Feeling tired? More sleep may help college students succeed

Feeling tired? More sleep may help college students succeed

With all-nighters and the tendency to have irregular sleep schedules, college students are not getting the sleep that they need to do their best. But experts say the amount of sleep a college student should get each night is mostly related to their class workload.

Clinical psychologist Michael Breus, who has studied sleep disorders for 14 years, said that college students need 10 hours of sleep on average, but notes there really is no true estimate for the amount of sleep a student needs due because it depends on individual factors.


“The big thing for college students is keeping the schedule the same,” he said.

Breus said what students do not realize is that sleeping in on weekends is actually unhealthy and creates a feeling of jetlag during the week.

“The internal biological clock needs to be the same,” he said. “If you wake up at 7 a.m. during the week, you need to wake up at 7 a.m. on the weekend.”

Breus said if students are waking up early on the weekdays for class and sleeping in on the weekends, the brain loses a sense of pattern that establishes when it needs to sleep.

Loss of patterns can have consequences, like failure to store what students may spend hours studying into their memory.

“One of the things we know is in fact that memory in particular is affected by REM, which is the stage of sleep we move short term memory to long term memory,” Breus said.

He said if a student doesn’t get any sleep at all, there is no time to store the studied information, rendering all-nighters useless.

But for students, cramming before a test may trump a good nights sleep.

“I can tell you, I pulled an all-nighter for my bio exam last semester and took a nap for half an hour before and got a 4.0,” said pre-nursing sophomore Katherine Armstrong. “But no sleep at all is no good because I have fallen asleep during a test.”

Economics sophomore Grant Chen said he is a night owl, and usually gets about six to seven hours a sleep a night and still functions properly in school.

“I don’t generally study past midnight and generally, I don’t stay up late to study,” Chen said.

Chen said if he does stay up late, he takes a nap during the day to catch up on sleep.

Chen said he does not believe less sleep directly affects college students’ academics in a negative way. In fact, he said he believes more sleep could be harmful.

“Some people can’t get up for class,” he said. “My roommate misses his classes and sleeps all day.”

Breus said that those students who are getting too much sleep could experience health issues.

He said a person’s age and overall health, however, are probably the other two most significant factors to determine how much sleep a person needs per night.

“Not enough sleep can lower the immune system,” Breus said. “We know sleep deprivation stresses the immune system. Sleep affects every organ in the body.”

Breus said relaxing before going to bed is needed for the body to get the appropriate benefits of sleep.

“People should understand it is like slowly pulling your foot off the gas and putting it on the brake,” Breus said. “You have to allow the body to wind down before sleep.”

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MSU and East Lansing businesses are teaming up to go green

MSU and East Lansing businesses are teaming up to go green

Michigan State University students and East Lansing community members are teaming up to implement new equipment and methods to give more meaning to “go green.”

MSU students are becoming more involved in the East Lansing environment by implementing new technology on campus and promoting energy efficiency in campus groups and outside organizations like Michigan Energy Options.

Assistant Director Jennifer Battle at the Office of Campus Sustainability said the university is adding more renewable energy to the campus, such as a new anaerobic digester.

“We’re taking animal waste and food waste and putting it in a digester that renews the energy and powers buildings on campus,” Battle said.

Environmental Economics and Policy Sophomore Sara Savoia said the new anaerobic digester burns garbage and makes methane for energy and is considered one of the most revolutionary digesters on a campus in the nation.

Battle said the university has experienced a reduction of greenhouse gases by 17% since the fiscal year 2010. She said MSU tries to be aesthetically pleasing while also promoting eco-friendly habits.

“We want to make sure we have a park-like setting and carbon energy,” she said. “We have pledged to reduce carbon greenhouse emissions.”

She said there has been more student activation recently and that there are many students getting involved in improving the environment through hands-on activities.

“Overtime attitudes and beliefs from students have changed,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot more student interested in sustainability and it’s been great in helping our office engage the rest of the student body and get them involved and share information.”

Bryan Madle, the education and outreach coordinator at Michigan Energy Options, said they work with some MSU student interns who are working to improve the energy efficiency around the city.

Madle said MEO is currently working on modifying areas such as the 20 miles that stretches along Grand River Avenue from the Lansing capitol building to Webberville.

“We are remodeling energy efficiency,” he said. “One of the long term goals is to make predictions and to enhance the community.”

Madle said the organization helps local businesses and homes with their energy plans and teaches people how to be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Er Ping Lu is an intern at Michigan Energy Options in East Lansing and said she hopes to see an improvement in better energy planning around the city.

“Basically we recommend people to restore some equipment in their house,” Lu said.

