Monday, August 18, 2014

Catch Some ZZZZZ's

First of all, I have missed you all! (Well, that's assuming I have some readers out there...) I have been so bummed that it hasn't been very convenient for me to follow my blogging schedule the past couple weeks. Between transporting my Taiwan friends from point A to point B and moving to Illinois for graduate school, I have not had much spare time to devote to writing. However, now that I am slowly settling into a routine, I should be on here more regularly. Knock on wood.

Before I talk about my health-related topic, I just need to share a couple pictures of my new dietetics BFF's (we are missing a couple in these pictures). I don't think I could have wound up with a better group of interns. Go Illinois State Dietetics! 
My roomie, Abby and I

For today's Monday topic, I decided at the last minute to discuss the importance of sleep. In my Research Methods class earlier this evening, we were asked to share any research experience we have had in the past. It just so happens that I worked on research regarding sleep duration and BMI in my undergraduate program. As I was sitting in class (daydreaming a little...oops), I realized I've never discussed the importance of sleep. So here goes nothing!

How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on a person's age category. Whereas teens need 9-10 hours of sleep, adults only need 7-8 hours each night.1

Wake Up! And realize the Negative effects of insufficient sleep
Insufficient sleep, or poor quality sleep, can affect people in a wide array of ways. While some people are able to function well without obtaining the optimal amount of sleep, others tend to need more than the recommended amounts. With that said, there are some general negative findings associated with lack of sleep. Studies have shown that sleep insufficiency has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, medical and occupational errors, and industrial disasters.2  It's not rocket science. Most of us are able to recognize, within our own lives, how much better we are able to perform when we are well-rested. 

In addition to performance, there are a number of health concerns. People who do not receive sufficient sleep are more likely to have hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression, and cancer.2 

Tips on Catching more Zzzz's
The National Sleep Foundation has devised a list of recommendations for promoting more healthful sleep habits. Here are a few:3
  • Go to bed each night at the same time and wake-up at the same time, as well
  • Be aware of your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom between 60-67 degrees, limit noise, and light.
  • Exercise each day. 
  • Adopt a bedtime routine. Set aside time to unwind before calling it a night.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtime.
  • Steer clear of bright devices right before sleeping. 

Sleep deprivation is a subject that often hits home for many college students. Between studying for exams and maintaining a social life, how are we suppose to find time to sleep? During my undergraduate years, I often put sleep at the bottom of my priorities. However, now that I am transitioning into the "real world" as a graduate student, I plan on making good sleep habits a priority. As a new school year kicks off, I encourage you to do the same!

  1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much sleep do I need? July 1, 2013. Accessed Aug 18, 2014. Retrieved from 
  2. Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006
  3. National Sleep Foundation. Healthy Sleep Tips. Accessed Aug. 18, 2014. Retrieved from


  1. I definitely need more sleep! I try to get 8, but it's usually closer to 7. Lately it's been even less because we've been so busy. I'm ready to get back into a normal groove so I can sleep more. :)

  2. A good reminder right before classes start again! School sometimes gets hectic on top of work and sleep is often what I cut from. Hopefully be able to get into a normal routine with more sleep this year. Great post! :)