Why College Students Don’t Get Enough Sleep + Ways To Improve Sleep Habits

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends that college-aged students get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Yet, one in three college students report having trouble sleeping as well as not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Although it may be stressful balancing schoolwork, social lives and jobs, the amount of sleep we get each night should not suffer because of this.

Below are some common issues that many college students face that can disrupt our sleep patterns, along with ways to improve these conditions.

Anxiety

Mental health has become a critical issue on college campuses. In fact, a study revealed that anxiety is the leading mental health issue college students face. The National College Health Assessment Survey reported that 15.8 percent of college students have been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety. The same survey found that 21.9 percent of students claimed that anxiety had negatively affected their academic performance whether it was through getting a lower grade on an exam or project, receiving an incomplete, or dropping a course. A college student must balance many things all at once including midterms, friendships, relationships, and careers. For many young adults, this is the first time dealing with significant levels of stress and can be extremely overwhelming, bringing on anxiety.

Anxiety can cause sleep problems or make existing sleep problems worse. However, getting a good night’s rest, especially as a college student, needs to be a priority. In order to reduce your anxiety and get the sleep your body needs try meditating. Focus on your breathing and visualize a serene environment.

Busy Mind

Mental over activity is becoming a major issue for people, especially college students. We’ve all had those nights where it’s impossible to get our brains to slow down long enough for us to fall asleep. For busy college students these nights can happen more frequently. When you’re juggling so many different things at once, it can often feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. This leads to many students working on schoolwork or participating in extracurricular activities up until bedtime. While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s actually a huge issue because sleep isn’t as simple as turning a switch off/on. Our bodies need time to unwind and dim our minds in order to prepare for sleep.

If you’re having trouble slowing your mind down at night, allow at least one hour before bed to wind down. This will not only help create closure for the day, but it also allows your brain to begin the process of shutting off. Developing a pre-bedtime ritual is a great way to help you and your mind wind down. Try reading, journaling, or even sketching and don’t forget to avoid electronics during your wind-down time.

Discomfort

College dorm rooms come with their own set of sleep destroyers. One of the many reasons that college students have trouble sleeping in their dorm rooms is that their beds often have many other uses besides sleeping — including studying, doing school assignments, watching TV, and even hanging out with friends. Remember that although dorm rooms may be small, your bed is not your living room. You want to associate your bed with sleep so that when you see it your body craves sleep. Try to study at your desk or in the library and hang out with your friends in common areas. Another issue in your dorm room that may be causing problems with your sleep patterns is your university-issued mattress. Most of these mattresses have been used for years and may be too hard or lumpy. A poor quality mattress can cause discomfort and even body pains that can be distracting and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

While you may not be able to go out and buy a new mattress for your dorm room, a mattress pad, comfortable bedding, and good sleepwear may help make it more comfortable. A soft and supportive pillow will also help add some much needed comfort to your bed.

Noise

Living in close quarters can make for a lot of noise. Whether it’s your roommate watching their favorite TV show at a high volume or your neighbors talking loudly in the hallway, noise can be extremely distracting when it comes time for bed. Unfortunately, while most resident halls have designated “quiet hours”, not all residents respect them. If your roommate and neighbors are continuously loud, especially during quiet hours, ask them to quiet down. It may even be helpful to discuss each other’s schedules and set guidelines to make sure everyone can sleep, study, and enjoy their time in the dorms peacefully. If that doesn’t work, try earplugs or white noise to help cover-up noises. Fans and sleep sounds are both great ways to cancel out noise.

Millennials Are Perfectionists (No, Really)

When I first read this story I was skeptical.

But when I focused on a singular point: social media, it makes sense.

As a sports fan the common theme you’ll hear is professional athletes today deal with more pressure than previous generations which directly relates to social media.

Selfies and personal branding has lead to idealized personas. What is posted is not reality.

Like any competition it’s tough to keep up.

