Blog Archives

UND Students Stay with the Same Friends When They Party!

89.1% of UND students stay with their same group of friends when they party.


This is a social norm that has begun to spread across campus. If you are anything like me, your initial reaction might have been along the lines of “… Okay? …” This social norm can be a little confusing if you are not aware of what protective behaviors are related to drinking. It might seem odd that we’re telling you about students drinking, but what it is really saying is that UND students are being safe when they party!

Staying with your friends when you go out drinking is what we call a protective behavior. It’s important to always have people you know and trust around so that they can lookout for you if you ever need help, or are too drunk to recognize a dangerous situation; and you can do the same for them. Essentially, what we’re doing is using the “Buddy System.”

However, staying with your friends is not the only protective behavior out there…
There are many other actions you can take to keep yourself safe when you drink. A few of these include:

  1. Setting limits on how many drinks you will have in one evening;
  2. Limiting your drinking sessions to certain days and times;
  3. Eating before and during drinking;
  4. Avoiding risky or heavy drinking situations;
  5. Spacing out your drinks and alternating in non-alcoholic drinks; and,
  6. Making a pre-determined plan about how to get home at the end of the night that does not involve driving yourself.

These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you go out drinking. Hopefully, this is helpful in explaining why it is good that students stay with their friends when out partying.

Sleeping Your Way to Skinny

Sounds appealing, right?

Although mixing in a mid-day nap won’t actually make you skinny, recent research studies point out there is a definite correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. I am sure that many of you are not frequent readers of USA Today or the Annals of Internal Medicine. So, let me share with you what they recently brought to my attention regarding sleep and weight loss.

A single sleep study was performed on seven healthy, lean, young adults and the results are astounding. After just FOUR consecutive days (Finals week ring a bell, anyone?) of being permitted to sleep approximately 4 hours a night, the fat cells’ ability to use insulin properly dropped by 30%! Consequently, the cells became insulin-sensitive, resulting in the formation of less leptin.

What does this mean? TWO KEY WORDS: Insulin and Leptin… do these words mean anything to you? You may be thinking, “Why on Earth would they?” But, what if I switched those two key words to HUNGRY and FULL?! One of insulin’s many jobs is to trigger the release of leptin in your body. Now you may not have realized this until now, but I am telling you leptin is your friend. What that wonderful little hormone does for you is flip that hungry/full switch on and off. Low levels of leptin tell your body it’s starving and increase your appetite, which is why it makes perfect sense that a decrease in leptin has an association with increase in food consumption and weight gain. So, when your stomach is roaring during your test after pulling that all-nighter even though you just treated yourself to Mickey D’s breakfast as a “reward” – it is actually your body saying, “Hey, maybe you should have gotten some sleep last night!”

What’s also important to recognize is that in addition to your body’s inability to accurately sense if you’re full due to those low leptin levels, those who are tired have an increased appetite as well as a slowed metabolism due to their lack of sleep. When combined, these effects are ultimately setting you up for a downward spiral.

So, as finals approach, shoot for 7 to 8 hours of sleep! It will not only help your ability to focus and retain information, but also assist in maintaining healthy weight and prevent you from feeling hungry all the time.

Stay tuned for upcoming tips on how to develop healthy sleeping habits in my next blog!

Kick the Butts’ Butt

On Wednesday, March 19th, anti-tobacco activists everywhere will be acknowledging the annual “Kick Butts Day.” Kick Butts Day is a day focused on standing up and speaking out against both tobacco use and the tobacco industry. All across the world, people will be holding all kinds of different anti-tobacco related events.  The primary goal of most of these events is to encourage current tobacco users to quit using tobacco for good. whatisincig

The benefits of quitting tobacco use are numerous, and it is important to investigate the options out there for helping you quit if you choose. Here at UND, there are plenty of resources. At the Health and Wellness Hub, located in the Memorial Union, users will find “Quit Kits” available.  Users can also check out Student Health Services to discuss the process of quitting tobacco, and perhaps get a check up to see how at risk you might be for tobacco induced health problems. Across North Dakota, the Department of Health has also established the “ND Quits” campaign.  Users interested in quitting can check out the campaign’s website or dial the toll free number to get access to free resources available for quitting.

The good news is that all across the U.S., tobacco use is decreasing. Compared to 42% of the population reporting regular tobacco use in 1965, in 2012, the percentage was reported to be 10%. ( So, if you’re interested in quitting, please do your lungs a favor and check out these fabulous resources! (the official website for “Kick Butts Day”)  (the official website for the ND Quits campaign)

1.800.784.8669 (ND Quits hotline)

701-777-2605 (UND Student Health Services)

Spring Break Safety: Are You Ready?

