Overstressed and underslept

Besides a host of other symptoms, sleep deprivation can adversely affect your immune system. With national and international headlines of emerging flu strains, a coronavirus pandemic, and elections on the horizon, we are going to need all the immune strength we can muster. With an emphasis on sleep, here’s a ultra-quick list of tips to help ward off coughs and chills, piercing sore throats and vexing runny noses. 

Sleep. Juggling 18 credit hours, 3 jobs, 4 clubs, and physical activity at the sacrifice of sleep means a failure of time management. Multiple factors are at play here but to name a couple: an inability to say ‘no’ or refusing the help of others or fear of asking in the first place. If time is of the essence, cultivate higher quality sleep by setting your phone to “night shift,” keeping work out of bed, investing in an essential oil diffuser, or resorting to a melatonin supplement (just be wary if you have an 8am to catch). 

Call in sick. Your professors and fellow classmates will be glad you did. Check your syllabi, most professors have a built-in excused absence policy which can be applied to sick days. If not, send a quick (grammatically-correct) email explaining the situation. 

Cover your cough. A basic tip, but one we all need to follow through with (preferably with a tissue). 

Visit the health center. Free-of-charge services include on-site evaluation, testing, and treatment of common illnesses and conditions, allergy shots, certain prescription medications, and flu shots. 

Wash your hands. Whether its soap and water or a quarter-size dose of alcohol-based sanitizer, we all need to wash our hands. Nearly eighty-percent of illness causing germs are spread by your hands.

Community is key. I can personally take serious precautions during the cold and flu season but this fortress of protection can easily be penetrated by passersby with not-so-pleasant coughs. Let’s all do our part to keep our diverse community healthy.  

Sleep is many students’ achilles heel. But often rather than staying up late into the night to complete homework or study, we have created a deleterious habit of late night “me time.” We have insensibly convinced ourselves that we can continue this cycle blissfully ignorant of the physical and mental effects. Well, I’m feeling them and it seems other students are too (though maybe for other reasons). We cannot count on the weekend to recharge, as many continually tell themselves, for when the weekend comes we consistently find ourselves compelled to tend to other obligations. A little over a month into the new year and now I feel ready to commit to a resolution. That is, setting limits to my involvement, shifting “me time” out of the dark, and therefore waking most mornings having slept at least eight hours. We could almost all use more zzzs. If we set aside the time, I have a feeling we will witness a less stressed and overall healthier Mines community.  

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