Setting unrealistic expectations and goals sets you up to fail. Demanding to perform at a peak level constantly has it’s downfalls. Burnout, depression and self-doubt are just some of the side effects.

The building of “me” is a dangerous road. Society promotes it, but in the end all roads lead to hell.

This may explain the lessened attempts at risk. If you’re taught that you can do anything you want (false advice), how will you handle it when things don’t turn out as planned?

Perfectionism has personal and professional implications: mainly around mistakes.

But if you make the mental shift “I can live with failure; I just can’t live with regret” everything changes.

Life isn’t about being perfect. Ask any successful athlete or entrepreneur how they succeeded and failure is a huge part of the recipe.

Making mistakes is part of life because trial and error is the best teacher.

Imperfection is what makes us all human.

Only you can release the self-imposed pressure to be someone you’re not.

Be you. That’s not a mistake.

The Truth Behind Millennials & Avocado Toast

Real estate mogul Tim Gurner recently took a shot at Millennials by telling them to lay off the avocado toast in order to afford buying a new home.

Of course he took heat on social media for it, but instead of getting involved with the debate let’s get deeper: what does avocado toast really represent?

Fact: it takes an exorbitant amount of money to afford a home (in a favorable city) and your dining out habits do add up.

From someone who works closely with Millennials, avocado toast is more about lifestyle choices.

Anyone in their 20’s and early 30’s prior to having kids wants to travel. It isn’t Millennial-specific.

Companies like Whole Foods 365 have capitalized on convenience over budget with products such as ready-made food that saves time (not money).

Living a nomadic lifestyle means spending less on housing while splurging on amenities like coffee, massages, etc.

In ways, what’s going on here is minimalism 2.0 – where travel meets technology and experiences.

No one wants to look back on life and have regrets, plus what’s important to one generation isn’t to others.

For instance home buying: Boomers and Gen X’ers value having a place to call their own while Millennials welcome it, but won’t sacrifice dining out and travel in exchange for it.

Millennials are disrupters and the best example of that is: Uber.

Instead of purchasing a car and having monthly expenses, the alternative is to pay only when you need transportation. This avoids gas, repairs and insurance. Besides taxi drivers, this invention has given a desirable option for both riders and drivers alike.

Air B&B is another example of not accepting the norm: hotels while paying less for housing in different cities/countries.

Avocado toast itself is an overpriced indulgence. But what it represents is choosing lifestyle and experiences over possessions.

Millennials want to have their avocado toast and eat it too.

There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it aligns with your personal values.

Practical Tips for How to Use Surplus Money

Guest post by Grace Frenson

Most people tend to be irresponsible when they have surplus money by buying things they don’t really need, believing that the money is never-ending. While some people are born into fortune, a lot of people are not.

Proper money management is one of the surest ways to secure one’s future and save for rainy days or anything unexpected. There are several things to do with extra cash–the list is unlimited.

Though you may feel the need to spend your money on whatever you want, it is important to have your priorities sorted out. If you consider some essential things you need in life, you can determine the best plan of action to take. Here is how you can use extra money:

Invest in a Business

Businessmen are often preoccupied with the best way to use surplus money to make more money. Investing in one or more business could be the best way to achieve this.

People who are fainthearted in taking business risks would prefer to leave the money in their savings account, but the money would seldom grow when left there.

Investments do not always ensure the safety of the money, but if it succeeds it will bring a greater return than when left in a savings account. If it is really surplus money, it may be worthwhile to take a risk on it.

Use a 10 Year Saving Strategy

You have been working to secure your future, and now you have extra money. it is time to put some mechanisms into place to keep you from overspending.

One way to keep tabs on future events is by creating a 10 year saving strategy. This allows you to save for predictable expenses for the next 10 years.

Such expenses could include predictable costs such as a house, a wedding, kids, and so forth. If you have enough surplus money, you could even set up separate accounts for each of the items.

