Studying can be extremely draining, but if you are trying to pass a difficult exam or write an important paper, it is something you need to be able to do for long periods to get the kind of results you want. For people in high school or at college, periods of studying at home tend to mainly fall before exam seasons, however for people who have chosen online degree or postgrad courses as more and more people are now doing all of the lectures and resource studies tend to be done at home in a similar way to revising, meaning that those periods of heavy focus are all the more frequent.
Whether you are coming up for an exam period or you are doing a course like the MSW online (masters in social work), you can actually improve your own ability to focus during long study sessions by choosing what you eat and drink carefully. Here are five things you should add to your study snack rotation:
Bananas are an excellent snack as they release energy slowly thanks to their complex carbohydrate make-up. A lot of people don’t realize that 20% of the carbs we consume are actually used by the brain rather than the muscles, so getting quality carbs rather than simple carbs is as important when studying as it is when exercising. Bananas are also an excellent source of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter that also makes you feel positive.
Any kind of chocolate can actually have brain enhancing, nootropic effects, however dark chocolate is the best because it is also relatively high in antioxidants. The fact that it tastes good and gives you a sweet treat while you are working can also help you relax and enjoy your study more.
You can get a lot of energy bars and energy drinks that contain an ingredient called guarana. Guarana is a substance that acts in a fairly similar way to caffeine boosting noradrenaline levels and making you feel more alert. However, it tends to release more slowly, so you don’t get an immediate spike in energy followed by a crash. If coffee and other sources of caffeine give you headaches, sleep problems or make you jittery, guarana can be a good alternative, but for most people it is safe to use both.
Nuts and Seeds
Protein is very important, given that your brain cells (and indeed all of your other cells) are made of it. Obvious sources of healthy lean protein like chicken and fish, or legumes if you are vegetarian, are good to include in your meals, but for snacking, pick nuts and seeds which are protein rich and nutritionally dense.
Eggs contain all of the essential amino acids (there are 27 of them), which are the building blocks of the proteins your brain needs. Snacks like devilled eggs are ideal for when you are studying.
Try using some of these snacks rather than fairly empty calories and simple carbs (like chips and candy). You will feel more focused and more energized, and also healthier.