Transitioning to college life can be tough and may contribute to loss of sleep and fatigue. Sleep debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. It is what leads to mental and physical fatigue.There are a lot of choices to make when you enter post-secondary education. Choices that might help you balance your demand include whether to work, how many classes to take, and how long study time should be. There are two main reasons for lack of college student sleep:
Late night studying
“Social” commitments and late night partying
You can’t give up either of the above on a consistent basis. But your body needs sleep on a consistent basis, and this conflicts with the trappings of a successful and fun college life. Here are some tips and information that can help you with sleeping as a College student.
Did you know that everyone has their own unique sleep needs? You should be able to go to sleep at the same time, get up at the same time and feel rested during the day. Find out how much sleep you need by trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night for a week, see how you feel and adjust from there. No need for naps. It may take a week to adjust, being sleep deprived students that you are, but you can do it. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation hitting SNOOZE does not help. It actually makes you more tired throughout the day. The snooze button is one of life’s little luxuries. At best, it’s a psychological crutch. At worst, it’s throwing off your brain chemistry for the day. As well, it’s certainly not helping you get any real sleep; you do not make it back to REM sleep that helps you feel rested. Set your alarm for when you need to get up, get up and give yourself time to get ready without being rushed!
Are you often feeling “run down” Did you know?
Being sleep deprived impacts the immune system. Our ability to fight off infections becomes more difficult. This puts us at risk during cold and flu season, which is now!
The heart and lung function is adversely affected by lack of sleep and is associated with worsening chronic lung and heart disease and high blood pressure.
A common myth: Watching TV helps you sleep. This is untrue as TV is stimulating and can interfere with falling asleep.
Tips for sleep:
Turn off your cell phone. Pick a time, like after 10pm to turn off your phone so its not a distraction
Set yourself clear boundaries. Keep a regular sleep wake cycle, tell yourself you will only stay out so long, and stick to it.
Have a study buddy. You can keep each other on tract and on time.
Exercise. Daily activity can help you get a deeper more restful sleep during the night. Experts generally recommend exercising at least 2-3 hours before bed. However, everyone is different, so try to fit exercise into your schedule where you can. For tips on exercise see our previous blog.
Put your computer to sleep. Bright screen savers can be distracting and keep you from sleep.
If your fatigue does not improve with consistent restful sleep, seek medical advice as you could have a medical condition resulting in your fatigue. For depression, sleep apnea, anemia or diabetes to name a few.
Researchers believe lack of sleep may contribute to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in College students. For more information on mental health and sleep see Mental Health Canada.
Services at Red River College such as counselling, tutoring and academic support check out the RRC student services website click here. These services can help relieve some of the burdens causing you to miss out on sleep.
Visit us next week for info on stress and tips for dealing with it.
From Health Services U of M Practicum Nursing Students
Physical activity improves health and wellbeing. According to Health Canada it can reduce stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, increase energy levels, as well as help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals get at least two and a half hours of exercise a week, keeping an emphasis on getting moderate to vigorous physical activity broken down into sessions of ten minutes or more. As students we know the challenges of incorporating exercise into a busy schedule. Between the classes, studying, travel time, work, families and other commitments it often seems like there is not enough hours in the day. The idea of healthy living often falls to the wayside.According to a study done by McMaster University, regular exercise tends to steeply decline among youth as they move to university or college. Researchers found a 24% decrease in the 12 years from adolescence to early adulthood, with the steepest decline occurring during the transition to higher education. That is not good for young adults who need all their energy for school and home life!
Keeping physically active is key to a healthy lifestyle but remember it is best to check with your doctor before starting a new routine. If you have any chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease it is important to consult a physician before starting. We have found some tips on how to incorporate exercise into your daily life, all of which we have tried and found have worked for us.
When waiting for a bus, a ride to work or to start school every morning, try exercising.
It gets your blood flowing and makes you feel more awake. Simple exercises such as calf raises are easy.
If you want to increase the intensity of your workouts you can try doing squats or lunges. Check out the American Council on Exercise for detailed instruction on how to do these properly.
Take more trips.
If you have to bring the two garbage cans to the road make two trips to the curb instead of carrying both cans at the same time.
You can park farther away from the store, which will result in more walking to and fro.
Use apps to help you workout. Yes there is an app for that!