Stash the Money in an Emergency Fund

Money is not an inexhaustible commodity–unless you are a multibillionaire, you may exhaust the “excess” money in just a few months. If you haven’t already, you need to consider stashing the money in an emergency fund to take care of emergency situations only.

The amount of money you chose to put in it is up to you. However, emergency funds may come in handy in situations such as unexpected and costly health care bills, home repairs, auto repairs, unanticipated travel, and so forth, so you want to save wisely. Besides helping you to deal with an emergency situation, emergency funds could help protect your credit record.

Job loss is one of the common reasons people end up needing an emergency fund. Say you get injured or sick and have to go on disability, you want to have those supplemental savings in place in case your career or livelihood is threatened.

Increase Your Health Insurance

This may seem obvious, you need to invest in as much insurance coverage as you can afford. If you really have a surplus cash, health insurance is paramount. Health is wealth, and wealth becomes irrelevant and meaningless if the health cannot be secured.

Opting for health insurance is one of the wisest investment decisions you can ever make. This is even much more critical with how high medical bills are today. Medical debt is the single biggest reason people end up bankrupt or in a huge amount of debt.

Putting the money toward health insurance is synonymous to saving it for rainy days.

Obviously, nobody plans on having a critical health condition, but it does happen and you don’t want to be unprepared when it does. Thankfully, you have the cash, and you could make a difference to be prepared for the unexpected.

Create a Budget

You may really be misconstruing the cash as being excess if you have not created a budget and mapped out all of your upcoming payments. A budget will help you keep tabs on your income and expenditures.

It helps you to manage the financial flows and see where your money goes or would potentially go. Creating a budget will help you to make a detailed plan on important necessities like insurance, utilities, food, and housing, as well as miscellaneous activities.

Even extremely frugal people would be tempted to spend money on unnecessary stuff when they have excess money. By making a list of preference and value would help you to know what to spend money on and what to avoid.

A list of preference and value simply shows you items that are worth spending your money on. Of course, the preference and value may differ from person to person but the bottom-line is that it details your highest level of priority and utility.

The highest scale of your value and preferences is the right place to begin spending your surplus money. However, if some items don’t really make it to your list but they are simply critical for life–you need to reconsider your budget and adjust it accordingly.

Be Careful When Spending

When having an abundance of money, it is easy to spend it all quickly. Be careful to not go down this path, and spend your money on what is prevalent in your life.

If you are in a bit of credit card debt, consider paying that off, or paying off your child’s student loans. You want to be sure you don’t spend the money and then not even know what you spent it on once it’s all gone.

Think long and hard about how you want to spend–or not spend the extra cash. You don’t want to regret the decision you make in the long run.

Your Career Runny Egg Moment

slaters-burger

I love burgers. Have you ever tried a fried egg inside your burger?

If not, you haven’t truly lived…

One of my favorite burgers is the Original from Slater’s 50/50: 50% beef 50% bacon patty. avocado mash. chipotle mayo, pepper jack cheese & a sunny side egg on a brioche bun.

The ingredients mesh perfectly, but the highlight of the culinary experience is the initial puncture of the yolk, it runs down the center of the burger and you have to take a bite before it drips on your plate.

My description may not be doing it justice, but it reminds me of a parallel in your career.

Similar to the moment the yolk breaks, there is a moment in time where opportunity strikes.

For example, it happens in the job search process: you’d love if employers gave you a timeline once you applied/interviewed, but that rarely happens (even if it does, it’s inaccurate).

Meanwhile you continue to apply for more positions hoping the “yolk” breaks on your preferred timeline.

Truth is you have little control over the process.

Do your research. Prepare for the moment. Brand yourself clearly.

Your next career prospect is all about timing.

It’s a numbers game. If you apply to one job and wait, you’ll be miserably waiting (and severely disappointed if you’re rejected).

On the other hand if you apply to multiple positions, network like crazy and follow-up like a mad man (or woman) something will eventually break when you least expect it.

Life is all about timing.

