Week 2: Physical

Physical well-being is about taking care of your body to help it be at its best. It involves recognizing and adopting healthy habits and mindful choices about food, rest, movement, and substance consumption.


Sleep 101 Challenge: Access one of the following sleep resources and make one change in your life to improve the quality or duration of sleep:


Sleep 101 online course: Middlebury has a new, free, practical and fun 45-minute sleep course developed specifically for students on Campus. To find it visit go/tosleep. Sleep 101 includes a comprehensive overview on sleep’s relationship to health using the most current research. Students who sleep better have higher GPAs. Sleep affects memory consolidation, alertness, problem solving, and creativity. It also has a major impact on athletic performance. To learn more about getting effective sleep for your body, brain, health, and relationships take Sleep 101. Haven’t used Canvas (Middlebury’s Learning Management System) yet? go/tosleep will prompt you to activate your account. Visiting go/tosleep a second time will bring up the course.


Only have 20 minutes? Then enjoy this Ted Talk by Russell Foster in 2013. Russell Foster is a British professor who studies circadian neuroscience.

Only have 10 minutes? Then try this Ted Talk by Jeff Iliff in 2014. Jeff is a neuroscientist who explains how sleep cleans the brain’s waste and improve the health of the mind and body.


Hydration Challenge: Aim to drink at least 2 liters of water every day. That’s 8, 8-ounce glasses of water in one day. Dehydration isn’t just a summer problem – sweat evaporates more quickly under layers and we lose water from breathing outside into the cold air, dry air. Choosing warm drinks like tea and lemon water can help our bodies maintain their temperatures when it’s cold and blustery outside. From a medical standpoint, water intake is critical for optimum body functioning. It lubricates the joints, regulates body temperature, helps food pass through the intestines  – and many more functions! To learn more about the health benefits of adequate water intake, check out this article, Why is drinking water important?


Lighten Up Challenge: Reduced daylight hours in wintertime can disrupt mood and sleep. Get outdoors in the morning for half an hour of daylight exposure. This could mean taking the long way to an early morning class, lingering outside when you let the dog out, or drinking your morning coffee or tea by a window. Can’t spring for the full 30 minutes or don’t have a schedule that gets you outside? Try to spend a few moments facing east in the morning on your way to breakfast, class, or your car. The light is strongest in that direction as the sun rises and might even give you pause to notice light bouncing off of snow-capped trees or icicles on gutters. Exposure to natural light and/or light therapy in the winter months can help to regulate both mood and sleep.


Community Challenge

Walk it Out Challenge: Vermont students and employees, if you’re looking for a place, community, or excuse to move your body (with) this week join Challenge coordinators Barbara McCall and Laura Wilkinson at the indoor track in the Virtue Field House from 12pm-1pm on Thursday March 1st to walk, dance, roll, or otherwise move around the track together. Those who are not located in Vermont, or whose preferred movement modalities are not walking, move in a way and in a place that works for you and tell us about it here! Everyone who joins us at the track or who tells us about their movement will be entered to win one of 25 copies of The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington. She is featured in this week’s Sleep 101 Challenge as well!

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