Nutrition, Sleep & Preventing Illness


College students love to sleep in, but early morning classes make it impossible. And getting to bed at a reasonable hour isn’t easy. Noisy residence halls, roommates, late-night social demands and study sessions all contribute to sleep deprivation, which wreaks havoc on the body, mind and academic success.

The most common causes of sleep deprivation are stress and anxiety, alcohol, drug use, all-night study sessions, and interrupted sleep and eating patterns. The trick is overcoming these problems so that you can get at least eight hours sleep per night. Anything less reduces the body’s ability to perform and the mind’s ability to think clearly.

Regulating your sleeping and eating patterns as much as possible will work wonders. Also, try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake three to four hours before bedtime. Other tips are:

  • Make your room as dark and as cool as possible.
  • Wear earplugs.
  • Leave yourself enough time to study during the day and early evening.
  • Shoot for short power naps during the day. Naps count!
  • Treat your body well, and it will treat you well.

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Loosing Weight

It seems everyone is trying to lose weight these days. Keep in mind there is no safe way to lose weight quickly (more than a pound or two per week). Gradual weight loss also tends to be longer lasting. Instead of going hungry, aim for lifestyle changes that support healthy eating and exercise.

Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle:

  • Identify a few high-calorie foods and swap them out for healthier options.
  • Order grilled chicken, fruit or a salad with low-carb dressing when you go out to fast-food restaurants, or cut trips to fast-food joints all together.
  • A portion does not equate to the amount of food you can fit onto one plate. Cut your portions.
  • Go ahead and snack. Just make sure the snacks are healthy.
  • Find creative ways to squeeze in more exercise. Walk or bike instead of driving, don’t take the elevator, take the long way to class. You know the drill.
  • Avoid diets, shakes, pills, and other weight-loss supplements. Not too many people can stay on a diet for long, and supplements can be expensive and ineffective. Once the diet stops, the weight will creep back on.

Flu Shot

Usually, the flu peaks in February and lasts as late as May. As long as the flu virus is circulating, it is not too late to get vaccinated. Even unvaccinated people who have already gotten sick with the flu can benefit from a vaccination, as the flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses that are predicted to circulate each season. Otterbein students can get their flu shots for a small fee the Student Health Center.

Simple Cold or the Flu?

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes, usually mild Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Occasionally Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes

If you need medical care, call the Otterbein Student Health Center at 614-823-1345 or go to OhioHealth Urgent Care.


Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. If antibiotics are used too often for things they cannot treat-like colds or other viral infections-not only are they of no benefit, they become less effective against the bacteria they are intended to treat. If you are taking other medications, antibiotics can make them less effective. Take special note of this if you are using birth control.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are real, complex and devastating conditions than can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships. They are not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. People struggling with an eating disorder need to seek professional help. The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery. Eating disorders include:

  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Bulimia Nervosa

How to Talk to a Friend Who May Be Struggling with an Eating Disorder

It is important to express your concerns in a loving and supportive way. It is also necessary to discuss your worries early on, rather than waiting until your friend has endured many of the damaging physical and emotional effects of an eating disorder. In a private and relaxed setting, talk to your friend in a calm and caring way about the specific things you have seen that have caused you to worry. Avoid conflict or a battle of wills, and avoid giving simple solutions. Encourage your friend to seek help.

If you are still worried, contact a trusted professional:

  • The Otterbein Counseling Center: 614-823-1333
  • Otterbein Wellness: 614-823-1250
  • The Center for Balanced Living (off campus): 614-896-8222,