Breakfast continues to have its benefits

By Shayna Barbash

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 With school in full swing and mounds of homework pilings up, students say goodbye to waking up to the afternoon sun and hello to a 6:10 a.m. alarm. Since we can’t escape exhaustion or early school start times, students must adapt to drastically different sleep schedules and face an early-morning breakfast in order to stay healthy and alert.

While the most obvious way to adjust is to go to bed earlier, it’s not always a realistic option.  Most students can’t adapt their sleep pattern to go to bed early after weeks of late summer nights.  “I went to bed at 1 o’clock the last couple nights,” junior Charlotte Goldman says.  “It’s not even because of homework. I just am used to my summer schedule.”

Students can instead maintain consistent sleep cycles and eat breakfast to try to mitigate the harsh wake-up time.  Although it seems counterintuitive to wake up even earlier, taking the time to eat breakfast is necessary to nourish your body from a long duration of fasting. Food provides a necessary source of energy that fuels the brain and without it, students may have difficulty concentrating and focusing on school work.  If waking up just a few minutes earlier for breakfast seems like a daunting task, bringing a small snack for the morning can be a good substitute.

To energize yourself in the morning, eat quick-absorbing carbohydrates and foods higher in caffeine.  While drinking large amounts of coffee can turn into a caffeine addiction, a small amount in the morning is a quick and harmless way to get a fast boost of energy.  Drinking caffeinated tea is also helpful; however, most teas contain only a quarter of the caffeine of coffee.  Caffeinated sodas may seem the most appealing, but they provide the least amount of health benefits and add unnecessary sugar to your diet.

Some convenient morning snacks that provide the necessary energy boost include bagels, cereal or any type of carbohydrate that contains a balance of sugars and complex carbohydrates.  This combination is important in providing a more long-lasting energy source.  These types of snacks are also useful to have before long standardized tests or hard workouts.

While good nutrition helps with focusing, it’s also important to maintain a normal and consistent sleep schedule.  Catching up on sleep is beneficial, but sleeping 10 hours one night and two hours the next is not equivalent to sleeping six hours a night. The most important aspect of a healthy sleep cycle is going through both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-rapid eye movement) in order to feel rested when you wake-up.  Each phase of sleep lasts on average 90 minutes, according to  Maintaining balance is essential to a healthy sleep schedule and to experience the full benefits of adequate sleep.

So the next time you have the choice of spending an extra 30 minutes stalking photos on Facebook or going to bed early, just remember how hard it is to stay awake during first period Spanish class with little prior sleep and a growling stomach.

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