Top tips for dealing with exam stress and preventing burnout
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With end of term exams approaching in the next few weeks, Silentnight’s sleep expert Dr Nerina offers the following advice to help you get a good night’s sleep. 1. Avoid nutritional stress Eat healthily and stay well hydrated. Snack healthily to maintain blood sugar levels so that your brain is able to absorb information. Avoid caffeine after 2pm so that you can optimise sleep quality. 2. Take regular breaks Our ability to concentrate runs is cycles of roughly 90 minutes. After this time the working memory in the prefrontal cortex shuts down and we stop retaining info. Even a five to ten minute break can help to ‘unload’ the working memory so we come back to the task with renewed focus. Get up and move around, eat a piece of fruit, avoid checking emails and going on the internet – the aim is to give your brain a complete rest. 3. Engage a different part of the brain Related to the above, give yourself a break by doing something totally different with your brain such as juggling, using a hula hoop or even playing darts. Again, helps to empty the working memory. 4. Get good sleep Practise good sleep hygiene, wind down before you go to bed by reading or watching something easy. Don’t study in bed and try to have at least 1 hour free from technology (Facebook/Twitter included) before getting into bed. Learn how to power nap. Researchers have shown that even a five to ten minute power nap at some time between 2 and 5pm can significantly enhance cognitive performance. 5. Awareness Pay attention to any ‘unusual’ symptoms that have started to pop up such as headaches, insomnia, IBS, appetite changes, skin problems, tearfulness, anxiety or depression. These could be signs that you are not coping.
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