Health Matters Newsletter

Health Center
LoGrasso Hall
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3131 or
(716) 673-3132
(716) 673-4722 (fax)

Announcements:

"Wellness Wednesday's" This is a speaker series free and open to all students, sponsored by the Counseling Center which runs each Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.  


Stress Management 101

As the school year comes to a close, and the crunch is on, there is anxiety and frustration in trying to get everything done.  Tests, papers, presentations, recitals and final exams can put our minds and bodies to the test.  Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to.  When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger.  It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy.  It is important to take care of yourself.  Here are some things that you can do:

1) Set priorities.  Use a daytimer to schedule all of your commitments.  Make a daily "to do" list. 

2) Get some sleep.  "All nighters" are not the answer.  The lack of sleep slows down your thought process hindering your ability to react quickly.

3) Avoid the use of stimulants such as caffeine, soda, or supplements.  If taken in excessive amount, this can cause more anxiety, hyperactivity, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, and of course the inability to sleep.

4) Eat a well balanced diet.  Food fuels both your mind and your body with energy to tackle stress.  

5) Get enough sleep.  An average of 7 - 8 hours of sleep nightly.

6) Take a break.  Exercise, take a walk, talk with a friend, watch some TV.  These diversions can help to relieve some stress, and make you more focused when you return to your work.

7) Avoid alcohol.  Alcohol might relax you temporarily, but is also slows down the thought process and you can become distracted.

 

Manage your time

1) Prioritize. As noted above, use a daytimer to schedule all of your commitments and social events.

2) Make a daily "to do" list.

3) Be selective.  You can't do everything.  Quality is more important then quantity

4) Learn to take power naps.  A 20 minute nap can reenergize you for hours

5) Budget you time.  Study while on the bus, review between classes, read while eating.

6) Don't be overcommitted.  Learn to say "no:

7) Set aside some time to have fun.

8) Know your peak energy times and prioritize your activities when you know your energy is at its highest.

9) Focus on one thing at a time.

 

Seven Secrets For Sound Sleep

1) Make sleep a priority.  Spend at least eight hours in bed each night to determine how much sleep you really need.  Most people will sleep eight hours.

2) Go to bed and wake up at the same hour (even on weekends).  This keeps your internal clock on schedule.

3) Develop sleep cues.  Make your bedroom dark and quiet, try relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or visualization.

4) Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol or exercise close to bedtime.

5) When snacking at night, try foods rich in tryptophan (an amino acid that aids in sleep).  This is found in dairy products, bananas, and turkey.

6) Nap for twenty minutes or less during the day.  This will refresh you as much as an hour of sleep.

7) Be wary of sleeping pills.  If you must use them, try for a low dose pill that works for a short period to avoid drowsiness the next day.

 

How much sleep do you need??

NASA's Fatigue Countermeasure program developed the dangers of sleep deprivation which indicates the less sleep you get, the greater the health risk.

8 hours -- Refreshed mood, alert, peak physical performance

7 hours -- Moody, occasional trouble concentrating, reduced short-term memory, some drowsiness while driving

6 hours -- Testy, irritable, poor decision-making, weight gain, reduced immunity, impaired motor skills

5 hours-- Depressed mood, 50% slower reaction time, stressed out, great chance of heart and stomach ailments, physical perfomrance similar to someone legally drunk

4 hours-- Extremely irritable, exhaustion, higher risk for ulcers, diabetes, heart attacks and obesity, dangerous to self and others on the job and while driving

It's Crunch Time - April 2008

How to stay healthy during crunch time.

As you return from Spring Break refreshed, well rested,  and hopefully, full of energy, it is now time to look forward to the last six weeks of school, final exams, and for some, graduation, and the beginning of  adult lives.   The remaining two newsletters for the Spring  semester will be dedicated toward a healthy lifestyle.  We will attempt to provide some insight on the importance of good nutrition, adequate sleep, and proper stress management to not only help you get through the remainder of the school year and final exams, but also to help you lay some ground work for a healthy future for many years to come.

Nutrition 101

Eating is primitive, like sleeping or going to the bathroom.  When food sources are abundant, our brains are trained to eat as much as our body needs to function, survive, and reproduce.   Eating can also be a source of comfort and pleasure.  For some, food is a way to relieve the stress of our day to day lives.  Balanced nutrition is essential to maintaining overall good health, but it also can affect your ability to cope with stress.   Let's face it: Food is good!  Eating is fun!  It's no wonder we find it hard to deprive ourselves of this most basic and nurturing act.    It all begins with balance..... 

The Food Groups

The best way to jump start your metabolic function is to eat well, regularly and often.  Food is the fuel needed to keep your body and brain energized.   Try to eat a variety of foods and don't skip meals. Including all food groups in your daily eating is important because it helps to full your brain as well as your body.  In times of stress, maintaining a well balanced diet becomes even more important. 

Grains.  Grains provide your brain and muscles with energy and are a good source of B-vitamins and iron.   Include grains like rice, potatoes, pasta and whole grain bread at every meal.

Fruits and Vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables help to boost your immune system, and are good for your eyes, hair and blood .  They are a good source of vitamins A and C, minerals and fiber.  A healthy diet should include 5 - 7 servings each day, of fruits and vegetables like apples, broccoli, pear, carrots, squash.