You never know when your career runny egg moment will come, but when it does will you be ready for it?

Why Startups Are Overrated

startup-life

Follow your passion. Chase your dreams.

Bad advice depending on your age/life stage.

The startup life is glorified from the outside, but those inside the ropes think differently.

Your corporate 9-5 job may suck the life out of you, but imagine working 40+ hours and getting paid less.

Think the grass is greener on the other side? Try turning grass over. It’s brown.

Similar to entrepreneurship and parenting, everything you see/read/learn doesn’t equate to first-hand experience.

Working for a startup is grueling. Long hours for little pay isn’t for everyone. Age/life stage should be your determining factor.

In your 20’s your career is most important, so working hard for something you believe in takes priority.

In your 30’s relationships (dating/marriage/family) are most important, so working hard to support your desired lifestyle take priority.

In your 40’s planning for retirement is most important, so working hard to secure your future takes priority.

Startups are ideal for people in their 20’s or younger. Fewer responsibilities means less concerns about work life balance.

Once you enter your 30’s boundaries become important. The difference lies in what you do after work: going to the bar with friends vs. going home to see your family.

There’s nothing wrong with chasing the American dream, but the better question to ask is: when are you chasing it?

Keeping Your Millennial Workforce Happy

Guest post by Faith MacAnas

hi-five

One of the key features of the millennial generation is their focus on job satisfaction and life fulfillment is a lot higher than their predecessors. Happier employees have a better and higher quality output; this has made the necessity for employee satisfaction strategies more important than ever. These following examples are just a few areas where adjustments can be made that will motivate your millennial workforce and optimize your business.

• Flexibility

For the first time, young workers are prioritizing their work-life balance over their paycheck. They want to be able to travel, balance their family and social life or pick up side projects. While full remote working conditions are inadvisable, providing some level of flexibility is a great tactic. This offer could come in the form of career breaks or simply the opportunity to work alternate hours from home on occasion.

student-with-mentor-on-computer

    Crisp Technology

Millennials have grown up at the forefront of technology; they have always had the latest editions and expect their technology to be in good working order. Companies that can’t afford the latest pieces now allow staff members to work on their own devices. While this can save money, it does also require ensuring the security of confidential company data on machines that will leave the office. You can guarantee protection by investing in a company-wide Virtual Private Network program for all staff members to use or by creating an internal system where work can be shared exclusively.

    Career Paths

Today’s young workers live in a shaky economy, and they know it. While they worry about the promise of work, they also will quickly jump ship if their jobs don’t appear to provide them with the opportunity to progress. Give your millennial workforce a voice; allow them input into innovation ideas and company policy. Ensure feedback channels are open, and offer opportunities for training courses or department transfers. Show that you are willing to invest in them, and they are much more likely to invest in you and your company.

woman-holding-money

    Cash Incentives

If all else fails, then there’s one language everyone speaks: cash. Nothing gets motivation going like the promise of a bonus, and there are none who don’t relish the opportunity to make more money. However, there are both pros and cons to this strategy. If, for example, you set a goal for workers to achieve to secure the bonus, and they do not succeed, it’s possible to disenfranchise them further. It’s wise to set goals that are both realistic and progressive.

Millenials are some of most forward-thinking workers around today. They naturally possess crucial knowledge and hold to the key to the future. If you haven’t already implemented strategies to ensure you keep them motivated and dedicated, then now is the time to start doing so!

About the Author: Faith is a blogger and marketing and strategy expert. She specializes in internet security. She enjoys sharing what she’s learned with other business owners online.

Work Life Balance Simplified To One Word

boundaries-sand

Boundaries.

The only way to separate your personal from professional life is to define your boundaries.

Boundaries are hard to identify until someone crosses them.

The reason work-life feels like a blur is because you allow it.

As an employee it’s a constant tug-of-war with management. You have to draw a line between what they want and what they can legally expect of you.

