By: Lucy Wyndham
As a student it can be hard to keep up with the demands of your course. Excelling academically involves a great deal of reading, research and high standard academic writing, not to mention meeting regular deadlines. In order to succeed in your studies without putting too much pressure on yourself or burning out in the process, the ability to be organised and use your time effectively is paramount. In this article we will look at some top tips that will help you be more effective so you can work smart and not hard.
Eating the right diet is the key to long lasting health and wellbeing, and the food that you eat can have a huge impact on your concentration levels and brain function. The brain is the most energy demanding organ in the body, so in order to make sure that you are operating at peak performance your brain needs regular topping up with fuel. The main energy source for the brain is glucose, research shows that the brain uses up more glucose in the body during mentally challenging tasks, and because your brain cannot store glucose, grazing on the right foods throughout the day will focus you and keep the cogs turning.
Energy giving foods
Eating a diet rich in fruit and veg and low GI carbs is good food for the brain. The body can also make its own glucose from protein and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish. Eating a balanced range of these energy giving foods will help keep you focused for longer, sleep better and also boost your memory.
Get Enough sleep
Trying to decide whether to stay up and study or go to sleep? The answer is simple, go to bed! Good quality sleep is important while studying as it plays a key role in memory consolidation. This is why it is particularly crucial that you sleep well the night before an exam, as the better the sleep, the better your information recall when it matters the most.
Take regular breaks
Spreading out your study time rather than cramming in too much in one go will also help you remember and recall what you have learnt more effectively. This little fact is substantiated by a whole body of research which demonstrated that distributing your work aids learning. Taking regular breaks will help improve your focus and attention. Whereas sticking at it for periods even longer than 90 minutes will elicit a reduction in your attention span. So while it can seem tempting to power through and get it out the way, this can be inefficient as your learning and recall will increase if you spread it out.
Relieve stress through self-care
Finally, it is important to take time out and do the things you enjoy. It’s easy to become absorbed in your studies and start pushing things out of your life. However, too much of the same thing, particularly intensive work or study can raise stress levels and leave you feeling irritable. You should still continue to maintain the same routines and hobbies, taking your mind off things, being physically active and having some fun will help energise and recharge you. Returning to your studies afterwards will feel like less of a chore, and you’ll find that you will get more done in the long run.