Opinion: Count Your Ulcers To Sleep

Becca Sanchez

(Posed) A student becomes overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done.

Stress. It’s a common and overarching terror in the lives of citizens across the globe. As high school students, we know it well: worrying about college acceptance, staying up late, studying, doing homework, juggling schoolwork and sports and social life – the list goes on. But besides the suppressive feeling of stress, it is seriously detrimental to health. Hardly getting any sleep, pumping yourself with caffeine and feeling constant distress about the state of your life doesn’t just take a toll on your sanity – it takes a serious toll on your body and your health.

Excessive stress and lack of sleep can cause frequent headaches, tremors, neck and back pain, muscle spasms, dizziness, excess sweating and blushing, increased risk of contracting infections, stomach pain and nausea, panic attacks, ulcers, sudden changes in appetite/mood, acne, weight gain, and so much more.

As of late I personally identify with the stomach aches and nausea. For the past several months, I’ve had chronic stomach pain. Every moment of every day I’ve been in minor to severe pain. I finally went to the doctor, and while I hadn’t yet developed an ulcer, my stress was causing a serious health condition. My doctor gave me Pepcid to decrease the amount of acid in my stomach to hopefully ease my pain that was preventing me from fully engaging in daily activities.

If I had taken control sooner and made sleep a priority, making time to relax and not worry about what I need to get done, planning my time wisely, respecting my body and its needs, and being less tough on myself, I wouldn’t have experienced so much physical and emotional distress.

I know, as a bit of a perfectionist and a control freak, it’s extremely hard to ask for help and listen to yourself. You probably make excuses to not do these things. You probably tell yourself, “I’m too busy to sleep! I’m young, I’ll just bounce back and be fine and just more sleep over the weekend.” While you may justify these actions by being a teenager, habits will follow you into adulthood. You’ll be far more likely to lose control at your job or around your family, and if you don’t try to fix these habits now it’ll only be harder to fix them later on.

The following are some helpful tips to try and control stress level as well as improve overall health!

  1. Set a bedtime “window”, as I like to call it. I know setting a bedtime at our age seems silly and sometimes impossible, and I agree wholeheartedly. This is why setting a bedtime window will be easier to stick to. I’ll give you an example: I have difficulty going to sleep before 10:30 on a normal day, but I don’t want to stay up late so I’ll set my bedtime window from 10:30 to 11 or 11:30 depending on how much work I have to do. Setting a bedtime will help you get the sleep you need and you won’t feel as drained anymore!
  2. Drink lots of water! Everyone always tells you to drink water, but it’s actually extremely beneficial and necessary for your body to function. If you drink your “8 glasses a day” then you’ll have a faster metabolism, your skin will clear up, and this will also help prevent you from getting excessively tired! If your body was a car, water would be the gasoline; your body NEEDS water to work at the top of its game. So next time you reach for a soda, get some good ole H2O instead!
  3. This one goes hand-in-hand with cutting down on soda: try cutting processed foods out of your diet and stick with foods that have one ingredient (or at least ingredients you can pronounce!). Those ingredients on wrappers that you can’t read that sound like another language are more often than not chemicals. Those chemicals are bad for you and your body does bad things with them! They slow down your metabolism and make you even more tired. I would suggest that in your late-night desperation for study food, don’t just grab something out of the snack cupboard, make some eggs (they hardly take any time), grab some fruit, and leave those chips by the wayside.
  4. Exercise! I know you may think that this would be counter-productive to not getting tired and keeping your energy intact but exercise is a proven stress-reliever! If you do even 30 minutes of exercise 2-3 times a week you’ll feel your stress level go down because when you exercise you release endorphins which make you feel happy. When your “bedtime window” comes around, you’ll be able to get to sleep faster because your body and mind will feel more inclined to get some rest after pumping some iron!

So put those 4 easy tips to good use and implement them right away! If you decide today to get to sleep at a reasonable time, drink water, eat organic foods, and exercise a few times a week I can almost guarantee that you’ll be less stressed, happier, and healthier!

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Comments

11 Responses to “Opinion: Count Your Ulcers To Sleep”

  1. Zoe Pacalin on May 15th, 2012 8:47 pm

    I love the angle of the photo…the long lasting effects of sleep deprivation are scary…i will definitely try to get to bed earlier.

  2. Jenna F on May 16th, 2012 9:03 pm

    These tips are really helpful and I love the photo. Great job, Madeline!

  3. jacob pfau on May 18th, 2012 2:45 pm

    how much is excessive lack of sleep?

    I know quite a few people who lack sleep, but we don’t suffer many of those effects.

  4. Anna Mayerson on May 18th, 2012 7:16 pm

    Yea nobody wants to be that stressed out junior (or senior) who has to carry around his or her own tissue box because of sleep deprivation!!

  5. smoimoi on May 19th, 2012 9:26 am

    Great picture angle and great story Madeline!

  6. Caitlyn on May 19th, 2012 5:01 pm

    Such an awesome picture! These are great suggestions to reduce stress! No one is too old for a bedtime.

  7. Matt Bercow on May 24th, 2012 7:20 pm

    i cried when i read this. i knew someone really personal to me who once had to go through this terrible unique thing. once, he told me that i was crying. i never knew what to say. i am so supportive of u in your time of need. did you know that I am at summit? its a really god school. some of you should. come, and maybe say hello; because i hate it when no one visits me. anyawy, i just about made my argumentative, hopefully you understand whe re i came from. by bye now, good day.

    btw i am in no way obliged to make u come to summit i just see that you see that u know that there are certain, particular, benefits to coming such a great fantastic restauratn.

    Matt Bercow
    summit PREpararatory High school class of twenty fourteen
    9/24/96

  8. monika richardson on May 28th, 2012 2:11 pm

    I actually feel like sometimes the more sleep i get the more tired i become, but thank god the year is almost over and there will be a temporary break from all this stress. wooooooo

  9. Breana on June 1st, 2012 5:31 pm

    monika i totally agree! sometimes im so surprised when i wake up in the morning running on three hours of sleep rather than getting nine the night before!

  10. Anna Mayerson on June 2nd, 2012 11:20 am

    I think people just really need to see what works for them. Not everyone needs a lot of sleep which sounds unhealthy but some people prefer to study late and make up their sleep on the weekends.

  11. Katie Gaherty on December 4th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Wow didn’t know this was such a concern to my health, but I’m happy to see there are tips provided to prevent a problem for the future. I will definitely take advantage of these tips!