7 Ways to Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep could be hurting your performance in class.

Our bodies have a biological pattern of alternating sleep and wakefulness — roughly 8 hours of nocturnal sleep and 16 hours of daytime activity. This is known as our sleep-wake cycle. Teenagers and young adults naturally require longer periods of sleep, between 8-10 hours, to perform their best in class.

However, like most students, you’re likely getting just 5-6 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, grabbing some extra naptime on the weekends, although it helps, isn’t enough.

Not getting enough sleep can:

  • Limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and problem solve
  • Impair memory and inhibit creativity
  • Make it difficult to deal with stress and control emotion
  • Cause irritability, lack of self-confidence and mood swings
  • Effect you physically leading to weight gain, acne, illness, and caffeine dependency
  • Cause impairment when driving —comparable to someone under the influence of alcohol.

So, if you’re locked into a schedule and exhausted, here are a few ideas to help you fix the problem.

  • Make sleep a priority. Get your full recommended 8.5 hours of whenever you can.
  • Stay away from caffeine after noon.
  • Nap when you can.  Limit your nap to about 20 minutes and avoid napping too close to your normal bedtime.
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. A set routine helps put your body into a rhythm and brings it on more naturally.
  • Try to avoid stimulating activities like exercising, watching television, looking at the screen of a phone/tablet, or even homework or studying an hour before you go to bed. Doing this will allow your brain and body to shut down slowly and get prepared for good quality sleep.
  • Avoid bright light in the evening, but open blinds or turn on lights as soon as the morning alarm goes off to aid awakening.
  • Sleep in on the weekend, but no more than 2 or 3 hours later than your usual awakening time or it will disrupt their body clock.

By practicing these habits, you should be able to get through classes, exams and or finals week a little easier with your brain fully charged and able to recall important needed information on a regular basis. Make sure you do your best to be well rested for your overall health and acquiring all your needed skills for your future.

Share your thoughts… Would you prefer have later classes to suit your natural sleep schedule? How do you manage your schedule and sleep?

Spring Cleaning: Moving from College to Home

So, you are getting ready for the next big move. You have completed your last term paper, your last final and now you have your degree. Everything should be “easy as pie” until you realize you have to move out. What is the best way to prepare for the move home? Here are some steps you can take to make it an easier, faster process.

Organization is Key: Begin by deciding what items you really want to take with you—think long-term. Categorize everything into “keep, trash, or give away” labels. If you’re unsure what to keep, try to visualize where that item will fit in your future accommodations. If you cannot figure out where it fits into the new location, consider giving it away or donate it to a Goodwill near you.

Don’t Toss Your Work: You may never want to take a second look at the project or paper you spent hours working on, but you never know when it could come in handy again. Sometimes future employers want to see what you are capable of and will request to see past projects—especially when you are starting out in your career. Use your best work to build your portfolio when looking for your first job. You never know when an old A+ research paper might help jump-start your career.

For the Sentimental: Consider making a memory box or scrapbook to commemorate your most precious college memories. As you pack, set aside a box for the items that mean the most—concert tickets, photos with friends, your first report card. Once you return home, you can figure out how best or organize your favorite items. Need some ideas of how to get started, look here for the starting steps or some inspiration.

Leaving college can seem overwhelming, but whenever you have a well thought out approach to the move, it can be a quicker experience than you think. Congratulations on graduation and good luck in your future endeavors.

5 Ways to Help Prevent
Identity Theft

In this day and age, large retail companies and social media sites are not immune to an occasional security breech. In the shadow of these events, you may start to wonder, “What can I do to protect my identity?”

 Here are a few simple things you can do today to better protect yourself from fraud, phishing, identity theft and hacking.

Choose good passwords and PINs. Try to choose words or numbers that no one else would be able to guess and do not use the same password on multiple accounts. Sometimes you can switch numbers and letters to make it a harder password to crack. Use an “@” instead of an “A” or a “$” instead of an “S.” The options are limitless. For example, take a look at how we turned this blog name, HowAboutThemApples, into a super safe password, H0w@b0utThem@pp1e$.

Protect Your Computer. Just because you cannot see anything wrong with your computer does not mean that it is safe to use. Hackers use programs and spyware which allow them access to your PC. You can protect yourself with anti-spyware programs that will add a layer of protection and your personal documents.

Don’t Go Phishing. Phishing scams are generally “spoofed” emails and fraudulent websites specifically designed to fool recipients into releasing personal and financial information.  Emails that are sent to you asking for your social security number or credit card information are never okay. Be suspicious of any email that is marked “urgent request” and asks for your personal information. If you are not sure if an email is authentic, do not follow the links in the email. Do not complete emailed forms that request personal information. Double check that websites you are submitting your credit card or personal information through are secure. You can either do this by checking for the padlock that appears at the bottom right of your screen, or look for https:// to appear in front of the web address.

Don’t Accidently Give Your Identity Away. If you sell or trash your PC, restore your PC to factory default to ensure all of your personal data is cleared. You’d be surprised what hackers can find buried in your hard drive.  If you are not sure how to properly clear your PC, take it to a retailer who specializes in computers and ask for their help.

Be careful shopping online. Consider a separate credit card strictly for online purchases. It will be easier to cancel if there are any issues and it will have less effect on your day-to-day life. Do not store any information on a store website. Although it may be convenient, it can be a huge loss to you if the site is ever hacked. Monitor the site URL. Look for the lock symbol or “https” to appear before the site address. These symbols verify that the site is safe.

These steps should help you feel more secure whether you’re simply surfing the net, checking email or making an online purchase.

4 Ways to Save for College

As college tuition prices continue to rise, it becomes more difficult to save and prepare for the cost. Here are some tips to help you get your funds together for the big investment:

Pick the right account. Look for special savings accounts that have higher dividends to help your money grow while you are tucking it away for a later like Apple’s Education SuperSaver Account. This is a good way to have your money work for you by allowing a financial institution to assist with your major goal.

Put money away often. Setup a direct deposit with your part-time job paycheck and set aside money into a savings account like Apple’s eXtras Student Savings. Even small amounts of cash stack up quickly when forget it’s there, especially if you’re earning dividends (also known as interest, more cheddah, cha-ching, etc.). You will still have funds to go out and catch the latest flick or have dinner with your friends. It will just be a little less with the money you are saving.

Apply for scholarships & grants.  Take the time and research what scholarship and grant opportunities exist for you.  Sites like Scholarship.com explain what to do and how to do it.

Look into “realistic” options. Consider a community college before transferring to a traditional 4-year college or university. Get your “base” classes in and then make the big move. This way, you can continue to save or limit your student loan balance. Plus, check out the different cost options between in and out-of-state schools.

One thing is for sure, the sooner you get started, the more money you will have when it comes time to enroll.