By Cloe Matheson
When the academic term comes to crunch-time and your professors have apparently conspired to set all your assignments and tests for the same week, you’ll have plunge deep into the purpose of your college life: study. However, studying for long periods can be tedious and tiring if you don’t look after your mind and body properly. Check out the following tips to stay sufficiently healthy and alert to survive – and even enjoy – each of your study sessions.
- Get enough sleep
Avoid the dire end of propping up your eyelids with sticks in your next study session by getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, as you likely already know, the college environment isn’t always amenable to a peaceful night’s sleep.
To give yourself the best chance of uninterrupted rest, switch off any unnecessary electronic lights before you go to bed. Try installing blackout blinds and a door-runner to block out as much outside glare as possible.
- Choose your study spot carefully
As a freshman, you may not always have a private space to do your work. However, don’t feel tempted to write all your essays atop your soft, sleep-inducing bed.
The best study locations are brightly-lit and cool in temperature, with plenty of plugs for your laptop charger, and lots of studious people around to encourage you to work – a school library often matches this perfectly. However, some people work better with some white noise in the background, in which case the nearest Starbucks might be your best bet.
If it’s late and you’re stuck in your dorm room, consider standing up to work. The increased blood flow will help to keep you awake!
- Eat and drink well
Many college diets can be notoriously unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be. Stabilize your blood sugar levels and maintain a good reserve of energy by feeding your body with wholesome, unprocessed foods. If you’re unsure where to start, try dedicating some time each week to learning how to cook new, healthy recipes.
While you’re at it, objectively assess your caffeine habits. You don’t have to cut out caffeine entirely, but gaining your energy solely from cappuccinos and energy drinks isn’t good for your long-term health. Water is the best route to hydration and alertness – and is free straight from the filter tap! Carry a reusable bottle around so you can refill it on the go.
- Move your body
Exercise can be as invigorating as a cup of coffee (yes, really). Whether you prefer early morning gym sessions or mid-study workouts at home, moving your body is a great way of getting your brain ready to work.
- Have a power-nap
If you’re embarking on an all-nighter and are struggling to keep your eyes open, engage the power-nap. Research suggests that 17 minutes is the perfect amount of time to get some shut-eye without lapsing into REM, so set your timer accordingly.
- Get others on board
Having other people to study with makes you far less likely to doze off. Consider starting a Facebook chat with some of the people in your classes, and organizing group study dates to prepare for tests or write assignments. Studying with others increases your chances of academic success and adds an excellent sense of collegiality fun to your – ahem – college experience.
Cloe Matheson – Cloe is a freelance writer based in Dunedin, New Zealand. She loves writing to motivates her readers to learn things and improve their lifestyles every day. Check out more of her writing on Tumblr.