The Frenzied Pace Begins!
The intensity of college life doesn’t have to ruin your health, mood or ability to sleep…
During the Day
? Boost your happiness and creativity factor with a few flowers or plants nearby, say researchers at Texas A&M. Put one on your desk or sit near plants in the library or cafeteria. Allergic? No problem, a nature scene as your screensaver, or photo on your wall, can create the same effect. You’ll also find your productivity increases. If you can, sit outside (or in a sunny window) for 15 minutes a day and catch a few rays, especially during winter months to increase vitamin D levels to elevate mood.
? Set the alarm on your computer to remind you to move around at least every hour. Check e-mails, phone home, eat a healthy snack or do some jumping-jacks. These mini breaks refresh your mind, stretch your muscles and allow you to keep going for a few more hours. Let the alarm be a reminder to check your posture too, laying your computer on your lap or bed can create neck and back aches.
? Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., most people find their energy dips. What should you do? Have a snack with 30 grams of carbs: lightly buttered popcorn, low sodium pretzels, and low fat granola bars are a quick way to elevate serotonin levels. Skip caffeine, it can disturb sleep if you drink it after noon.
? If you feel fatigued, drink water, often people who are dehydrated become tired. Put in a squeeze of lemon or orange juice that will energize.
? Get exercise daily, this stimulates dopamine levels to increase your mood and energy. Try to get outside for 20-40 minutes since interaction with Mother Nature accentuates the positive effect of workouts. Just remember to smell the roses! If walking or running isn’t your choice, try yoga and meditation. Yoga has been found to increase momentary clarity–good before an exam.
? I won’t have to do much convincing when I tell you to eat dark chocolate! It’s been found, in several studies, to improve mood, attention span and heart health. But make sure it’s at least 65% cocoa and don’t eat an entire bar. It’s best to nibble one or two segments per day. It does contain stimulants, so best not to eat it right before bed.
? Want a calm dorm room in which to study, relax and sleep? Color makes all the difference. Sky blue or pine green (colors found in nature) signal the mind to relax. Don’t use reds, oranges, or yellows–they’ll make it difficult to fall asleep because they trigger the mind into action. And if noise is an issue, ear plugs and “white noise” can drown out unwanted sounds.
? Light can be problematic to sleep. Turn off your computer and smartphone before turning in, bright light from electronics increases your brain activity. You’ll also save your batteries life and energy. Light streaming in from outside creates disturbance to a good nights sleep. Wear a sleep mask, or find black out type shades to cover the window.
? Get the zzz’s you need to be a fully functioning student by making an effort to get eight hours nightly. Going to bed and getting up at the same time keeps you on schedule. Studies showed you can’t replenish your “sleep bank” by just sleeping in on the weekends. See my blog,”Party Like a Rock Star?” for more information about sleep.
? Before you go to bed, sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, shower with a lavender oil soap, or put several drops of oil into a bath. Researchers found the plant has the ability to increase alpha waves, inducing sleep. You can buy lavender oil in most health food stores. Vanilla also is said to have the same effect. If you have access to the plants, sachets are easily made from dried Lavender flowers, place these near your bed.
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