Note: This post was submitted to Student Caffé by Susan Saurel. Susan Saurel is a passionate writer from Texas and regularly writes content for EssayWritingLand. Though a teacher by training, Susan is currently a project manager for an IT company. She likes sharing her experiences with readers everywhere. We would like to thank her for her submission and credit her as the author of this blog post.
Studying can be stressful and tiring, regardless of whether you’re preparing for an exam or just working on an assignment. The same way your body tires when working out is the same your brain tires when studying. The more tired your brain gets, the less information you retain and the more bored and distracted you become—which can make you stop studying.
Study fatigue makes it take longer to complete what you are doing. Luckily, there are measures that you can take to combat this type of stress and tiredness, such as taking quick breaks, eating well, refreshing yourself, and many others. Below is the complete list.
1. Drink enough water.
You think drinking coffee alone is enough to keep you focused while studying? Think again.
Coffee can help you to stay alert, but it is only effective in the short term; after some time, you will get back to the same feelings of drowsiness and boredom. Coffee isn’t a long-term solution. Drinking enough water when studying, though, will help you significantly when it comes to combating stress and fatigue. Dehydration makes your body work harder, which can make your brain feel exhausted.
You need to drink at least eight cups of water every day to overcome dehydration, with much of this going to boost your brain power. When you’re dehydrated, the amount of information your brain can retain starts to decrease, your ability to concentrate falls, and your body tires. You may find that drinking cold water during a study session helps keep you awake. Warm water (as in tea) may mellow you out and actually make you feel more sleepy. Keep a water bottle on your desk while you study, and force yourself to sip it when you begin to doze off.
2. Get enough sleep.
As you might expect, getting enough sleep can help you stay alert while studying. If you have an exam on Monday and decide to study for it all day on Sunday, then you need to get a good night of sleep on both Saturday and Sunday. The best way to avoid drowsiness during the day is to get seven or eight hours of sleep the night before. Many people think that taking a nap during the day is helpful, but this can affect your study session if you sleep too long or wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle and actually end up groggier than you started. Getting enough sleep helps refresh your brain and body and prepares it for the next day’s tasks.
3. Have some caffeine.
Although caffeine is not an effective method when it comes to relieving stress, it can help stave off your immediate feelings of fatigue while studying. Note that caffeine is only a short-term solution as it works to pep you up for just a few hours; after it’s effects wear off you are back to the same situation you were in before. If you’re desperate and feeling tired before you even start studying, or get drowsy in the middle of your study session, grab a coffee or a tea. Beware of drinking beverages that contain caffeine too late in the day though. You don’t want to ruin your ability to sleep later on.
4. Take breaks between study sessions.
Taking frequent breaks between study sessions will help to refresh and re-energize both your body and brain. Fresh air and sunlight do wonders; when exposed to the outdoors, your body becomes more energetic and less stressed. So, when you lose focus, shut your brain off and leave your study spot. Talk to your friends. Have a snack. Call your mom. Go for a short walk. Do a word search. Work out. When you switch your focus entirely for a period of time, you’ll come back to your studies ready to think of new ways to solve problems.
5. Listen to your favorite music.
Who doesn’t want to have a dance party instead of studying? When you get tired, play your favorite music and dance it out for a song or two. Not only does this get your blood pumping, but music is proven to boost your mood. Pop and rock are great for a dance fest or singalong, but aren’t great to listen to while you study. If you’re one of those people who can’t concentrate without some background noise, make sure that you choose something that doesn’t have lyrics (classical, movie soundtrack, etc.) so that you can really focus on your work and not on the music.
6. Eat well.
A healthy diet can change the way you feel both mentally and physically. Instead of eating and drinking processed foods (like soda, sugary cereal, and instant noodles) that contain large amounts of sugar and sodium, eat natural and nutritious foods. Yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, fruit, nuts and veggies are all going to provide more long-term energy than a candy bar or a pumpkin spice latte. If you’re itching for a snack, choose something with protein and carbohydrates over sugar.
7. Plan out your study sessions.
Having a good study plan in place will help you manage your time in such a way that prevents you from getting burnt out on any one subject. At the beginning of each week, write out a list of all the tasks that you have to get done each day, including classes, extracurricular activities, and sports. Plan your homework time and study sessions around your commitments, before you factor in “for fun” time. Take advantage of the time you have between classes and on weekends when you have large assignments or tests coming up.
The best way to keep your study sessions interesting is to study different subjects throughout the day and ensure you take frequent breaks. Breaking your assignments down into chunks (finishing question one, then taking a break or writing the introduction of a paper, then taking a break, for example) will help you see progress and keep you on track to finish your assignments on time.
8. Keep yourself away from distractions.
Go offline. No, it’s not fun to be so disconnected from all of your friends and social media accounts, but it’s going to greatly increase your productivity. Put your phone on silent mode, sign out of your Facebook or Twitter account, and switch off your computer (if you have to do a reading or are studying from your notes). In other words, give yourself space to study without getting distracted. If you have to use your computer, consider downloading an app like StayFocused to block certain sites for a specified period of time.
What are your favorite ways to stay focused and avoid fatigue while working on your assignments?