Our Health and Wellness bloggers, Body Fusion are back to offer some advice for those who want to enure they are studying as effectively as possible.
Nutrition and Strategies for Effective and Enjoyable Study (Yes it’s possible!)
Does this sound like the “study” version of you?
- Up too late and way past bedtime
- Drinking lots of caffeine
- Stressed and foggy minded
- Trouble sleeping
- Breaking out
- Chocolate bar wrappers scattered artistically around you desk…
STUDY: Necessary, but at times tedious and stressful? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love learning but it’s a hard road.
Possessing a high achieving personality, I studied like crazy whilst in high school whilst simultaneously chasing sporting dreams and trying to make sense of being a hormonal teenager. I then progressed to a five-year double degree at Sydney University across two campuses in which an enjoyable daily coffee became a social habit.
If I think back to what kept me sane and helped me qualify into my dream job it would be:
- Adequate sleep
- Study breaks
- Nutrition & Hydration
Exercise has proven to have phenomenal health benefits including assisting in maintaining a healthy weight, reducing chronic disease risk and promoting positive mental health. When we exercise it releases endorphins that make us feel GOOD. Regular exercise has been linked to reducing stress, anxiety and depression, boosting self-esteem and improving sleep! Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?!
I would often have study for 6-7 hours a day and feel maxed out. Then in a study daze I would throw on my worn shoes and stumble out of the house, running in time to some happy tunes for an hour. Low and behold I found I could come back home, shower, refuel and CONTINUE to study but with a clear head.
Studies have found that when comparing the brain of someone who is sleep-deprived to the brain of someone who has achieved normal sleep, what results is reduced blood flow to various brain regions and a slowed metabolic rate. These factors are linked to impaired cognitive function and behaviour.
There comes a point where you just need to go to bed. I always made sure I was still asleep by 10.30 for a good 8 hours. No point trying to jam-pack your brain if it means the next day you’re exhausted when you try to study again or learn in class. Let’s be realistic, it won’t happen, we will retain less.
How often are your study breaks based around food?! Lets put it this way, obsessive pantry raiding isn’t un-common. This can lead to overeating and extra snacking- sometimes on the wrong things of course.
You’d be surprised how effective a 15-30 minute walk can be or a chat to your friend on the phone about what’s coming up for the weekend. Some gentle online yoga to get you moving and mindful also works a treat. Don’t feel guilty! Breaks are essential to maintain focus and attention.
I found it essential to still try and spend at least one occasion over the weekend with some friends. This took my mind off study and reminded me that I was a human being. When I progressed to university I extended this to travel in between my semesters. I always came back fresh and ready for another round.
Nutrition and Hydration
Nutrition and hydration play HUGE roles in maintaining healthy brain function:
- Many of the nutrients that we get from food directly influence the neurotransmitters in our brains that communicate information.
- Hydration also helps to connect out brain circuits and keep brain cells efficient. When dehydrated we can feel foggy, get headaches, mood swings and feel fatigued.
- Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory.
- Too much caffeine can negatively affect sleep and anxiety levels
If you are able to focus on these four key areas I assure you study will not only be more enjoyable but for effective! That means more time to participate in activities outside of study.
At Body Fusion, we work with adults, children and families to develop individualised and tailored advice. We understand the importance of food and nutrition during all stages of life. As Accredited Practising Dietitians, food and eating is our speciality, and we can help you find what’s right for you.
Address: 175 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066
Phone: 0422 297 271
Web: Body Fusion
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