When most people think of college, they usually think of parties, course schedules, the freshmen 15 and over studying in a dark back corner of a deserted library at two in the morning. In fact, if you are in college then you probably know someone who spends the day or two before a big exam locked in their dorm room studying with a bunch of cans of Red Bull and coffee. Or maybe you are that person. Do you know what I mean? Staying awake for thirty hours straight, skipping meals, falling asleep at the library and stressing over that big test with that overwhelming feeling of being unprepared. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way at all. Here are three easy steps to successfully study without ending up sleep deprived and cranky.
Source: The Medical Student Blog
1. Stop studying!: Not all together, but do not study for that big exam the day or two before. Studies have shown that over studying or cramming for that big exam does not help at all. In fact, it does the opposite. It stresses you out so much that you will most likely blank than get an A. Your brain also retains more information if you study in a calm and relaxed manner. Try spreading out your study time. You have a syllabus for a reason. Study new material at the end of each week and the week before an exam just review the material: do not cram. If you need to, create a weekly schedule to keep you on task or keep a planner.
2. Sleep: This one is important. You have to make time to sleep, and if you think you can't then cut out a few hours of mindless internet surfing and turn off your phone. Before you know it you will have eight free hours to sleep. You will stay more focused and retain information quicker if you are well rested. Sleep is not just to recharge your body but your brain as well. Sleeping also helps you retain all of the information you learned the day before.
3. Ditch the caffeine: Are you used to drinking a Five Hour Energy or three Red Bulls to stay awake during study sessions? How about those three cups of "much needed" coffee before it even hits midday? If you feel like you need caffeine and sugar to stay awake, study, or go on with your day then you probably are just tired and in need of sleep. Not only are energy drinks harmful for you but they will make you crash before the day ends and you will end up feeling worse than before.
Instead, try eating a well balanced breakfast in the morning loaded with calcium, protein and fruit to keep you going all day long. Also, eat healthy snacks in between each meal or throughout hectic days. Still need to cram past midnight? Drink an all natural fruit smoothie to wake you up and get you energized. If it's still not doing the trick and you feel like you need caffeine, then splurge on one small cup of decaf coffee.