Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sleep Hygiene

By: Alex Salem | Intern 
We survived midterms and finals are right around the corner. With homework, projects, and social obligations, it is easy to put sleep on the back burner. Sleep is important in order for the mind and body to restore itself. Getting good sleep leads to better memorization, better grades, and better wellbeing.
Eating a bigger meal closer to bedtime isn’t a bad idea…. Myth
Fact- Eating junk food late at night can causes problems that interfere with sleep. Junk food can cause stomach pain, inflammation, heartburn and cause you to have digestion issues throughout the night.  If you need a midnight snack, some healthier food choices would include: yogurt, fruits, vegetables, crackers, and whole grain cereal. Try to keep it as light as possible.
If I get 5 to 6 hours of sleep, I will be fine…. Myth
Fact- It is important especially college students to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  This ensures the body has adequate time to restore itself. During sleep, a process called memory consolidation occurs.  When this occurs, your brain takes everything you have learned that day and sorts, processes, and stores it. If you are having trouble reaching 7-9 hours of sleep a night, try to practice better time management, planning, and prioritizing. Sleep should be a priority! Getting enough sleep is important. If you still cannot get enough sleep, contact the Health Education Resource Center or Health Service to receive information on possible sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep walking, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. Getting enough sleep is very important for your body and mind to function at its best. 
I can pull an all-nighter and make up the sleep I lost the following day…. Myth
Fact- Lost sleep cannot be regained. Once you lose sleep, it is gone. Sleeping in later the next day will not offer you many benefits.  Instead, it will interrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling groggy.  It is important to get enough sleep every night so the body is rested and refreshed for the next day.
Long naps are always a great idea…. Myth
Fact- Taking a long nap and/or taking a nap later in the day is not beneficial. Naps should be earlier in the day and around 20-30 minutes. If you take a longer nap, your body will think you are going to bed for the night and will go into REM sleep. For example if someone takes a nap longer than 30 minutes then the body will sleep longer and the person will start to dream in this case rem sleep. You will feel groggy when you interrupt your body from REM sleep after only a couple of hours. If you nap for 20-30 minutes, you will wake up with increased alertness, memory retention, and energy.
Tips for Consistent, High Quality Sleep:
  1. Turn off electronic devices. Avoid social media and Netflix when you are tired.
  2. Create a relaxing sleep environment.
  3. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking before bed. These activities can cause restless sleep.
  4. Do not exercise at least 2 hours before bed. Exercising will increase your heart rate and body temperature. Your body will be more alert if you exercise at night and will cause you not to sleep. 
For more information about sleep contact the Health Education Resource Center at 217-581-7786 or email
National Sleep Foundation. (2011). Myths and Facts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Sleep and sleep disorders.
Health Education Resource Center. (2015). Sleep health.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Alcohol On College Campuses

By: Fedney Delphonse | Intern

With EIU's homecoming right around the corner, we would like to stress how important it is to stay safe if you choose to consume alcohol. 

Serving Sizes
When it comes to serving sizes, an average alcoholic beverage tends to have around 13.7 grams or 0./6 ounces of alcohol.  This would break down into:
  • 12 ounces of beer 
  • 5 ounces of wine 
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor 
The same amount of alcohol is consumed for each type of drink listed above. A 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor will affect a person in the same way. The type of alcoholic drink is not important, the amount of alcohol is.

Important to remember:
When drinking a mixed drink, it is easy to over-pour. As stated above, a standard drink size for liquor is 1.5 ounces. This includes liquor in a shot or mixed drink.  Also, if you are consuming jungle juice or a different drink made in a bulk, it is almost impossible to know the alcohol content of your drink. Be aware that one 12 ounce cup of jungle juice may be equivalent to 4-8 drinks! 

The same amount of alcohol is consumed for each type of drink listed above. A 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor will affect a person in the same way. The type of alcoholic drink is not important, the amount of alcohol is.

With the knowledge of what a standard drink size is, you are better informed as to how much you are drinking, which can help cut down on the chances of over drinking. 

