College students face numerous health concerns. Alongside academic responsibilities, financial concerns, living adjustments and peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol, they may experience high stress levels, poor diet choices, lack of sleep and peer pressure to use substances like nicotine or alcohol.
Due to proximity, they may also be exposed to new public health risks. Adherence to basic public health principles like physical distancing, hand washing and vaccinations is crucial in keeping people healthy.
Get plenty of sleep.
College student life can be extremely busy and sleep can sometimes take the backseat due to irregular schedules, poor mattresses or noise from roommates. To help make things easier for sleep, here is a sleep guide specifically for students in higher education institutions.
Sleep can have numerous advantages. Not only will prioritizing it improve mental health and mood, but sufficient rest strengthens immune systems thereby protecting against illness.
Pace-Schott recommends prioritizing sleep by setting regular bedtime and waketime schedules, limiting caffeine consumption close to bedtime and forgoing exercise at the end of each day prior to sleeping. Furthermore, living with others? Make a schedule to ensure everyone in your residence group gets sufficient rest; the result will be healthier, more productive college experience with no late-night study sessions! Sleep deprivation has symptoms which are difficult to identify; from brain fog to mood swings; prolonged deprivation increases illness risks significantly!
College can be an especially difficult time for those struggling with eating disorders, as restrictive and unhealthy diets may combine with feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem. Students should aim to eat healthily by limiting fast food consumption and alcohol use.
College students should aim to eat two to three cups of veggies and two cups of fruit daily, including salad with two apples as an easy midday meal or adding leafy greens to sandwiches or wraps. Many campus dining facilities feature salad bars or veggie stations that make healthy eating simple for students.
Students attending college often have special dietary restrictions, such as avoiding gluten or following a vegan diet. Colleges must cater to these restrictions by providing diverse and accessible menus – for instance, adding Meatless Mondays or Beefless Tuesdays may help students introduce more plant-based proteins into their diets – these foods slow-metabolize, meaning less spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin that could eventually lead to diabetes or insulin resistance.
College students often enjoy a newfound freedom and independence. Unfortunately, they also tend to experience increased stress levels, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep; often leading to illnesses like allergies, stomach flu, influenza, mono, athlete’s foot or human papilloma virus (HPV).
After studying all day, fitting exercise into your schedule may seem impossible; but making it a priority for your health should not be neglected. Commit to doing physical activity first thing in the morning as this will leave you feeling more refreshed throughout your day.
Take time out of each day to walk around campus or play sports with friends – you could use fitness devices, like pedometers or bike computers, to track your progress – just remember to wear appropriate safety equipment! If stress prevents you from exercising, speak to a counselor about alternative means to manage stress and anxiety without medication.
College students are at greater risk for various health conditions, including obesity, mental illness and addictions. Furthermore, their chronic disease risks increase significantly; such illnesses include cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Diet should include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as lean proteins. Sugary beverages and fatty foods should be limited. Many colleges employ nutrition experts who work alongside food service staff to offer more healthful options that are more easily accessible for students.
Keep moving regularly to maintain strong bones and muscles. Discover a fitness activity you enjoy – such as walking, playing a sport or taking an enjoyable bike ride around campus – that works best for you.
Practice safe sexual behavior by using birth control and knowing how to access free STD screenings at college health centers. Many schools also offer informational classes and vaccines against HPV (the leading cause of cervical cancer). Maintain communication with friends and family to reduce loneliness or homesickness; seek counseling if you feel down.