After a long and painfully cold winter, spring break for UND students cannot come any faster! With all of the build up for a vacation from school and hopefully spending some time in the sun, how will you have fun while keeping yourself safe? For some students, taking a vacation or having a break from school might seem like the perfect time to have a few drinks, but what happens when pressure from our friends makes us feel like we should drink more? What do you do?! There are a lot of options in this situation and some things for students to be aware of.

When consuming alcohol it is important to do so responsibly, and at a pace which allows our body to process it.  Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol that is in our blood stream and can be calculated by looking at the chart below. It takes our body about 1 hour to process one standard drink [12oz beer, 5oz wine,  1.5oz hard liquor], so if you decide to drink over spring break, remember to give yourself some recovery time. Getting a good meal in beforehand and staying hydrated are also key things to remember if you are going to use alcohol.

If you are taking a vacation or plan to be around other people who are consuming alcohol that you do not know, it is especially important for you to keep yourself safe. Alcohol is the number one date rape drug, so stay in control and look out for yourself and others. More information on how to have a safe spring break and other resources are listed below.

Don’t forget to check out the Spring Break Survival event in the Memorial Union Loading Dock, Wednesday, March 12th from 6:30-9:30pm for games, food, and fun learning activities for how you can have a safe spring break!

Other Campus and Community Resources:

Oh no! Not the Candy!

Many of you will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14th with a significant other or maybe just a friend. Instead of going for the candy this Valentine’s Day, indulge your sweetheart with a heart healthy gift or date.

During this time of year stores are filled with red, pink, and heart shaped candies in all flavors and sizes. If you cannot resist eating candy this Valentine’s Day, here is a candy that outshines the others when it comes to nutritional value. Dark Chocolate with 65% cocoa has been shown to have heart-helping flavanols when ate in moderation. So if you are looking for a candy fix look for the dark chocolate.


A few things to make this Valentine’s Day heart healthy include; cooking at home, getting a fruit basket, and portioning your treats.

Cooking at home is heart healthy because you can control the amount of food you eat. Another advantage is you can cut out sodium from recipes; swap spices for salt and avoid prepackaged seasonings. If cooking at home isn’t meant for you then remember to avoid fried foods, creamy sauces and gravies. Restaurants serve large portions; sharing an entree can control how much you eat.

Even though it is still winter you can bundle up and do something active such as sledding, ice skating, indoor Rockwall, or Northern Air. These are all great date ideas that get your heart racing. If you are sick of the cold like many of us are, checking out a local cooking class would be a great idea too. Culinary Corner in the Wellness center is offering DeLightful Desserts on Thursday February 13th from 8-9pm.


If you still don’t know what to do check out the sites below. They have lovely ideas to make sure your Valentine’s is sweet as can be.



Now that Halloween has past, it has kicked off the fall and holiday season.  This is also known as Well-o-ween.  During well-o-ween we have to remember to stay healthy!

A few ways you can stay healthy during well-o-ween are listed below:

  • Maintain your exercise routine or start exercising.
  • Exercise can help beat the fall blues and it will keep your immune system strong.
  • Don’t forget to keep eating fruits and vegetables
    • With all the holidays and change in temperature sometimes we forget how important fruits and veggies really are.
    •  Kale, pumpkin, apples, sweet potatoes and pomegranates are a few things that are in season right now.
  • Flu seasonGet your flu shot; this will prevent you from being sick.
    • Get enough sleep and maintain stress
      • This helps fight off the flu.


citrus exercise live eat be healthy needle tea veggie




Wednesday March 20th is Kick Butts Day!

In honor of Kick Butts Day on Wednesday, March 20th, UND’s Health and Wellness Hub is taking the opportunity to remind the campus community of UND’s tobacco-free campus policy and the quit tobacco resources.  Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, is an annual event to raise awareness about tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America.

Compliance with UND’s tobacco-free campus policy is the responsibility and right of all UND students, staff, and faculty members. Tobacco use is not allowed on UND property. Tobacco use is allowed on city sidewalks adjacent to city streets. An updated map highlighting campus and city property is available at Questions about policy applicability may be directed to the UND Environmental Health and Safety Office by telephone (701.777.3341) or e-mail (

A comprehensive array of quit tobacco options are available to help those who are ready to quit. We invite those who use tobacco to take advantage of the available support:

Free telephone or on-line support and free nicotine replacement resources

Up to $700.00 in coverage for provider visits, medications, and counseling for benefitted UND employees and their dependents

  • Health and Wellness Hub, Memorial Union: or 701.777.2097

Free quit kits and resources

  • Student Health Services, McCannel Hall: or 701.777.4500,

Provider visits and free quit kits for students, medications available for purchase at pharmacy

Please join us in celebrating Kick Butts Day and in supporting a Tobacco-free UND throughout the year!

