Being Successful by Being Healthy
For most young adults, college is the four-year period that they have been looking forward to since junior high. It’s the time to get out there and meet lifelong friends, experience new things, get involved with different activities, and develop the skills and knowledge that will be necessary for future career paths. Though, with all the fun of college comes the hard part of it: going to extracurricular meetings, nights filled with papers, studying for exams and heavy loads of reading. And that means a stressed out student. However there are ways to manage this stress. Through maintaining a healthy well being and practicing stress management techniques, every college student can survive their four years of undergraduate work without spontaneously combusting. Maintaining a healthy well being includes eating healthy and exercising enough, getting enough sleep, taking a break to give the mind and body time to relax, and practicing stress management techniques such as simple breathing exercise and yoga, and making task lists.
Sleep is essential to survive and is a key component in being healthy. Along with being the most effective way to recharge the human body, sleep has many benefits, all of which can help college students. One benefit sleep has is that it improves memory. According to an article in the Huffington Post written by A. Sparacino, a process called consolidation occurs. Consolidation is when memories or learned skills are strengthened during sleep and are ready to use when awake. (Sparacino, 2011) This process is extremely important to college students because of the new things learned every day. Sitting through that two hour lecture is a complete waste of time if everything that was said is forgotten because the student didn’t get enough sleep. I have actually had an experience with this. I went through an entire day of classes running on about 2 hours of sleep from the night before and was unable to remember anything I had learned that day. Dr. Rapoport, an associate professor at New York University Langone Medical Center says “If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice, but something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.” The National Sleep Foundation states that those above the age of 17 needs anywhere from 7 to 10 hours of sleep a night. ("National sleep foundation," 2011) The reality of getting ten hours of sleep a night in college isn’t very likely, however seven hours is very do-able if the student’s time is managed efficiently. Napping is also a good way to catch up on sleep, but make sure to limit them to no more than 30 minutes. Sleeping longer than this may result in sleep inertia, which is something I have suffered from too many times. Sleep inertia is the feeling an individual gets after sleeping an amount of time that is too long for a nap and ends up feeling even worse than before the nap.
Adequate sleep can also spur creativity. (Sparacino, 2011) Consolidation not only strengthens memories, but it can also restructure and reorganize them, allowing for more creativity. A study done by researchers from Harvard and Boston College found that emotional components of memory are strengthened during sleep and this helps spur the creative process. It may not seem like the most important thing, but having the ability to be creative is a huge advantage in college. Not only can it aid in schoolwork, but it also allows for leadership in extracurricular activities because of the new ideas that can be developed. Another advantage of sleep is that it helps to avoid depression. (Sparacino, 2011) Depression is very common among college students. Being away from home for an extended period of time, adjusting to an entirely new set of people and a new atmosphere is a lot to...
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