Sleep, Diet, Exercise and Connecting.
Sleep: it is extremely important to get enough good quality sleep coming up to the exams. A tired mind will find it harder to concentrate and retain information. This can be challenging when we are feeling stressed but there are things that can help.
· Develop a bedtime routine. About an hour before bed, it is time to begin winding down. Rather than watching TV or checking your phone, it’s better to begin relaxing and getting ready for sleep. Try listening to relaxing music or downloading a mindfulness app to help you wind down.
· Manage screen time. Our phones can cause a lot of difficulty for us when it comes to sleep. Smartphones emit blue light, which tricks our brains into thinking that it is daytime and prevents the release of chemicals in our brains, which help us go to sleep. Switching off your phone at least an hour before bed, will not only help you get to sleep faster, but will also give you better sleep. If you can’t do without your phone before bed, at the very least use the blue light filter or night mode that comes with most phones now.
Eating: A healthy, balanced diet is very important for both our bodies and our minds. Begin the day with a good breakfast avoiding sugary foods and instead eating slow release energy foods such as healthy cereals and fruit.
Avoid too much sugar in your diet, especially energy drinks. These will give you a quick energy rush but will just as quickly cause your energy levels to crash. It is also important to manage your alcohol consumption on the run up to the exams, as it is not possible to revise the day after excessively drinking.
Exercising: Building exercise into your routine will help you in the weeks leading up to the exams. It will also help to reduce stress and clear you mind. In fact exercise at this time is as important as revision. About 30 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 times a week will help you cope with the run up to the exams.
Connecting: Although you have a lot less free time at the moment, it’s still important to stay connected with family and friends. Without this support, you may begin to feel overwhelmed. Make sure you discuss concerns that you might have with your Parents. It’s also important that you and your friends support each other at this time. Rather than only talking about what you haven’t done, try talking about what you have done and encouraging each other. Alternatively, talk about something besides the exams to give your mind a break.