A “Wake-up Call” for Students: The Importance of Sleep

Ever heard of the phrase, “Sleep is where memories are formed?” Well that is because sleep is quite literally the memory-making machine. For many, college is an exciting and adventurous time of finding out who you are as an individual and becoming the person you’d like to be. College can be a time where some of the most fantastic memories are made… memories that one will want to remember and reminisce of in the future. Getting solid sleep throughout college is extremely important to hold on to those memorable times.

Nowadays, college students are becoming one of the most sleep-deprived populations. Whether it’s the heavy load of course work, sports, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, or the very active social life, students are getting robbed of some essential shuteye. You probably have heard of the general importance of sleep many times before, but you may not know just how strongly inadequate sleep can impact the learning processes in the brain. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, poor sleep affects all three processes involved in learning: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. This means that not getting a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) can have a profound effect on the way the brain receives and stores information, stabilizing and makes memories, and retrieve information when necessary.

Pulling an all- nighter to study hard right before a test when you are in a rush may seem like a great idea at the time- but it actually does little to no help for the individual to actually learn something. Studies discussed by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School conclude that if students don’t get enough sleep, the ability to focus and recall old information is slowed. In fact, the brain will be even less likely to retain any information that was crammed into the brain the day and night before the all- nighter.

So, find a way to balance your time so that all- nighters can be avoided so that you can get the right amount of sleep you need to learn new information and retain memories. Remember that you deserve good sleep as a hard-working college student!

Helpful Hints for getting more sleep:

Recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

1. Go to bed early to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.

2. Try doing something relaxing before bed if you are having trouble falling asleep.

3. Keep your naps less than an hour length and take them before 3pm not to disrupt your night sleep.

4. Wake up at the same time on weekends as during the week. Inconsistent sleep schedules may lead to sleepless nights.

5. Limit caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and at nighttime so that it is easier to wind down in the evening.

6. Dim the lights in the evening (to let your body know it is time to sleep) and let in the sunlight in the morning (to promote alertness).

7. Eat light at night. It’s best to eat a light healthy snack before bedtime because a big meal right before bed will give your body excess energy and make it hard to fall asleep.

For more information or to see the facts, visit:

The Smokeless Tobacco Truth: its harm is just as sinister as cigarettes

Contrary to what some may think, smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokeless tobacco is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes. One dip contains three to five times the amount of nicotine as one cigarette and studies show that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin.

Smokeless Tobacco is not here to save the day or your body from harm; it can, in fact, lead to many dangerous health risks and issues:


  • Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens)
  • Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of human cancer; it can lead to cancers of the lips, tongue, floor of mouth, cheeks, gums, throat, esophagus, larynx, and stomach

Oral Health

  • Smokeless tobacco can cause recession of the gums, gum disease, and tooth decay
  • Other oral side effects include staining of teeth, loss of taste, and bad breath

Reproductive Health

  • Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy highly increases the risks for preeclampsia (i.e., a condition that may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling), premature birth, and low birth weight.
  • Smokeless tobacco use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells
  • Smokeless tobacco is associated with sexual dysfunction


Save The Date!

  • February 17 – 23 marks Through With Chew Week, a week designed to raise awareness of the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco.
  • The Great American Spit Out, on February 21, occurs in conjunction with Through With Chew Week and is a day when smokeless tobacco users are encouraged to quit for a day and, ultimately, quit for good.

Celebrate Tobacco Free UND by participating in Through With Chew week and the Great American Spit Out!

As part of the Pursuit of Wellness, stop by the Memorial Union on February 21 from 11 am – 1 pm to learn more about smokeless tobacco and get armed with quit resources such as a free quit spit kit!

Roll the Dice with your Financial Life

Dimension: Intellectual
Activity: Roll the Dice with your Financial Life. Financial Wellness Office, McCannel Hall, 4th floor.
Friday, February 1st at 10am-2pm

This activity was to attend the grand opening of the Financial Wellness Office. Before attending this event I was unsure of what kindof services this office would be providing students with. I am a junior in college now, so I have been going about this whole college/money thing for three years now and I have learned alot. Before I started college I understood that I needed to save money for the school year because I pay for a majority of things, such as gas and clothes, with my own money. I also thought I knew how to budget my money fairly well, but I learned otherwise my freshman year. I come from a small town where we do not have the opportunity to go a mall or go out to eat to fancy restaraunts, so when I came to college I did not realize how quickly these things would add up. Let’s just say that my money dwindled really quickly and I had to ask my parents for help. I think that this new Financial Wellness Office will be very beneficial to student, whether they think they know what they are doing with their money or not. I like that they can help you create a budget worksheet and help you calculate the true cost of your student loans. My brother is currently a freshman right now and he also struggled right away to balance is money. I tried my best to offer him advice and that did help him to realize that he needed a better plan. Hopefully the Financial Wellness Office can help new students who don’t have someone there to warn them. I also think that in the long run this program will be beneficial to parents because it will save students from having to fall back on their parents.


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