6 Top Tips to Help You Stay Healthy and Alert for Studying

By Cloe Matheson

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Image from Unsplash

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

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Image from Unsplash

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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Image from Unsplash

  1. 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.

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Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits in College (Guest Post)

By Dorothy Richardson
Parent, wellness coach, DIY guru

The college experience is formative not just in terms of education, but also in terms of lifestyle. As students move away from their childhood homes for the first time, they have complete control over every facet of their day. What they eat, when they sleep, how much they party, when (or if) they do their homework is all up to them. While this can be a great learning experience for young adults, it also presents potential downfalls if poor lifestyle habits are adopted. Those habits can carry on into adulthood and have negative effects on short and long-term health. With that in mind, college students should make a concerted effort to build healthy lifestyle habits while still in school. Here are four ways to preserve physical and mental health, both now and in the future.

Healthy Lifestyle Seamless Pattern

Establish a Regular Sleep Routine

A regular sleep schedule has numerous positive effects on a college student’s health. According to Scholarships.com, students who get 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis experience improved concentration and reduced fatigue. Those students may also experience a reduced appetite, which can help combat college weight gain. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note, the ill-effects of poor sleep can be severe; teenagers and young adults may suffer from poor academic performances, depression and increased social difficulties.

Unchain Yourself and Get Active

College students can spend long stretches of time sitting in class and studying at their desk. But prolonged sitting can come with consequences. Sitting for long periods with poor posture can place excessive stress on the back, leading to muscular pain and even conditions like spinal stenosis. Students should take breaks throughout their study sessions to get up and get active. Students should also be mindful of how heavy backpacks, poor diets, excessive screen time and other variables can affect their back health, according to Laser Spine Wellness. For tips and features on back health, check out online videos and resources offered by Laser Spine Institute on their Youtube channel.

Avoid Excessive Drinking

Drinking is a common pastime among college students, but it can have damaging consequences both while in college and years into the future. For one, excessive binge drinking can cause damage to the liver and other organs. Heavy drinkers face an increased risk of alcoholism, and it increases the risk of both alcohol poisoning and sexually transmitted diseases and other problems compounded by poor decision making, according to the CDC. And new research coming out of Harvard University suggests excessive drinking during the college years can actually increase an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life, while moderate drinking (up to 3 drinks nightly) can reduce this risk.

When Stress and Sadness Overwhelm, Seek Professional Help

Maintaining mental health can be a serious challenge for many college students. High stress, fluctuating moods, homesickness and depression can all create challenging obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer free or low-cost mental health services to students in need. Students should take advantage of these services to mitigate the negative affects of their mental health conditions. By seeking out professional help, students can develop coping skills that will help them manage their current problems and even give them the tools to handle similar situations in the future.


Learn how to get great grades and stay healthy with The Secrets of Top Students.  Order your copy today!