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Wellness Tips for Studying

Posted February 23rd, 2011 by cws_mcqu

Contributed by Megan Ahlquist

Megan is a Junior at OSU majoring in Nutrition

Unbelievably winter term is already half over.  For the majority of college students this means Round 2 of mid-terms.   I know for me personally, this is when I start getting burned out.  After quizzes, homework, and papers, I can barely muster up the energy for round 2.

Looking for ways to keep your energy steady while studying and maximizing your “mental stamina?” Here are some wellness tips for studying.

For some, studying for mid-terms and finals means late nights, very little sleep, and a whole lot of caffeine and junk food to make it through.  Ironically, these foods satisfy us for the short term, but can send us on a “crash” later on causing even more fatigue.  When we are tired and burnt out that is when the craving for sugar, salt and fat kicks in and willpower goes down.  So while it’s tempting to fuel up of foods high in sugar, fat and salt, a whole grain sandwich or wrap is a much healthier alternative that won’t put you in a catatonic state:)

Two words: midnight munchies.  I know I get them while studying and I’m sure you do too.  I tend to crave sweet foods and admittedly have a weakness for Twix candy bars.   If you are burning the midnight oil, some brain food such as fresh whole fruit is a great option over a candy bar (that will only make you sleepier in the long run).  The fiber in fruit helps sugar absorb more slowly into our bodies and the high antioxidant content can help boost your immune system at a time that it is likely being taxed.   Fresh fruit is available in all of the dining centers; consider grabbing a couple extra pieces of fruit for snacking on later.  Fresh fruit is portable and economical—banana’s, oranges and apples are only $.65/piece in the dining centers.

Let’s talk about sleep. Without sleep we are much more likely to get sick and while I can only speak for myself, getting sick during mid-terms is awful!  Make sure you are getting lots of sleep (at least 7 or 8 hours a night) to keep your immune system strong.  Daily exercise can improve sleep (avoid working out right before bed) and can provide a much needed mental break, giving you an opportunity to re-charge.  Easier said than done, especially during test season, right?  Although exercise is an investment in time, it can improve cognition…in other words, fitting in a daily dose of exercise might help reduce the amount of time you need to study, giving you more bang for your buck.

Be sure to stay hydrated and avoid too much caffeine; now I’m not saying you can’t have your daily dose of coffee just make sure you are drinking lots of water to go with it, ~8 cups/day.  Consider filling up a reusable water bottle and keeping with you; in the dining centers you will find self service ice water stations that you can refill at.

With exercise, lots of sleep, lots of fluids, and making healthy food choices we can improve our “brain power” and stay healthy during mid terms and finals. So be smart, and eat smart.

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