Milk and Dairy.  Dairy products help to maintain strong bones and teeth.  They are a good source of calcium and protein. Try to aim for a three servings of low fat dairy foods like 8 oz milk, 1 oz cheese, 1 cup of yogurt, cottage cheese , pudding or frozen yogurt each day.

Meat and Protein.  Protein helps to build muscles, fight infection, and heal wounds.   Try eating beef,chicken, peanut butter, fish tofu or eggs at two meals daily.

Fats and Oils.  Fats keep hair and skin soft while giving you a feeling of fullness.  Include a little fat like salad dressing, olive oil, guacamole, nuts or seeds at each meal. 

Dining Hall Dilemmas

While people are quick to pin the blame on the dining hall for that additional weight gain while attending college, most college dining halls offer a wide variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. However, these healthy foods might not be the foods that college students choose for their tray.  Many opt for the fried foods or the desserts instead.  Here are some other suggestions to make healthier choices while dining.

Instead of

Try

Fried foods

Grilled or baked foods

 

Refined grains (like white bread or white rice)

 

Whole grains (like whole wheat bread and brown rice)

Whole milk

Low fat milk

 

French fries

Baked potato, veggies

 

Sweetened drinks

 

Water or seltzer

Sweetened desserts (like cookies, cake or ice cream)

 

Fruit

  

Portion Control

As we look at the foods that we eat, we should also look at the amount .  Portion size is very important when eating a nutritious, well balanced meal.  Too often, students fill their plates with what looks good .  Once they sit down at their tables, they may find that they eat everything on their overloaded plates even if they are not hungry.  You do not need to diet to avoid such dining hall pitfalls.  Instead, you should concentrate on food portions.  A healthy plate starts with putting all of your food on one plate, as opposed to using a separate salad and dessert plate.  Then, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, leaving the remaining half for you entree and dessert.

Another tool that you can use for great portion control is right at hand -- your own hand.....

Your thumb = 1 oz
Your palm = 3-4 oz
Your closed fist = 1 cup
Your thumb tip = 1 tsp
A handful = 1 - 2 oz of snack food, like nuts

  

Dorm Room Remedies

Irregular schedules, cramming for exams, or just trying to get those last few pages of a paper completed, can be stressful, as well as time consuming.  If you are unable to get to the dining hall for a meal, you might resort to the vending machine as a quick dinner .  An even better option would be to keep your room stocked with healthy snacks you can grab when you are hungry. This not only provides your body with the energy that it needs to get the tasks at hand completed, but also prevents unnecessary lethargy from the sugar enriched, complex carbohydrates found in the vending machine.  Here are some examples of things that you can keep in your dorm.

Granola bars, Energy or protein bars, Popcorn (try the new mini-microwave bag), Animal crackers, Peanut butter, Crackers, pita bread, Cereal, Oatmeal (packets), Trail mix, Nuts, Tuna fish, Fresh or canned fruit, Soup, Pudding

If you have a fridge.

String cheese, Yogurt cups and smoothies, Baby carrots, Hummus, Water, flavored seltzer waters or low fat milk

Healthy Eating Tips

1) Eat a good breakfast every morning.  Breakfast kick starts your metabolism.  It provides your brain and your body with the energy needed to feel good, cope with stress , and perform better in the classroom and on the athletic field.

2) Eat three meals a day and two or more snacks. Eating every two to three hours is a good idea if you are under stress.  This will help to prevent your body from getting hungry leaving you even more stressed and more apt to binge.

3) Eat fruits and vegetables.  Foods high in potassium, such as orange juice, squash, potatoes, apricots, limes, banana, avocados, tomatoes, and peaches are low in calorie and high in energy.  They can be used in a meal or as a snack to help keep your body going.

4) Eat foods that are high in calcium, such as yogurt, cheese, and tofu.  These foods will build up stores of calcium in your body and prevent osteoporosis in later life. 

5)  Eat protein at every meal. Protein helps build muscles, fight infection, and heal wounds.

6) Include healthy fats in your diet, particularly foods rich in omega-3's .  Avoid trans fats.

7) Completely avoid soft drinks and juices with high fructose corn syrup. Limit use of artificial sweeteners. These drinks can give you instant energy, but the fall out is that the energy is short lived, leaving you feeling lethargic and lazy shortly after.

8) Drink lots of water.  Water is a very important nutrient that is often forgotten.  Your body needs at least eight glasses of water each day, and if you exercise, or play sports, you may need more.

9) Limit sugar, sweets and junk food from your diet. These foods, available in most vending machines, offer minimal nutritional value and cause an immediate "high" followed by a prolonged "low".

10) Limit alcohol.  Alcohol depletes your body's B vitamins and can disrupt sleep and impair judgment or clarity of thought.

11) Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate).  Caffeine causes nervousness and inhibits sleep if too much is ingested.

12) Take a daily multi-vitamin.  A daily multivitamin can minimize the physical damage caused by stress. 

13) Sleep deprivation can also contribute to snacking and poor food choices.  When you are tired, your body releases hormones that affect your metabolism and make  you crave empty calories like cookies and chips.  So another healthy-eating strategy is making sure that you get the eight to ten hours of sleep a night that you need.  

 Next month's newsletter will concentrate on "Sleep deprivation and College Students".


Page modified 9/24/08