Lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of physical activity are all behavioural risk factors which may be driven by stressful conditions.
When students are under pressure from exams, stress levels inevitably rise, which supports unhealthy lifestyles. For example, losing sleep by studying for an exam may affect your appetite regulation and may increase the production of certain hormones like leptin, which causes people to eat more, or ghrelin, which causes people to eat less, according to Stranges.
Immune systems may also be negatively impacted by these stressors. Stranges says that when immune systems are under pressure, the individual is more likely to get a common illness, like a cold or influenza. Individuals can also be vulnerable to more serious diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which affects the large intestine; anxiety issues, which are intensified by stress; heart palpitations, which are irregular heartbeats; increased blood pressure, which increases the risks of a heart attack or stroke; or even more systemic chronic diseases.
Good health starts with good lifestyle habits,” says Stranges. “When our bodies go outside that physiological window of balance and hormones driven by a healthy lifestyle, we’re more inclined to get diseases, and the immune system is one of those systems which is most affected under these circumstances.
One of the most important things, Stranges emphasizes, is trying to keep a good balance in terms of sleep. He advises keeping in mind the amount of hours students spend studying, but also spending time doing physical activity, which also reconciles with good quality sleep. Preparing healthy foods, maintaining social interactions and avoiding social isolation are all things Stranges says students could do to reduce their stress levels and partake in healthy lifestyles.
By Mohammed Nurudeen Sado