Tag: sleep

Remi Free/Senior Graphics Editor

I fondly remember the first time I arrived at Columbia. There was a humongous smile across my face as the taxi driver drove my mother and me through the College Walk gates for CUE move in. All those months of high school paid off and I was about to start classes at a school I never imagined I’d ever attend. My mind was racing as I tried to meticulously plan my schedule and goals for the next four years. It felt like I found my new home and nothing could go wrong.

Fast forward two years as I was wrapping up sophomore year. I was running on five hours of sleep, stressed beyond measure, and profusely sweating as I moved my stuff out of my residence hall and into a storage facility for the summer.

Instead of all the happy memories I had when I first arrived to Columbia, my mind was just — bitter. I wanted out. I just wanted to move out and head home and get as far away from Morningside Heights as I could.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Columbia and all the resources it has to offer, but with all these benefits come the inevitable pitfalls of attending one of the most stressful and prestigious universities in the world.

As I progressed through each semester at Columbia, I slowly adapted to some of our school’s more detrimental traditions. I would stay up until the early hours of the morning working, overload myself with too many classes and commitments than I should have gone through with. I would fall into the constant conversation trap of discussing how many hours you spent studying in Butler on a given day as if that meant anything (news flash: it means absolutely nothing). Even as I tried harder and harder in my classes, I continued to perform below my own expectations and goals.

It didn’t help that some of my professors seemed to encourage students to engage in these traditions. In one of my classes, my professor seemed proud of the fact that he expected you to still perform poorly on his tests no matter how much you studied and that he hoped others wouldn’t help you when you struggled on your homework assignments. It got so bad that whenever they sent announcements to our class, I actually felt a sense of dread; I just wanted it to be over.

As I boarded my flight back home after leaving my storage unit, I felt myself feel happy and relaxed for the first time in a while.

So this upcoming semester, I’m going to do something different. I am not going to let myself fall prey to trying to underhandedly compete with others on how little sleep I got or how much time I spent sitting in Butler. Instead, I’m going to work on taking the classes I love, setting aside more time for myself and exploring the city. I actively intend to talk with my professors more and be more willing to tell them when I think they’re adding to Columbia’s already troubling stress culture.

When first year me arrived on campus, he looked forward to being his authentic self and not letting others get the best of him. Hopefully junior year me can make sure to bring that attitude and spirit back into fashion.

The Lion is the only Columbia publication with an open submissions policy. To respond to this op-ed or to submit one of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.

Having trouble getting out of bed? Often times, waking up feeling groggy and with a lack of energy is the result of the human body processing unbalanced amounts of unnatural substances.

Luckily, you can improve your sleep quality and overall health and appearance by following the simple tips below:

1. If you want carbs, pick “good” carbs, not “bad” carbs

“Good” carbs come from natural non-GMO foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, etc. that are loaded with vitamins and minerals in their natural and absorbable form.

For grains, try “good” carb grains like quinoa, and exotic wheat such as spelt and bulgur. Tubers such as potatoes and yams are also great “good” carbs. As for rice, make sure it’s wild. If not, then prepare it with other vegetables, seeds, nuts, or legumes that will decrease the percentage of empty “bad” carbs.

You are what you eat, so if you eat junk, you will feel like junk. Therefore, keep all processed foods overloaded with preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other synthetic sugars to a meager minimum.

Eating “good” carbs in high amounts on a regular basis will help the body repair the damages caused by years of “bad” carbs. Thus, you will wake-up feeling more refreshed and full of energy.

2. Decrease your dependence on stimulants

Whether it be coffee, alcohol, or drugs, stimulants can be addictive and habit-forming. Stimulants can negatively influence the brain by heightening emotions and also can influence the cognitive and memory centers of the brain so you lose control of your body.

Over time, this can impair your memory, as you start to lose brain cells. Therefore, if you stay up late and depend on stimulants to continue to perform any academic or social activity, this could affect your quality of sleep.

In order to decrease your dependence on stimulants, it is best to replace them with a natural alternative. For example, replace a cup of coffee with an energy-boosting combo of oranges and pomegranates. Replace alcohol with something like grape juice.

Drugs can be replaced with natural herbs called adaptogens (such as ginseng, rhodiola, etc.) that lower stress and anxiety, while also boosting the immune system. By lowering your dependence on stimulants and drugs, your body will be able to process fewer harmful chemicals, which will give you more energy to start your day.

If you combine these tips with a moderate amount of exercise and sunlight, then you will be able to wake up feeling more refreshed and full of energy.

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