Study leave is starting soon and, across the country, students will be preparing for (seemingly endless) weeks of revision, followed by several more weeks of exams.
With the routine of school and sixth form gone, study leave can be a tricky period to navigate. Below, I’ve included six tips to stay energised this exam season.
When your regular school alarm stops going off every morning, it’s easy to start staying up later at night and snoozing past noon in the morning. However, research tells us that sleep is really important when revising.
Sleep allows us to consolidate knowledge, and a regular sleep schedule will stop you feeling tired in the day. So make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night and try to go to bed at a similar time each night.
There are lots of free apps that offer the ability to track your sleep, plus they can send you a reminder in the evening when it’s time to wind down for bed. I would recommend downloading one to your phone to help track your sleep schedule during exams.
Besides sleep, sun exposure can be a key contributor to those slumps in energy you might be familiar with. Spending even 10 minutes outside, especially in the morning, will help kickstart your energy levels for the day.
We know that one of the regulators of our circadian rhythm is light exposure, and sunlight is second to none. I like to take my morning coffee outside when I’m revising- getting some sunlight and fresh air in the morning can help you feel in touch with nature and offer a boost of motivation.
However, just as light exposure can be fantastic in the morning, it can be quite detrimental in the evening. Especially ‘blue light,’ or the type emitted by electronic devices. The best advice is to avoid technology in the hour before you sleep.
But, if you can’t manage this, then consider installing an app to your device to adjust the colour of light emitted as the sun sets. Some phones and computers offer this feature in their settings, but if yours doesn’t then try looking for a free application online.
I know I’ve talked about my morning coffee but, speaking from experience, developing a caffeine reliance during exams is a sure-fire way to sleepless nights and increased exam anxiety. If you already drink caffeine regularly, keep consuming the amount you normally do.
However, don’t increase your consumption in the hope of ‘powering through’ revision. Caffeine is a stimulant with a host of effects on your body and, while you can develop a tolerance to its energy boosting effects, you are less likely to build tolerance against its other effects- think restlessness and heart palpitations.
When exam season comes around, I know how easy it is to end up snacking on chocolate and crisps. After all, they are quick and easy to eat, and often give you a quick sugar high. However, you are much better off choosing complex carbohydrates and healthy fats to snack on.
These will keep you feeling fuller for longer so you don’t have to leave your desk every hour for a snack! Some of my go-to revision snacks include apple slices dipped in almond butter, carrot sticks with hummus, and Greek yogurt with berries.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to boost your energy levels is to do some exercise. So grab your trainers and choose a workout that will get your heart racing.
One of my favourites for exam season is a home workout: you can find them on YouTube, plus they are quick, easy and generally don’t need any equipment!
Better yet, do your exercise outside and get some Vitamin D at the same time. Not only will the activity boost your energy, but it is scientifically proven to help manage your stress levels!
Words: Kirsty Morrison
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