Apps by Runtastic help you stick to a workout routine and they’re FREE. Some keep track of how many sit-ups or squats you do while another can track how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned.
If you can’t find time to fit a workout in, track your daily activity is by using the Runtastic pedometer. This app tracks how many steps you walked as well as how many calories you’ve burned in a day.
When you’re watching television, get up and move during a commercial break.
During a commercial break get up and do 20 jumping jacks, sit-ups or lunges.
By doing so you are getting on average 15 minutes of exercise when watching an hour-long television show.
Sneak in workout.
If you have an hour lunch break take the first 30 minutes to eat and the next 30 minutes to walk around campus or do three flights of stairs. This will boost your energy for the rest of the day.
Utilize various resources within the RRC community. To learn about various facilities on both the Notre Dame and Exchange district campuses visit here. RRC Athletics and Recreation Services offers a variety of fitness classes, personal training and fitness assessments. For more information on any of these programs call (204)-632-3030.
Acknowledge that you are awesome for exercising!
Any sort of exercise, regardless of the intensity or duration, benefits your heart, muscles, mind, and overall healthfulness. Anything you can squeeze into your day is great. Aim to never leave a workout thinking anything other than, “I’m super proud of myself for what I did right there—I’m the best”
Stay tuned next week, as we will be discussing the importance of sleep and giving tips on how you can feel more energized throughout the day. We appreciate any feedback or comments about what we have discussed or what you would like us to talk about.
Health Services EDC Practicum Nursing Students Alexis and Candice
As students it is often hard to stay healthy while going to class, cooking and cleaning, and finding time to exercise. As important as studying is, it is even more important to remember that your health affects your marks and your potential as a RRC student.
This blog series will run over the next five weeks and will consist of tips on how to eat right, access the right health services for you, and preserve your mental health and wellbeing.
For example, it is important to start your school day right by eating a healthy breakfast. Canada’s Food Guide recommends a variety of healthy servings of protein or meat, grain products, fruit, and milk products to start your day off right. As students it is sometimes hard to plan a healthy diet on a student budget, but it is possible! Visit here for the Health Canada website for great healthy and easy meal ideas!
Individuals often find it hard to incorporate the recommended 60 minutes of activity into a day full of studying and classes. Did you know that an easy and productive way to get your 60 minutes of daily exercise is to try is studying while walking on a treadmill? If you don’t have a treadmill, you could get your 60 minutes of exercise by breaking it up into short 10 minute intervals. Do this by going for a walk or climbing a few flights of stairs. For more great tips and tricks for busy students on the go, and for those who hope to keep up a healthy lifestyle check back next week!
Health Services Clinical Nursing Students Alexis and Candice
Christine Crowe joined RRC from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she served as Dean, Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement. Christine now leads RRC’s Schools of Indigenous Education, International Education and Continuing Education, while also overseeing the College’s regional campuses, Language Training Centre and community outreach (full bio here).
Mike Krywy (Chair of the Wellness Committee) went for a leisurely walk with Christine to get her thoughts about wellness.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about Wellness. To start with, who are some of the people in your life that you look up to as Wellness role models?
My mom was a dancer, choreographer and a teacher who danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. One of my most powerful memories was watching her sit on the floor listening to music, and picking something for her next routine. She could sit on the floor for hours, but you could tell that she wasn’t in the room — she was creating that piece of choreography. Afterwards, I’d watch the choreography come to life during the practices with her dancers. I was her pianist for a while, and it was fantastic observing her in the creative process and seeing the beauty that came from it.
My mom suffered from depression through much of her life, and she used her creativity to bring herself out of her depression and back to the light. A year after she retired, she passed away. During that time I think she grieved because so much of her life was tied to that creation, and she didn’t know what to do when she was no longer creating. From her life I learned there is power of doing what you love, and how those actions can sustain and feed you.
I know you have a couple of young children. Are they also wellness role models for you?
They are amazing role models for me.
First of all, I’ve learned from them that “not knowing” is okay. “Not knowing” is a place of curiosity and a source of great adventure. It is not something to hide or be afraid of. It speaks to humility. As an administrator, I’m someone who people often come to looking for answers. And that’s a scary place to be sometimes. However, if you’re able to admit that you don’t know something but are willing to explore finding an answer together, you’re able to move forward.
