A+ study tips
It’s time for final exams. That means students are going days without sleep, surviving on energy drinks and candy bars – a combination that’s not good for your brain or your body, according to Dr. Paola Portela, a pediatrician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Even if you do not feel prepared, research says it’s better to sleep than pull an all-nighter. According to a study performed at the University of California Los Angeles, high schoolers who decreased their amount of sleep in order to study actually did worse on a test than those who slept longer.
“Try to study in advance and sleep well,” Dr. Portela says. “Our bodies need seven to nine hours of sleep in order to think clearly and reduce stress. Staying up late studying can actually make us more forgetful and more stressed.”
Also, don’t try to study all day long. Take a break and go for a walk, read a book, make a healthy dinner, catch up with a friend or exercise. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and help refocus on studying, according to Dr. Portela.
Make sure to have a well-balanced breakfast along with two other meals and healthy snacks. It might be easier to grab candy out of a vending machine than pack a healthy snack, but eating healthy meals helps the brain grow and learn says Dr. Portela. Junk food gives you instant energy or a sugar high that negatively affects your concentration and memory and will end in a food coma or sugarcrash.
Another tip: Avoid “study drugs,” which can have serious health consequences when they are not used appropriately. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that Adderall can cause irritability, paranoia, impulsive behavior and hallucinations.
Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League university has misused ADHD drugs to improve school performance, according to a new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ meeting.
“Stay away from pills or drinks that promise to energize or help you focus as they can lead to dependency and do more harm than good,” Dr. Portela says.
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