Take time for mental health

Sleeping and eating are both healthy habits that should be considered important for college students to do throughout their time in school.

However, not getting enough sleep and not eating seems to be more prominent for students and can sometimes be glamorized.

A study by the University of Georgia stated that college students get an average of six to 6.9 hours of sleep per night while the suggested amount is eight hours.

Lack of sleep can affect physical and mental health or can also lead to lack of awareness when driving or doing daily activities.

A Washington Post article by Caitlin Dewey, “The hidden crisis on college campuses: Many students don’t have enough to eat,” stated that 36 percent of students also don’t get enough to eat.

“They’re skipping meals, or eating smaller meals, because they don’t have enough money for food,” Dewey said.

Weight loss is one side effect that is shown in the article by a student, Caleb Torres, who lost seven pounds his freshman year because of not eating enough.

“A first-generation college student, barely covering tuition, Torres ran out of grocery money halfway through the year and began skipping meals as a result,” Dewey said.

UW Oshkosh fifth-year student Heather Tice said not getting enough sleep is something that seems to be common in college.

“I do feel like it’s kind of a competition,” Tice said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I only got four hours of sleep. Oh, well I only got three hours of sleep.’”

Tice said college is perceived as a place where students are going to have hectic schedules.

“I feel like it’s something that none of us are getting enough sleep or eating healthy enough,” Tice said. “We always heard, ‘In college you’re kind of a mess,’ and we’re experiencing it first-hand.”

UWO fifth-year student Ben Blum said not getting a lot of sleep and gaining the “freshman 15” contribute to a lack of sleep and poor eating habits.

“The idea that if you can stay up all night and still get good grades while not sleeping seems like an achievement in a way,” Blum said. “There’s that expectation that you’re going to gain those 15 pounds your freshman year.”

Blum said he personally sees the benefits of sleep but also recognizes the other side of it.

“I see the good side of sleep and how it helps get better grades, but there is that general idea that maybe it is seen as glamorous to get good grades while still not sleeping,” Blum said.

UWO sophomore Olivia Swanson said having busy schedules is one reason students don’t get enough sleep or don’t eat.

“A lot of people either skip breakfast or don’t eat other meals and I think that does take a toll on their health and their mindset,” Swanson said.

During midterms and finals, it seems to be more of a problem for students to maintain healthy habits as they push their limits to get a good grade.

Tice said projects especially lead to a lack of sleep and not eating because they take up a lot of a student’s schedule.

“You have to do something a lot more in-depth and you’re working with other people; you’re trying to find time to work together,” Tice said. “I think it’s a little more stressful because projects are so much more in-depth than just an exam or paper.”

Blum said procrastination for studying and working on assignments is a major part of the lack of sleep during midterms and finals.

“A lot of people are cramming for all of those exams,” Blum said. “People tend to pull all-nighters.”

Although this is a problem, there are a few things students can do to ensure they get enough sleep and food.

Blum said planning out meals each week and starting to study early can help students get the sleep and food they need.

“Don’t wait until the night before to study,” Blum said. “That way you can get good sleep each night and prioritize your things each night. If you plan out what you want to eat, it will help you have healthier options.”

Swanson said putting physical and mental health first is a good step to making sure students have healthy sleeping and eating habits.

“Obviously study and do your work, but try to prioritize your health and your mindset,” Swanson said. “Get as much sleep as you can. Try to eat breakfast or at least eat a little something here and there throughout the day.”

Tice said time management is important for students to practice to help maintain a healthy lifestyle while in school.

“I think that’s something we don’t really learn a lot of in high school and going into college we have to figure it out for ourselves,” Tice said. “Work smarter, not harder to make sure that you’re getting everything done to make sure you get adequate time to sleep.”

Although grades are important, it is essential for students to remember to get enough sleep, eat every day and focus on their health.