Unsolicited Senior Advice: Healthy living tips for the unhealthy

Ryan Lynch’s weekly column tackles not messing up in college like he did. This week: improving your health small steps at a time.


Ryan Lynch. Photo courtesy of Mohammed F. Emran

Ryan Lynch, Business Manager

It’s midway through the semester and you still have a decent GPA. But no matter what you do, you can’t stop feeling sick.


Whether you work too much or party too often, your unhealthy habits are catching up to you and it’s time to make a change.


Here are some small ways to improve your health that won’t break the bank.


Put the drink down


Most college students like to go out and have a drink from time to time. The problem comes when people start spending their nights drinking instead of having a couple drinks here and there.


Consistent drinking can mess with your liver, your weight, and your sleep.


And even though you may pass out after a night of partying, alcohol can negatively impact your sleep. For one, it disrupts your REM sleep, leading to next-day drowsiness and poor concentration.


Waking up hungover, exhausted, and sick isn’t worth a night of partying. But if you insist on drinking into the wee hours, keep it to the weekends.


Get some sleep


If you’re in your mid 20s, you should be getting 7-9 hours of shut eye every night. Although, most students get 6 or less.


In my early college years, I’d either stay up until 3 a.m. or pull an all-nighter.


And while I may have finished that 6-page essay, I’d crash the next day and wake up wired and unable to fall asleep that night. (And the unhealthy cycle would continue.)


Avoid doing this for both your shortterm and longterm health. Even if you think you won’t face any negative side effects, your poor memory, inability to focus, and low energy levels tell a different story.


Make it a priority to go to bed at the same time every night. And if you absolutely *need* a nap, limit it to 20 minutes. Anything longer and you’ll slip into REM sleep and wake up hazy.


Put your phone down too when it’s time to call it a night. Odds are, you won’t remember what you read anyway and the screen’s “blue” light will keep you awake.


But if you can’t fall asleep without it, turn on the “warm” light setting so you don’t stay up longer than necessary.


Change your diet


If you’ve taken care of the first two habits, it’s probably time to take a hard look at your diet.


And while it’s difficult to eat healthy in college, it’s not impossible.


Believe it or not, the Caf does have healthy options for people, you just have to keep an eye on its daily menu and avoid the fried food.


Even if you don’t have much experience, try to cook your own food as often as possible. And if you’re in the underclassmen dorms, use the first floor kitchen.


When it comes to grocery shopping, look for what’s on sale and keep an eye out for coupons as well. Those dollars you save do add up over time.


Don’t eat out as much either. Buying Chipotle four times a week puts a strain on your wallet and your health more than you’d think.


Ryan Lynch is the business manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.