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.”