The other thing is “Being present”. I have learned a great deal from putting down my iPad and playing with my kids. The other day my kids were jumping on the trampoline and said, “Mom, come join us.” I hesitated. For one thing, I am terrified about jumping on the trampoline, as I haven’t done it for years. So I told them, “I just need a minute — can’t you do something on your own?” Then I stopped and said to myself, “Wait a minute, they want to do something with me. They want to play with me.” So I went and jumped on the trampoline…and it was terrifying! But it was also very fun.
I’ve had many of the same experiences with my own children, such as when they ask me to go for a swim and I make excuses about the water being too cold. Once I drop the excuses and jump in with them, I never regret it. Is there anything else that your children taught you? Read More →
Sixty percent of all skateboard injuries happen to children under 15 years old and are predictable and preventable. Make sure your child has a good helmet and all the other safety equipment. After watching the incredible display by Tony Hawk at Polo Park and the great example they showed in wearing all their safety gear, it is important to reinforce safety habits. The height of the ramp was breathtaking. After it was over and as I was picking up my son, I could not help but notice the number of skateboarders trying out their skills. Some had safety gear, some did not. We can use professionals’ habits of safety to reinforce that it is the right thing to do. In our communities do we ask skate parks to post signs that encourage wearing of safety gear?
Did you know we have a fantastic kids safety resource at our fingertips? A number of Canadian child safety groups got together and now you can connect to them under Parachute!
They have free downloads on many topics from a quick reference on how to spot a concussion in sports to home and recreational (don’t forget about summer water safety!) activities for kids and their parents.
There is a volunteer group called ThinkFirst you should check out. Chapters are across Canada and they support child safety and could likely use some more volunteers to spread the word about child safety.
It’s official, there is now an RRC team registered for the Color Me Radrun/walk on July 21! What is Color Me Rad? The website has a very “colorful” way to describe what it is….basically you run/walk 5km and throughout are attacked with color bombs. Really for no good reason, other than it’s silly and fun!
Want to get into shape? Want to make a difference? How you approach the later may actually help you to achieve both.
As raising money for charity is becoming increasingly difficult, taking on extreme challenges for charity can both capture potential donors’ attention and drive your motivation to work out like never before. After all, those adrenaline fueled stunts and epic, unforgettable, adventures do demand a certain level of endurance and physical prowess, non?
What can better capture the imagination than a six day multi-terrain race across the great, stony Gobi desert in China? Or perhaps eleven days whitewater rafting down the Zambezi into the depths of Victoria Falls, wrestling with the biggest commercial white water rapids in the world? Read More →
To kick off College Days, the Wellness Committee is hosting a series of events to eat, meet and greet, and move your feet. If you’re an RRC staff member, you can register for all the Wellness events here.
Come out for a free Wellness Breakfast
On the morning of May 30th staff are invited for a free Wellness Breakfast at the Roblin Centre and the Notre Dame Campus (Voyageur Cafeteria) beginning at 8:00 am and going till 9:30. The buffet breakfast includes a yogurt parfait bar, oatmeal, turkey bacon, back bacon, eggs, toast and beverages. Wellness Committee members and other helpers will be on hand to take pledges and answer any questions you may have. Please register for the breakfast using the link above.
Help support staff dependents to study at RRC
If you’re participating in the Wellness Walk-a-thon or the Rebel Run, you can drop off your pledge form for the Bursary for Dependents of RRC Employees at the breakfast or the over the lunch hour. If you do not wish to gather pledges we encourage a donation of $10 towards the award. The bursary was started back in 2009 from an endowment fund, which the Walk-a-thon has helped grow to over $20K. For more information about this award and/or to get an application form, head to the RRC website and look under General Awards.
To date, the award has been given to eight recipients including Taylor Schapf (Business Administration, 2012) daughter of instructor Glenn Schapf. Taylor shared these words with us:
It is outstanding how Red River College strives to open doors for their students to guarantee their education is being put to use in the real working world. When deciding where to pursue my post-secondary education, it was evident that Red River College was the perfect match for me. I knew that I wanted to receive practical training within a closely-knit student/instructor environment. I also knew that I wanted to receive my diploma in only two years and immediately start getting on-the-job experience after graduating. I can truly say that Red River College has exceeded my expectations and is preparing me for a successful career in the business industry. In receiving the RRC Dependents’ Award, I feel motivated to continue learning and enhance my skills as a future businesswoman.