College, although deliciously fun and entertaining, is full of things that are bad for us. The four-day weekend bender? Bad for us. The four Red Bulls we chugged to finish that paper at 5am? Bad for us. The four classes we skipped because we were sleeping after that all-nighter? Really bad for us.
But, surprisingly, sometimes what we think is horrible for our health can have some benefits. However, just like anything, these things should probably be done in moderation anyway. Most benefits are demolished when you overdose on the activity (except sex…I maintain that you cannot overdose on that).
Stress – Yes, stress can be helpful (short of pulling out your hair because you haven’t started that art project that’s due in two hours). Stress can benefit the immune system, preparing the body to withstand things like surgery and infections, and also pushes us to be most effective at the tasks at hand. Bring on the triple-bypass surgery, because I’ve had enough stress to boost my immune system to super human levels.
Caffeine – There are tons of benefits of drinking caffeine! Increased reaction speed and alertness, decreased evidence of liver damage, weight loss, lower occurrence of diabetes, and increased sex drives in females (it’s only been proven in rats, but I’m gonna make the jump). Grab a cup of coffee from the cafeteria and enjoy the buzz.
Oversleeping – Sleeping too much is really bad for you. However, how many college students do you know who are getting too much sleep? Usually, we oversleep because we’ve been running on 3 hours of sleep for five days (finalsss) or because we’ve been killing ourselves with club meetings, classes, work, and assignments during the day. Sometimes your body just needs some time to catch up and recover. In fact, while you sleep your mind and body are putting things in order – repairing muscles, organizing memories and new pieces of information gained during the day. Give yourself a chance to catch up to…yourself. Sleep in!
Lack of Sleep – If you sleep too much, you’re screwed. If you don’t sleep enough, you’re equally screwed. WTF! But there are still some good things associated with a less-than-satisfying sleep schedule. Just consider how much extra time you’ll have to play/work with! You can also get that awesome trippy feeling without the hassle of finding and paying for drugs. Aside from that…there really isn’t much good that comes from not sleeping.
Alcohol – Although studies are scattered and the opposition is strong, there is some evidence that alcohol does a body good (I always knew it). In fact, drinking one or two drinks three to four nights a week can decrease your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and dementia. Most of these studies were conducted on an older test group (read: 60’s and 70’s), but I say why not get a head start? This IS your health we’re talking about.
Late-Night Snacking – So you think that bag of Doritos you’re scarfing at 2am is bad for you, right? Well, it is, but it’s because you’re eating Doritos, not because you’re eating at 2am. As long as you control portions, watch what you’re eating (perhaps put down the bag of chips and eat that apple instead…), it doesn’t matter when you eat. In fact, you should be eating every 3-4 hours to keep your blood sugar at the optimum level. That means if you’re staying up late studying or whatnot (emphasis on the whatnot), you should probably eat a little something if dinner is becoming a distant memory. Yay 2am snacking!