Fighting the energy lag: tips and tricks

October 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

While college can be ex hausting, there are healthy ways to stay energized, ac cording to Lisa Eberhart, University Dining’s regis tered dietician.

Some students favor caf feinated beverages such as drinking chocolate mochas, Earl Grey tea and energy drinks every morning.

“The benefits of caffeine are better concentration… but there is a point of dimin ishing return,” Eberhart said. “If you take in too much caf feine, it’s just going to make you jittery, unable to sleep, and you’ll start that whole cycle over again.”

Luckily for those stu dents who swear by en ergy drinks, some energy drinks actually do not contain more caf feine than a cup of coffee or tea, and Eberhart said caffeine in moderation is harmless. However, there are other healthy ways for students to stay awake.

“Some people can tolerate more caf feine than others can, but there is definitely a threshold,” Eberhart said.

Eberhart s a i d she would advise students to grab a healthy lunch instead of drinking lattes, which are filled with empty calories.

Eating smal l meal s throughout the day that are high in fruits, vegetables and lean meat do wonders for en ergy levels, Eberhart said.

However, nutrition is only part of the equation and does not play as great role in our energy levels as one might expect, Eberhart said.

Lack of sleep and increased stress are the real factors that make students feel exhausted, Eberhart said.

“There’s no replacement for actually getting enough sleep,” Eberhart said.

Ways to enhance sleep in clude getting up and going to bed at a regular time each day — without hitting the snooze button — and keeping elec tronics off at night, Eberhart said. She also said reducing noise with earplugs, having a comfortable mattress and a nightly routine that helps you unwind before bed, and limiting caffeine intake five hours before bed.

Kristin Kelly, a dietetic in tern, said one way to “wind down” is to take a hot shower or read a good book before going to bed. She also said that it also helps to prepare as much as you can the night before to avoid the morning rush and sneak in some extra minutes of sleep.

“Really look at what you are doing and what your sleep habits are,” Eberhart said. “If you find you chronically have to use an energy drink or coffee to get through your day then that’s a real sign you need to reexamine what your habits are.”

Another way to boost energy and improve sleep pat terns is exercise, because it helps to get rid of stress and releases endorphins, accord ing to Natalie Freeland, assis tant fitness direc tor for Uni versity Recre ation.

“I know that when I exercise I sleep bet ter,” Free land said. “I ’m more aware of my stress-management skills.”

The American College of Sports Medicine recom mends people should get 150 minutes of exercise per week. The exercise should be spread out evenly throughout the week at consistent times that work best for you, Free land said.

However, Freeland said she cautions against only examining one factor in re gards to increasing energy.

“If you exercise, but you eat poorly and don’t get any rest, it’s not going to benefit you,” Freeland said. “You want to live a healthy, active lifestyle versus just an active lifestyle.”

Managing schedules keeps you awake as well, Freeland said.

“Knowing that you can’t fit in everything in one day, what can you fit in and still be productive and a functioning member of society?” Freeland said. “If you’re tired, that’s your body’s way of saying, ‘Hey, you need to take a break.’”

Nicole Cinciulli, senior in fisheries and wild life biology, said she exercises a couple of times a week in addition to taking study breaks and hanging out with friends and has reaped in the benefits.

Other students stuck to tried-and-true methods as well.

Tanya Besaw, a junior in psychology, said she is a cof fee lover.

Natasha Marrero, junior in film, said music was the answer to her energy woes.

“I just do sleep; works for me,” Joe Doherty, senior in turf grass science, said.

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