Time is golden for Ewha students as their exam period approaches. Some students stay overnight and skip meals to save time for reading textbooks thoroughly. If they have exams three to four days in a row, overnight studying is no choice; you cannot help but stay in Ewha’s Library with coffee cans. . However, an irregular life style, a lack of sleep and bad eating habits can be deadly to even a young and healthy student.
Song Min-chul (Seoul National University, 3) visited hospital for an endoscopy after his midterm exams. During his exam period, he studied with late every day for three weeks, which caused dyspepsia, a digestive disorder. His doctor Song has functional dyspepsia, which could have resulted from his irregular sleeping pattern and eating habits during his all-nighters.
“Functional dyspepsia is usually caused by irregular eating habits,” said Professor Kim Seung-un (Medicine). “Staying up late and eating after 10 p.m. makes the gastric juice to secrete excessively more than the amount it normally secrete.” Eating at the right time enables one’s digestive organs to function properly. According to Kim, more students are visiting the hospital every day because of the same symptoms.
“If such digestive disorders continue, they may even cause a gastric ulcer and reflux esophagitis,” said Kim. A gastric ulcer is a break in the normal tissue that lines the stomach and reflux esophagitis the condition caused when acid from the stomach refluxes backwards up into the esophagus, or food tube. She advised students to try to eat and sleep at the right time and never to eat late to prevent getting digestive disorders. “If students really have to eat something after 10 p.m., they should be careful in what they eat. Especially avoid eating chocolates, coffee, and sodas but instead eat vegetables and drink water to prevent digestive problems.”
Irregular habits may also cause breast cancer by the disturbance of melatonin, a type of hormone that reinforces the body’s immune system and protects people from cancer and diabetes. Melatonin secretes at night, especially during sleeping time. However, when staying up late, melatonin becomes insufficient and increases the risk of breast cancer.
According to the white paper of Korean Breast Cancer Society published in 2008, the number of patients with breast cancer has tripled from 1996 to 2007. The Society has also stated that it is assumed that the reasons for this phenomenon are due to irregular habits and stresses that modern people are exposed to. “The number of patients who have breast cancer is certainly increasing and irregular sleeping hours is an important factor to the increase risk of breast cancer,” said Professor Moon Byung-in (Medicine).
“Breast cancer is caused 90 percent by the environment and 10 percent by genetic factors,” said Moon. Life style definitely affects the risk of cancer. To prevent breast cancer, Moon suggested that students who have irregular living habits should modify their life style. Exercising regularly, eating balanced food with low calories, including beans, vegetables, and fruits, sleeping at least seven hours a day, and having a positive way of thinking are important factors in changing one’s life style.
“It may be hard for students to sleep at the right time, for they are busy studying, but should try to sleep at least 7 hours a day and exercise every day to prevent breast cancer.”