Studying can be stressful and put a strain on not only your mind but also on your body. You can make this a lot easier by doing a few simple things.
We tend to eat foods that aren’t time-consuming to prepare (mostly take-out and deep-fried), full of saturated fats, we drink loads of coffee and caffeinated drinks to keep awake for those all-nighters and we also love to snack during study time and while snacking is good it proves to not be so great when we are snacking on sugary treats. All these things we do to get through studying may seem to help now but are pulling you back in more ways than one.
Food and nutrition
Try your best to eat fresh fruit and vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables), whole grains, dairy products, nuts and seeds, biltong (to snack on), fatty fish (sardines), meat and eggs. Grab an apple and nuts when you have a sugar craving. To keep your blood sugar stable is plan A. When your blood sugar drops your concentration, your mood and energy drops. The higher it peaks the lower it drops, and it pushes you to eat more sugary things. A vicious cycle if you ask us!
Coffee is a better alternative to energy drinks but should be drunk with caution. Too much coffee could leave you in a position where you are unable to concentrate and where you are feeling too jittery to even hold your pen. Dependency on coffee can also lead to feeling more fatigued in the long run. Remember to drink extra water when you drink coffee because of the dehydrating effects of coffee.
Green tea is a great alternative to high caffeine options. It provides antioxidants and can boost your concentration
Sleep! And it's free!
Do you know why your sleep quality is so important?
We need to sleep specifically so that the brain can focus on cleaning itself out each night. This is done by the Glymphatic system.
The clear cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain is what is responsible for draining toxins from the brain, much like how the lymphatic system removes waste from cells. While you sleep, your brain is busy sweeping and mopping the floor, washing the dishes, and taking out the trash to prepare for the next day. Studies show that bad sleep cycles and/or interrupted sleep cycles can impair your memory and cognition.
8 hours of sleep is optimal, we need proper sleep so that we can recharge our batteries and function properly.
Physical effects of sleep deprivation are:
- Poor concentration, irritability, aggression, apathy, paranoia, slowed thinking, lack of energy, reduced attention span, mood changes, poor or risky decision making, loss of sex drive and health problems.
- Information overload slows down productivity. Simply put, it shuts down your brain. Computers emit blue light that can make you melatonin deficient, and cause sleeplessness. Read more ….
Not drinking enough water can impair cognitive function. The volume of fluid within our body helps to support cerebral blood flow. When we are dehydrated or have consumed to many non-hydrating beverages such as coffee, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, juice or alcohol; we can have impaired cerebral blood flow. This can lead to fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration and memory, dizziness, and poor waste removal.
Benefits of drinking water include improved concentration, balanced moods, better sleep, sustained memory function and relief and prevention of headaches.
By drinking water and staying hydrated, you’re providing your brain with what it needs to continually perform at its best. Not only will you feel better physically, but you’ll be mentally strong and ready to tackle the day ahead.
Move your body!
Fitness isn’t only good for your physical body but also plays a large role in maintaining a healthy brain. Exercising strengthens connections between brain cells. Jump on a small trampoline, skip, dance, walk, run. Anything! Just move! We sit for hours at a time when studying and just taking a walk or stretching will get the blood flowing in your body again which will also help get more oxygen to your brain.
Get your heart pumping and blood moving! If you don’t use it you’ll lose it!
Supplements that may support brain function:
- OMEGA 3 - Good fats or omega 3 fatty acids as they are known, are essential fatty acids. They are called essential as the body is not able to make it on its own. Research has shown that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to difficulty concentrating, learning, and behaving!
- Rhodiola -A potent ‘’adaptogen’’ it helps the body adapt to stress. One of the most important chemicals in the brain is serotonin that plays a major role in mental function as a 'chemical messenger', helping nerve function and keeping our mood elevated. During stress, serotonin levels drop, and this affects our mood. Studies suggest that Rhodiola may improve the body's ability to produce serotonin and reduce symptoms of sleep disturbances, low energy and daytime sleepiness. It is great for stamina, mental capacity, and immunity.
Mindset - Mindset is a natural brain food formula. It has a multitude of uses which include helping concentration, stress, and ADHD.
Mindset is a natural neurotransmitter precursor. This proprietary formula contains only natural ingredients that nourish the brain and restore its depleted neurotransmitters. Considered to be one of the best natural stress management formulas, it is also approved by the Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder Support group for use on children with these problems.
- Lions Mane: Enhances brain function, improves mental health and overall wellbeing. Improves immunity etc.
- Brain health: A cocoa flavoured nutritional supplement that tastes great. It improves intellectual function, learning, memory, concentration, improves brain/body communication, and reduces mood swings and stress.
Drink enough water, go for a walk, laugh, do fun things (play board games), get enough rest and take care of yourself, there is no point in achieving without a healthy, happy body and mind. Remember that your body drives you - take care of it and it, and it will take care of you.
Article by: Alexia and Marna