Staying Alive While Studying


Studying at the last minute while downing coffee and energy drinks might seem efficient (you have so much more time for activities!), but you could be learning, performing, and feeling better by studying better. Keep in mind these healthy study habits:

Put down the macchiato

Coffee is fine until the caffeine (and, often, sugar) wears off, taking your energy and concentration with it. Switch to green tea for better hydration and less caffeine. Similarly, energy drinks may have more negative effects than positive, generally taste awful, and cost more than, say, fruit juice with no sugar added (give coconut water a try) or milk. Whether they contain caffeine or not, avoid fad pills and supplements. If you do go with tea or coffee, don’t forget to drink more water, which also helps with hunger and cravings.

Protip: Study sober. Alcohol is high in calories and damages brain cells.

Overcome the Freshman 15 (at any stage of your education)

Fluids alone don’t make a meal, so at least have a proper breakfast, even when you don’t feel like it. Instead of three square meals, have several smaller meals throughout the day – just not before bed, as this may affect your sleep.

Protip: Cocoa might boost your brain function, so have some dark chocolate.

Sleep is for the keen

If the exam is tomorrow and you haven’t finished reviewing your notes, go to bed. Sleeping will do more for your brain than last-minute cramming. For the best sleep environment, make sure your room is as dark as possible (don’t leave your laptop monitor glowing blue through the night), quiet (with white noise if needed), and cool (you will sleep better than if it is warm). Avoid staring at a TV or computer screen before bed, as studies suggest the blue glow may disrupt your sleep. The same goes for strenuous exercise.

Protip: Studying in bed makes you less effective at both studying and sleeping.

Exercise? What is exercise?

Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day to increase circulation and clear your mind. This could be as easy as walking to the grocery store and back. By heading outside, you will – hopefully – get more exposure to sunlight, which lifts your mood and stimulates vitamin D production. Studies suggest Vitamin D may improve your brain function. Exercise also reduces stress, which stunts your memory and learning capacities. Unable to exercise due to injuries? Try some gentle yoga combined with meditation.

Friends lift our grades up where they belong

You probably know at least two people who do yoga (or some other popular exercise or sport) so join them and motivate each other! Mutual motivation is even more important at school, where you can discuss course material and questions with classmates, and prepare for exams together. Helping your classmates study can help you learn, even if you study well alone, and make you feel less stressed yourself. For more ways of dealing with stress, check out this post.

Protip: Share helpful tips you find online with your friends.

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