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Health happens 24/7. Be in control of yours! Understand the factors that impact your health and make them a priority through energy management. This means optimizing your sleep, nutrition and exercise habits so you can function at your best both night and day.

We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty, and breathe because, well, we need air! So why don’t we sleep when we’re tired? Sleep, much like these other regulated processes, plays a critical role in our health. It is incredibly restorative to the body, as it provides an extended opportunity for repair on a cellular level. Muscle growth, tissue repair and protein synthesis all occur during sleep. According to one study, just one week of getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night showed changes to more than 700 genes, many of which were linked to our immune and stress responses. Listen to this TED talk for more on Why We Need Sleep.

The recommended hours of sleep for college students is between 7 to 9 hours each night. While this isn’t always realistic, missing hours can quickly accumulate into what is called sleep debt. An hour here or there can quickly add up to many sleepless nights. Did you know that for every hour of lost sleep, your brain is operating as if you had that many drinks?

Sleep deficiency can lead to:       
  • A weakened immune system
  • higher levels of stress
  • Drowsy driving
  • A weakened immune system
  • Higher levels of stress
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Weight gain
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired memory
  • Loss of brain tissue
    Long-term sleep deprivation is also linked to various cancers, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Try tacking on an extra hour or two each night to begin ‘paying back’ these hours. As you gradually erase your sleep debt, your body will begin to adjust to a sleep pattern that is right for you. In the meantime, try out some of the smart sleep strategies below! 

    Want a Better Night’s Sleep?
    • Shoot for a consistent bedtime and wake-up time 
    • Practice a bedtime ritual (Ex. Hot shower, soothing music, reading)
    • Design a sleep environment that works for you
    • Eliminate non-sleep activities in bed (Ex. Homework, studying)
    • Exercise during the day
    • Eat a bedtime snack, but avoid heavy meals
    • Limit evening alcohol, caffeine and nicotine consumption
    • Avoid lengthy day-time napping
    Power Napping

    Power napping- the exception to the rule! Power napping is a great way to catch up on sleep debt and give your body a quick reboot. Avoid eating just before the nap, and be sure to rest in a quiet, dimly lit environment. These short, mid-day naps max out at about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to set an alarm!  

    Naps have been shown to:
    • Decrease stress
    • Increase productivity and alertness 
    • Improve memory
    • Lead to a better night’s rest

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    Swap Your Pop

    Water-it’s two thirds of your body, so drink up! Thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger. Drinking water over soda, energy drinks and other sugary beverages is also a better alternative for your body. While these drinks are alright in moderation, they are linked to a variety of adverse effects and are really only dehydrating you.

    Benefits of H2O include
    • Increased energy
    • Improved complexion
    • Digestive regularity 
    • Natural headache relief 
    • Cramping and sprain prevention 
    • Mood boost
    • Usually free! 
    Fuel Your Body

    Proper nutrition is key to keeping your body functioning at its best. While there is no one diet that will work for everyone, our bodies all require the same vitamins and minerals to feel well. How you choose to get them in is ultimately up to you. Click here for helpful websites related to mindful eating and nutrition tips geared toward college students. You can also meet with a wellness coach at Graham Health Center for free nutrition information. You can find these links under the headers Eat Well and Wellness Coaching.

    Be Active

    Physical activity can add years to your life and greatly improve your overall health. Exercise causes our brains to release serotonin and dopamine, as well as other endorphins. These chemicals communicate with the nerve cells of our body and can serve as powerful mood boosters. Our muscles are also able to release tension and strain through exercise. It doesn’t take hitting the gym five days a week to reap these benefits, either- it can be as simple as a 15 minute walk around the block or a game of pickup basketball. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity. Click here for links on developing a plan and being active at any size. See the header Play Well.

    Long Term Benefits of Regular Activity
    • Builds brain power and neuron connections
    • Strengthens heart and lungs
    • Protects from heart disease and stroke
    • Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers
    • Higher energy levels
    • Improved mood
    • Lower levels of cortisol stress hormone
    • Increased life expectancy 
    For information about getting active on campus, visit the Oakland University Recreation Center.

    The Takeaway

    Keep your body hydrated and well nourished. Get outside and do an activity you enjoy! At the end of the day, be sure to get a restful night’s sleep. The best way to live an active, healthy lifestyle is through maintaining a balance in these areas.

    On-Campus Resources

    2200 N. Squirrel Road
    Rochester, MI 48309-4401 
    (248) 370-2341

    Common services include
    • Office Appointments
    • Physicals 
    • Immunizations
    • Laboratory Testing 
    • Sexual Health
    • Wellness Coaching

    Graham Health Center, East Wing
    2200 N. Squirrel Road
    Rochester, MI 48309-4401 
    (248) 370-3465

    Services include
    • Personal Counseling
    • Psychological and Psychoeducational Testing
    • Career Testing and Counseling
    • Substance Abuse Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention
    • Consultation and Outreach
    • Crisis Intervention  

    2200 N. Squirrel Road
    Rochester, MI 48309-4401 
    (248) 370-4REC (4732)

    Membership is free for all currently enrolled Oakland University Students. Facilities and services include
    • Aquatic Center
    • Cardio and Strength Equipment
    • TRX Suspension Training System
    • 3 Court Gym
    • Outdoor Complex
    • Group Exercise
    • Intramural Sports
    • Personal Training
    • Massage Therapy
    • Equipment Rental
    • CPR and First Aid Training

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