Four ways to stay happy and healthy this spring

By Brooke Parziale

(Andrewbain/flickr)
(Andrewbain/flickr)

1.Get more sleep.

This tip is easier said than done. However, it is important to try to follow because sleep greatly affects alertness, memory and even your diet.

Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in craving for comfort foods such as bread and potato chips. According to webmd.com, ghrelin is the hormone that tells the body when to eat. More of it is produced when you do not get enough sleep. On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that tells your body when to stop eating, and less of it is produced when you do not get enough sleep.

The most important thing to remember when trying to get the best quality sleep is to create a consistent schedule so that you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This might be difficult at first, but soon your body will create a pattern and you will fall asleep with greater ease.

Another way to be strategic about how you sleep is to make sure that you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle. When there is a paper to write until the early morning, you cannot guarantee yourself the full seven to eight hours recommended.

However, using an app such as Sleepytime helps plan out when you should wake up according to the length of sleep cycles. According to the app, if you go to bed at 3:30 a.m. you should wake up at 8:00 a.m., experiencing three sleep cycles. This helps you avoid waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle, which leaves you feeling extremely groggy.

2. Eat fewer simple carbohydrates.

It’s hard to turn down cheesecake or chicken tenders at the dining commons. However, eating simple carbohydrates, which are broken down by the body quickly, can make you feel exhausted, even when your day is just beginning. To avoid feeling crummy during the day, try cutting these carbs out of your breakfast.
A filling and low-carb breakfast can consist of a vegetable and cheese omelet and a side of bacon, for example. For vegetarians and vegans, reach for something nutritious and filling like a bowl of oatmeal with cranberries and walnuts tossed in.

For lunch, try some grilled chicken, broccoli, carrots and hummus. Snack on fruit throughout the day.

Then, around dinner time, a piece of salmon and a salad with light dressing is a great option.

Remember, the food you eat throughout the day impacts your mood and work performance, so choose wisely.

3. Exercise for 30 minutes each day.

On top of all the walking students do around campus, an additional half an hour of exercise can make you happier and more alert. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people do well on exams.

Rather than walking to the Recreation Center, a dorm room can provide an easy place for anyone to exercise. When your roommate is gone – or better yet, have them join in – do sets of crunches, push-ups, jumping jacks and squats, alternating between each exercise.

If you prefer to work with a personal trainer but cannot afford it, pull up Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” on YouTube and let her voice guide you to that toned butt you’ve always dreamed of.

4. Have an orgasm.

After a hard day of going to classes, meetings, working and doing homework, why not treat yourself?

Grab a partner or that vibrator you just bought on Amazon with gift cards your mom gave you for Christmas and go for it. Flick the bean. Beat that meat. Take the phrase “you do you” as literally as possible.

You’ll instantly reduce your stress, extend your life and be able to fall asleep more quickly – helping out with tip number one.

Doing well academically does not only require intensive studying but also needs close care of sleep, diet and exercise. Together, these three factors can either make or break finals week for students.

Creating a sleep pattern based on sleep cycles, lessening carbohydrate consumption, exercising for an extra 30 minutes each day and finding your own way to relax will leave anyone feeling refreshed and ready to take on a day’s challenges.

Employing these methods, along with thorough studying, will ensure great grades on final projects, papers and exams and will still leave you with some sanity.

Brooke Parziale can be reached at [email protected]