Nov 082004
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

Minding the alarm clock seems to become more difficult depending

on the season for Lindsay Heller.

“I definitely feel lethargic during the school year, especially

during the winter months,” said Heller, a senior health and

exercise science major.

Waking up and getting out of bed in the morning may be a

difficult task for many students, especially for those suffering

from symptoms of lethargy.

“Lethargy means drowsiness, sluggishness or feeling apathetic,”

said Claire Smith, a nurse practitioner and clinic coordinator at

Hartshorn Health Service.

Heller feels a lack of motivation can have negative effects on

schoolwork and daily life for students.

“I think that a lot of the time students may not go to class

because attendance may not be required, but this lack of motivation

will definitely reflect their grades,” she said.

When suffering from lethargy and its related symptoms, it often

helps to plan out the day ahead of time and get enough rest to keep


Smith said within the college population lethargy is most often

the result of stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, alcohol

use, drug use or lack of exercise.

“Lethargy can also be a symptom of something more serious such

as a type of cancer, anemia, hypothyroidism or depression,” she


Smith said lethargy can lead to serious problems for students

when it comes to school and work activities.

“Lethargy can cause a decrease in concentration, motivation and

increase procrastination which will eventually end up causing

grades to suffer,” she said.

Smith said students who are on a healthy sleeping and eating

schedule but may be feeling symptoms of lethargy should make an

appointment at the health center.

“The appointment consists of questions concerning diet, family

history, drug and alcohol use, depression symptoms and sleep

patterns,” she said. “However, if a student is mainly feeling

depressed, it would be best for them to make an appointment at the

(University) Counseling Center.”

The best thing for students to do in order to overcome feelings

of lethargy is to get quality sleep and watch their dieting and

exercising, Smith said.

“To get quality sleep it is suggested that a student plan their

bedtime as close to the same time every night and try to get seven

to eight hours a night,” she said. “Students should not eat late

and avoid caffeine and exercise after 7 p.m., but exercising early

in the day about three times a week is encouraged.”

Scott O’Meara, a graduate student studying plants and weeds,

said it has been a while since feelings of lethargy have had an

effect on his schoolwork, but he still has moments where he feels

tired and less motivated.

“I think I feel lethargic and that I need a nap every day after

lunch,” he said.

O’Meara said in order to stay awake he drinks caffeine, which

can sometimes help keep him going.

“I know it is difficult for students to stay awake during class

sometimes,” he said, “but attending class is important, and even if

you are tired it is better not to let your grades suffer.”

From his personal experience, O’Meara agreed with suggestions of

eating healthy, drinking less alcohol and going to bed at a decent

time, in order to fight off feelings of lethargy.

“Most of us are putting too much into our day and a lot of it is

unhealthy,” Smith said. “Everyone deserves the best, but we are the

ones who have to make sure it happens for us, so live healthy.”

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