If you’re an entrepreneur, no paycheck is guaranteed so you have to hustle more, but at what expense? Ask most business owners why they started their own company and most would answer with reasons other than money. But as your own boss, if you don’t draw the line, your boundaries will be abused.

Start defining what’s inside and outside of your boundaries. Stand up for what matters and what’s right.

In the end you have no one else to blame for work-life balance: except you.

How To Deal With A Micromanager

The dreaded micromanager.

We’ve all been under one, but the question is:

How do you deal with it?

Here are 3 ways to counter:

1) Results-focused – Micromanagers care about one thing: getting s**t done. That means “bulldozing” people in order to achieve more. Typically naive to people’s emotions, if under their leadership don’t take things personal. Micromanagers don’t have enough EQ to see the trail of blood left in their path. The way you feel after an encounter with them is how most people will describe an interaction. Focus on surpassing their lofty expectations by doing work. Accomplish that and you’ve earned favor.

2) Mirror – In most cases what you can dish is what you can take. This doesn’t mean treat your boss the same way he/she treats you, but be aware of their preferred style. They model what they expect to see in you. Ultimately you don’t have to copy them as long as you get #1 right (see above). Micromanagers view people as obstacles in their way. Don’t expect praise. No feedback is good feedback in their book.

3) Counterbalance – The first two points explain the makeup of a micromanager, but what you really need to know is how to compliment them. What you do different can make you stand out. For example, if your soft skills are strong you might be asked to put out fires. Micromanagers won’t admit their weaknesses out loud, but they’re aware of them. Position yourself as an ally to their cause and you automatically level up. Strategy is key here.

Micromanagers won’t change so you have to adjust your ways. Control issues stem from a sense of insecurity which means you must be grounded to combat them. No one likes to be micromanaged, but if you learn how to deal with them work can become much more tolerable.

What Networking Is And What It Isn’t

network

When I started my business almost 10 years ago I thought networking was something I had to do…so I did.

After joining my local Chamber of Commerce, attending two events feeling exhausted and unproductive I quit.

If this was what networking was, I didn’t want any part of it.

It wasn’t until 5 years ago I decided to create my own network event and quickly I learned the following:

What Networking Isn’t

Attending Events: Most networking events are focused around bars, loud music and free food. Not only is it hard to carry on a conversation in that setting, but you’ll find most people in two places – in small cliques with whom they came and/or near the free stuff. Last time I checked those aren’t ideal conditions for conversing.

Elevator pitch: Be prepared to tell someone what you do in 30 seconds or less. Even if you accomplish that feat, do you really believe someone is going to buy what you’re selling or hire you because of your answer? There’s no harm in professional clarity, but the result won’t end in a transaction.

Passing Out/Collecting Business Cards: Networking isn’t a competition. The distributor/collector of the most business cards loses. Contact information only comes in handy when a prospect is already looking for something you’re offering BEFORE they talk to you. Most attendees at networking events are looking/offering similar things. If you leave with less of your business cards or a collection of new ones, you haven’t accomplished much.

What Networking Is

Following Up: Networking is 10% the initial contact and 90% what you do after. Meeting someone is a lead, but following up makes them a potential connection. Marketing 101 says it takes the same message seen 7 times to sink in. No matter how charismatic you are, building a relationship takes time. If you’re not in it for the long-haul, you won’t get the results you desire.

Selling Yourself: A caveat a friend of mine said to me concerning networking is “if I like the way someone thinks, chances are I’ll keep in contact with him/her.” During a conversation you should be focused on selling you, not your product or service. Relationships have more to do with liking a person than any technical knowledge. Be likable. Share what you’re passionate about. Live with the results.

Connecting: The term networking has a negative connotation. It sounds like an exclusive club reserved for extraverts. In reality connecting is open to all. In fact, I’d argue that if done right introverts have an advantage because of their listening skills. Like dating, connecting happens over several interactions. My advice? Connect with as many people as possible and your odds start increasing in the numbers game.