Lu said the interns usually have general meetings to discuss new ideas and analyze data sets. They are currently doing an energy review of consumption along Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue.

“We recently conducted a survey on people’s energy consumption in East Lansing,” Lu said. “It’s a very important part of our program.”

MEO works with several organizations to promote energy efficiency and has an event called Charrette from Oct. 22-30 throughout areas of East Lansing to open up discussion to the community about how to improve the environment, Madle said.

“Ultimately one of the big parts of it is raising awareness,” he said.

On campus, Battle said there are thousands of projects which impact water, waste and energy.

“Some are very visible and some are behind walls,” she said. “Some people may not even see the projects.”

The university has invested in new bike lanes to help reduce greenhouse emissions as well as purchased electric vehicles and electric charging stations with four at Spartan Stadium and one at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Battle said.

Battle said recycling rates have also increased throughout the campus since 2010.

While Savoia said she has noticed several businesses on Grand River Avenue that do not recycle, she said she hopes to see students and community members learn sustainable habits.

“There is a lot of initiative to be eco-friendly on campus just because it’s such a hot topic in society and the business world today,” Savoia said.

Savoia said there is a lot of recycling in the buildings on campus, but has noticed majority of the businesses along Grand River Avenue do not practice habits like recycling.

“I know a lot of people don’t recycle unless it’s super easy or there’s an incentive,” she said. “I know a lot of kids don’t really care much. It’s a personal choice.”

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Looking for something different? Unique activities are MSU’s best kept secrets

Looking for something different? Unique activities are MSU’s best kept secrets

Michigan State has such a huge campus that some of the most interesting places can be hidden from the eye. We all know about football games and the dairy store, but students often overlook some of the more obscure activities that may be right around the corner. Here are a few of the cool, unknown places open for MSU students to regularly explore.

MSU Bug House

With 3,000 insects from all over the world, the MSU Bug House welcomes students and the community to learn about bugs—if you’re not too grossed out.

bug house

Sophomore Elayna Creed holding a tarantula at the MSU Bug House

From beetles and large cockroaches to scorpions and tarantulas, students can view and even hold these creatures.

“We are kind of a well kept secret around here on campus,” said Gary Parsons, A.J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection Manager. “We are the only operation like this on a university campus in the country.”

The MSU Bug House was established in the late 1990s with resources geared towards educating elementary to high school students; however, it welcomes current Spartans as well.

When visiting the bug house, students can explore the different types of insects, both dead and alive.

Sophomore Elayna Creed visited the MSU Bug House last year.

“Holding [the bugs] was pretty cool,” she said. “I held a tarantula and a cockroach and I’ve never held those before.”

Tours are offered Monday–Friday by appointment and open houses are every second Monday of the month. The MSU Bug House also holds special holiday events around Halloween and Christmas.

“For those of us that volunteer, we’re just interested in bugs and we just want to pass on that information to the kids and the public,” Parsons said.

The MSU Bug House is located in rooms 146 and 147 of the Natural Science Building. Its next open house is Oct. 14 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Abrams Planetarium

Students can venture into astronomy by visiting Michigan State’s Abrams Planetarium ,located on Science Road near Shaw Hall.

The Abrams Planetarium also welcomes the public as well as MSU students. While the weekdays are often reserved for scheduled visits and an MSU astronomy class, the planetarium has shows Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons for the public.

“Half of our audience tends to be students on campus,” Education Coordinator Shane Horvatin said.

The public planetarium presentations are open to everyone on the weekend. After evening shows, audiences can partake in outdoor observing with telescopes outside of the planetarium to view astronomical objects.

Eat-At-State On-the-Go Food Truck

Another unknown gem that can be found all over campus is the Eat-At-State On-the-Go Food Truck. Implemented last year, the food truck was stationed mainly outside Shaw Hall when its cafeteria underwent renovation.

Since its creation, the food truck has since established a closer following with students and is often stationed outside Shaw Hall, near The Rock and outside Wells Hall midday.  Due to recent cafeteria renovation projects (such as Landon this semester), the truck is experimenting with new locations around campus and late night service in various neighborhoods.

Sophomore Sara Hughes said she appreciated the convenience of the food truck.

“I didn’t have time to sit down and eat,” Hughes said. “The food is fast and on-the-go, just like students.”

Students can use their combo exchanges, Spartan Cash and even credit card to purchase food to purchase foods such as a cheeseburger, grilled cheese with peppers and spinach, pesto, and salad wraps.

Keep looking

There are many more places on campus that have interesting activities every week. Don’t just settle for parties every weekend—explore campus and the exciting opportunities we have at Michigan State.

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