While choosing to drink is a risk in itself, there are many other protective behaviors that people can choose in order to make sure they are enjoying their nights out without putting themselves at more risk.
  • Pace yourself! 
  • Have a sober driver nearby when drinking. Just leave your keys at home. 
  • Eat before you drink. Eating high-protein foods like cheeses and meats will slow
    down the absorption rate so the alcohol will not hit your system all at once. 
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water. Water helps dilute alcohol to slow absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages as they increase absorption. 
  • Help your friends. If anyone in your group has had too much to drink, ensure that they get a ride home with someone sober or find them a place to sleep.
  • Always stay with your original group.
  • Never leave with someone you do not know. Alcohol is still the number one date rape drug. 
  • In the case of alcohol poisoning, it is important that you know how you can help yourself and/or others. 
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning:
  • Consumed large amounts of alcohol
  • Unconscious and cannot be woken
  • Takes less than 8 breaths per minute
  • Feels cool or clammy to the touch
  • Skin appears pale or blue in tone
How To Help Someone With Alcohol Poisoning:
  • Call 911 
  • Provide the address or familiar landmark if you are unsure of the address. 
  • Give 911 a brief overview of the situation.
  • Stay with the person until the paramedics arrive.
  •  Making sure they do not aspirate and to check their breathing. 
  • Help prevent aspiration by rolling them to their side. The left would be the best side but as long as the person is turned to a side, it will help keep the vomit from going into their lungs.

It is vital to help a person who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. By intervening, you may save a life!

For more information about alcohol and alcohol poisoning, please feel free to contact the Health Education Resource Center at  (217) 581-7786 or by email at

Students may also contact Mike Tozer, the Alcohol Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Specialist here at the HERC. If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail or call (217) 581-7786.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Coping With Stress at Midterm

By: Fedney Delphonse

School and work life can be stressful for a college student especially around midterm. Understanding and utilizing some of these helpful tips can help you defeat feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Regular exercise
    • Regular exercise should be a part of your stress management plan. Physical activity helps refresh your mind, improves your mood, increases self-esteem, and can act as a form of meditation. Leave your tension and problems at the gym!
  • Reduce alcohol and drug use
    • Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the brain and central nervous system. The use of alcohol and other substances can decrease your mood, ability to cope, and ability to retain information. Alcohol and drug use can also create new problems like illness and legal trouble. 
  • Create a healthy sleep cycle and sleep environment
    • Set a time you would like to go to bed, and go to sleep within an hour of that time each night.  You should strive to wake up within an hour of the same time each morning. Students should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
    • In order to create a healthy sleep environment, remove electronic devices from your bedside, create a bed time ritual, and use your bed for only sleep and sex. If you are not tired, go do something until you are.

  • Plan Ahead!
    • Procrastination is the #1 cause of preventable stress so try your best to avoid procrastination.
    • Make “To-Do” Lists.
    • Plan ahead.
    • Prioritize your assignments.
  • Dedicate time for your social life
    • Try to do things with others to curb your midterm homesickness.
    • Team up with your classmates to have study session to prepare for exams, get dinner with a friend, and take a study break.
    • You may feel like there is not enough time in the day, but dedicating even a small amount of time to a friend, classmate, or teammate can help reduce your stress. 
  • Talk to someone
    • Talk to a trusted friend, family member, teammate, colleague or a counselor to express your feelings and explain your stressors. Having a conversation may help you gain perspective and provide an outlet to start prioritizing tasks and reduce stress.
    • Visit the counseling center on campus! They are a great resource and can provide you with helpful, informative, and confidential feedback to what may be creating stress in your life.
    • Here at the HERC, we provide students with information on stress, time management, and sleep. We also provide one-on-one consultations as well as group programming to classes, teams, and RSOs.
If you would like more information on stress and other programs offered by the Health Education Resource Center (“The HERC”), please contact us at (217)581-7786, or by email at

Monday, October 5, 2015

Color Your Plate!

By: Samuel Young | Intern

According to the CDC, amounts of fruits and veggies recommended daily varies based on a person’s needs. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may protect against chronic diseases. Color Your Plate encourages individuals to consume the appropriate amounts of fruits and vegetables daily, based on MyPlate guidelines. The first week of the program begins on September 28th and runs through the week of November 16th. Upload pictures of your plate, fruits, or vegetables and tag them with #eiumyplate for a chance to win a prize! Listed below are the themes and recipes for each week.  

WEEK 1: Introduction to the Program!
September 28th -- October 2nd
Week's Theme: Snap a Shot

Visit our photo booth from 11 AM to 1 PM on Tuesday in Taylor Hall, Wednesday in Thomas Hall, or Thursday in Stevenson Hall. Find us next to the entrances of the dining centers.

