adults 18+. This might sound intimidating but just 30 minutes, three times a week, can help you see benefits in your mood and physical health. And cardio doesn’t have to be running – it can be walking briskly to class, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, riding a bike, or even parking father away from campus so you’re walking more. Yoga and stretching are great for your brain and body, too (check out some great short and free yoga videos you can do at home!). Don’t forget that you also have access to the SPU gym!

Lastly, nutrition. What you eat can play a huge role in how you feel about yourself emotionally and physically. Try to limit the foods you eat that contain caffeine and sugar. Also, make sure you’re eating the right amount. Most college students try dieting at some point during undergrad and there is a harmful myth that if you don’t eat – you’ll lose weight. The best way to lose weight is to make lifestyle changes. When you don’t eat, you don’t have the energy to exercise, it’s difficult to sleep, and your mood plummets. It’s also not sustainable. You end up depriving your body and brain. Fuel yourself with what you need. Check out the guidelines on what the USDA recommends for adults 18+.

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