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Sleeping habits during exams

Sleep has a crucial role in the normal working of our body. We need sleep to give relaxation to our body and mind as well. As students a deficiency in sleep might create disturbances in our daily routine and studying pattern as well

It is usually during exams or while preparing for exams that students face deprivation of sleep. Either naturally or they shorten their sleeping time so that they can dedicate more time for studies. Little do they know that reducing sleep time will only create further problems and may also cause dizziness and uneasiness in them.

  • Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Do not be one of those people who allow bedtime and awakening time to drift. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Even if you are retired or not working, this is an essential component of good sleeping habits.
  • Avoid napping during the day. If you nap throughout the day, it is no wonder that you will not be able to sleep at night. Afternoon nap isn’t bad only if you limit the nap time to 30-45 minutes. This will give you energy for the evening and also you’ll be able to sleep well at night.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes beverages too such as coffee, tea and many sodas.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime- These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed - Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
  • Use comfortable bedding. Uncomfortable bedding can prevent good sleep. Evaluate whether or not this is a source of your problem, and make appropriate changes.
  • Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. If your bedroom is too cold or too hot, it can keep you awake. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.
  • Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep. Don’t use the bed as study table or recreation room. Let your body "know" that the bed is associated with sleeping.
  • Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
  • Don’t take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a "worry period" during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
  • Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.
  • Get into your favourite sleeping position. If you don’t fall asleep within 15–30 minutes, get up, go into another room, and read until sleepy.

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Eat your way to success

Nutrition would probably be the last thing in our mind during exams. However, taking right food and drink can energise your system, improve your alertness and sustain you through long exam hours.

If you feel drowsy and lazy during exam period, it may be due to your diet. Yes, you read it right, diet plays an important role in forming your study pattern. Wrong dietary choices can make you feel sluggish and jittery at times. Here are a few tips help you eat your way to success.

Feed your brain

Our brain is one of the smallest organs in the body, however, it uses up to 20% of the energy we need on a daily basis. It therefore becomes important to keep it sufficiently supplied by glucose throughout the day. This will ensure that you do not lose concentration during studying and also during exams. Breakfast supplies us the energy necessary for the whole day and hence should never be skipped, even if you are short of time.

Time is precious and so is your health

During exams students often believe in lessening the time of eating and if living away from home, cooking. Therefore they go for fast foods or semi-cooked food. Try to avoid making only high-fat, nutrient-poor food choices. Plan and look for convenient and nutritive food choices well before exams.

Prepare – Not just for you exams

When you are busy preparing for your exams, try to take out some time and make some home-made meals and freeze them separately. This will be a time and life saver during exams.

Smart snacking

More energy is consumed when you are studying as compared to normal days. This gives rise to cravings for snacks. Choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, popcorn, dry fruits etc to keep you going throughout the day.

Keep hydrated

Dehydration often makes us feel lethargic, irritable and tired. It also affects our concentration which may make it more difficult to study. Aim for a minimum of 1.5 to 2 ltrs of fluid per day, which can be in the form of fruit juice, herbal teas, water etc.

Also, try to reduce your intake of drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and some cold drinks as they can act as mild diuretics. These can cause the body to lose fluid and increase the need to use the toilet, which nobody wants to deal with during exams.

To get rid of stress during exams, clear your mind and take short breaks from your study and do little exercises when possible.

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