Feeling the stress of a busy life? The life of a college student is anything but relaxed, so when it comes to classes, clubs, jobs and of course football games, a single day can lead to a whole lot of chaos if not planned out well. During the school year, maintaining a schedule may not be too difficult as the only obstacle seems to be finding a place for everything in respect to those classes and extracurriculars. It’s during the summer that maintaining a steady schedule may become an issue, but why should that matter?
VALLEY can agree that a break is well needed, but with all that free time, the days can escape you. For some, the way to do summer is to sleep all day and stay out all night, but what does that mean for your health? Studies have found that steady schedules can positively influence metabolism, appetite and overall ability to manage time and plan, but it all comes down to sleeping habits. Maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule affects all aspects of your life as your body works like a clock. The body utilizes the time sleeping to do things like metabolize, store memories and get you ready for the next day so when it has the time it needs to repair, the day can go by more easily. A good night’s rest leaves the individual alert and ready for all the fun the next morning has in store, but maintaining that set schedule alongside it can improve it even further.
While your body works to make you feel sleepy when it starts to get dark, It’s important to keep busy during the day in order to feel tired by the end of it. Environmental cues such as light and temperature influence when the brain sends signals to produce the melatonin that helps you sleep and stay asleep, but there are those nights that no matter what you try you just can’t. Keeping yourself active throughout the day can help prevent those sleepless nights. In other words, when it comes to energy, use it because you won’t lose it. With that, it’s important to balance out the food you eat throughout the day as you need to eat enough to stay active. Keeping a schedule of when to eat will help your body in maintaining a constant appetite. Over time, the body learns when it’s time to eat, so when you have a set time for meals, it will become easier to feel hungry at each mealtime.
Now forget the science of it. Having a set routine for day to day life has been correlated to lower levels of stress. Having a plan for the next day can become useful for time management and being able to handle any last-minute changes. The same as when school is in session, last-minute plans for someone with a steady schedule may become way less nerve-racking. A steady schedule creates a template for the day which allows for established times in which a surprise coffee date or a spontaneous trip to the tattoo parlor can happen. While having that schedule won’t stop your mom from making you your little brother’s driver for the afternoon, it may be easier to do damage control when you can work around plans that have already been made.
A schedule is designed to be for you so it is important to alter it in the way you need and want. You may like to run every morning with the sunrise while your friend likes to stay out until 3 a.m. The type of schedule is not what decides if it is the one to keep you on track. That being said, that doesn’t mean it has to be written in stone. Change it up — see what works for you. Individual schedules are designed to be flexible and altered to your life — which we all know is anything but predictable — so while sleeping at night and working all day may be the schedule that is encouraged by physicians, it’s OK to have those late nights and even later mornings every once in a while. Steady schedules are beneficial in that they keep you on track and even allow your body to maintain a timeline in which it can recuperate to prepare for the day ahead. Make it you and make it fun. Everything else will fall into place.