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UCD Student Health Service Factsheets

Scabies is an extremely common and very itchy skin rash caused by a tiny mite (insect) called Sarcoptes scabiei. Find out more about what scabies is, what causes it, what can be done about it (opens in a new window)here

Are you struggling like many college students with back, neck or arm pain, that is often worse during or after a long day on the computer or completing assignments and essays?
Click on  (opens in a new window)Your work well guide for some helpful advice on working well from home from the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists. 

How to help get adequate sleep :

  • (opens in a new window)Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  • Practice a (opens in a new window)relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. (opens in a new window)Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  • (opens in a new window)Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep but try to avoid prolonged higher intensity (vigorous) activity that increases body temperature within 2hours of going to bed.
  • (opens in a new window)Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – (opens in a new window)between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  • Sleep on a comfortable (opens in a new window)mattress and  Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of (opens in a new window)allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  • Use bright light to help manage your (opens in a new window)circadian rhythms.Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
  • Avoid Caffeine (effects may last up to 8 hours), alcohol, cigarettes/nicotine, and heavy meals in the evening.  Alcohol, cigarettes and (opens in a new window)caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a (opens in a new window)light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  • Wind down.Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, (opens in a new window)avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  • If you having trouble getting to sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the bedroom (sleeping environment). Use your bed only for (opens in a new window)sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
  • If you’re still having trouble sleeping,consider getting professional advice. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a (opens in a new window)Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.
  • Beware certain medications that can disrupt sleep; certain anti hypertensives (Diuretics, Beta Blockers), anti-arrhythmic medications stimulants, anti histamines, oral corticosteroids, anti depressants for example.

Based on articles by National Sleep Foundation and Why we sleep, author Matthew Walker.

Potential Online Sleep CBT:
- sleepio (there is a charge for this) (opens in a new window)www.sleepio.com or - (opens in a new window)www.freecbti.com (free)

There are plenty of choices in UCD to try exercise and a beautiful campus to go for walks in.

For more information on sports and fitness facilities check out the ucd website http://www.ucd.ie/sport.
To check out UCD's award winning gym please click here and to register for a student membership click here.
Please also check out Healthy UCD. It is a great resource for all things healthy and details of what health events and activities are happening around UCD campus.

Please read some valuable advice of the benefits of exercise to your health and academic performance written by Dr. Joe Conway in UCD Student Health Service.

Exercise can boost your mental and physical health, improve your academic performance and overall contribute to a happier more fulfilled life. Oftentimes, we make excuses about why we cannot exercise but take a few minutes to consider the benefits of exercise and plan how you can build it into your life. Ask Darragh

I don't have time to exercise!

You don’t need to spend large amount of time exercising to gain benefits. You can build it into your normal daily routine e.g. walking at lunchtime, cycling or walking to college, taking brief exercise breaks while studying.

How Much Exercise?

The amount of exercise required is about 25 to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 4 to 5 times a week. Moderate intensity exercise requires that you push yourself to a point where you feel you have to breathe harder, but that you would be able to talk to a person if they were beside you.

Exercise does not have to be the gym. It can be a dance class, swimming, hill walking, cycling or any combination that suits you.

Recognised Physical and Psychological benefits that result from taking regular exercise:

  • Boosts energy levels
  • Feel and look better
  • Improves ability to fall asleep and sleep well
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure
  • It is very effective in helping weight management (in combination with a healthy balanced diet]
  • Being active and feeling strong will help you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
  • Promotes mental wellbeing, improves mood and reduces anxiety
  • Improve focus and performance in your college work. You feel mentally sharper and have a better student-life balance.

According to Dr Mike Evans, small changes and 30 minutes a day can have a massive improvement on your health. Please see (opens in a new window)www.evanshealthlab.com/23-and-12-hours for more information.

My Options offers non-directive, free counselling and information for people experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Information is available about all options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services.

Visit (opens in a new window)myoptions.ie for information or freephone 1800 828 010.

The following leaflet will help you think about which method of contraception is right for you . Look at the table for more information on choosing a method of contraception for you at different stages in your life.  Contraceptive Choices

Contact UCD Student Health Service

Student Health Service, Student Centre, University College Dublin, Dublin 4
T: +353 1 716 3134 | Location Map(opens in a new window)