WEEK 2: Red Fruits
October 5th -- 9th
Week's Theme: Make it Half
Recipe: Snack Sized Strawberry Cheesecake

Red fruits are a colorful, tasty, gift from nature. They offer many health benefits due to their high levels of the plant pigments lycopene and anthocyanins. Red fruits also contain vitamin C, folate, flavonoids, and much more. Lycopene may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk, while anthocyanins may protect our cells from damage. Finally, flavonoids have antioxidant functions and can reduce inflammation. Overall, red fruits can play a key function in protecting our bodies.

Examples: • Red apples • Pomegranates • Cherries • Radishes • Cranberries • Raspberries • Pink grapefruit • Red grapes • Strawberries • Watermelon

WEEK 3: Yellow & Orange Fruit
October 12th -- 16th
Week's Theme: Go Bananas!
Recipe: Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal

Yellow and orange fruits contain over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids!  Yellow and orange fruits are also known for encouraging anti-inflammatory responses. Combined with their antioxidant functions, these fruits may prevent cancers and lower heart disease risk. The vitamin C in yellow and orange fruits promotes the immune system, as well as skin/bone health. Lastly, these fruits have been linked to helping individuals regulate their blood sugar.

Examples: •Yellow apples • Peaches • Apricots • Pears• Cantaloupe • Persimmons • Pineapple • Grapefruit • Lemons • Mangoes • Nectarines • Oranges• Papayas • Tangerines

WEEK 4: Green Fruit
October 19th -- 23rd
Week's Theme: Get in "Lime" with Nutrition
Recipe: Green Apple & PB Breakfast Wrap

Besides being appetizing and nutritious, green fruits contain lutein. Like beta-carotene, this plant chemical also protects our eyes from damage. These fruits are also a great source of vitamin C, which works as an antioxidant to protect cells and improve skin/bone health. Green fruits are also a great source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and much more.

Examples: •Green apples • Honeydew melon • Kiwi • Avocados • Limes • Green grapes

WEEK 5: Red Vegetables
October 26th -- 30th
Week's Theme: Healthy from my Head Tomatoes
Recipe: Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quinoa Salad

Red vegetables contain all four major carotenoids:  alpha- and beta- carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Red vegetables are also great source of vitamin C, needed for proper absorption of iron.  They are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium, which may be linked to decreases in anxiety and prevention of hypertension.  So when it comes to veggies, seeing red is a good thing!

Examples: •Beets • Radishes • Red bell peppers • Red chili peppers • Red potatoes • Red onion• Tomato • Rhubarb

WEEK 6: Yellow & Orange Vegetables
November 2nd -- 6th
Week's Theme: Veg Out
Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie (no blender needed!)

Yellow and orange vegetables provide small amounts of almost every essential vitamin and mineral! Vitamin C and vitamin B6 are the most common in these fruits and vegetables.  These vitamins support your immune system, as well as growth and repair of body proteins.  Other important nutrients found in these veggies include beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.  Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A promotes skin and eye health. Potassium plays a large role in maintaining proper muscular function in the body. Phosphorus assists in bone/teeth health.

Examples: •Squash • Carrots • Yellow peppers • Yellow tomatoes • Pumpkin • Rutabagas • Corn • Sweet potatoes • Yellow potatoes

WEEK 7: Green Vegetables
November 9th -- 13th
Week's Theme: Get Leafy With It
Recipe: Microwave Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Green vegetables are great sources of fiber, folate, vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as chromium.  Green veggies are also rich in glutathione, an antioxidant.  Green veggies have folate and vitamin B12, which work together to reduce cognitive decline.  Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and skin, vitamin C keeps the immune system strong, and vitamin K is known for its role in blood clotting.

Examples: •Artichokes •  Arugula  • Asparagus  • Broccoli    Brussel sprouts • Cabbage • Green beans •Celery •Cucumbers •Lettuce  • Green onion  • Okra  • Peas  • Green peppers  • Snow peas  • Spinach • Zucchini

WEEK 8: Color Your Plate Overview
November 16th -- 20th
Week's Theme: Make it 1/2

The last week of Color Your Plate is an overview of tips for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption based on MyPlate guidelines.

We hope that you take advantage of the weekly challenges and show us what you are eating! Upload pictures of your plate, fruits, or vegetables and tag them with #eiumyplate for a chance to win a prize! Be sure to tag us on social media using the handles listed below:

Health Education Resource Center- EIUInstagram: @eiu_herc
Twitter: @eiu_herc

For more information, or to bring the competition to your hall, visit or contact our Nutrition Promotion Coordinator by email at

Click here to see our fruits and veggies parody of 'Worth It' originally performed by Fifth Harmony!