Being a successful student these days means that you need to balance your family and social life, and possibly a work life as well, and somehow find enough time to dedicate to studying. This means that you will have many sleepless nights – some due to stress, and others to late-night study sessions.
Because of such a lifestyle, it’s very easy to burn out and succumb to fatigue. Our body’s energy levels are limited, and they can easily run low if we do not make sure to replenish them regularly. The best way to do this is by maintaining good habits and not neglecting your health.
A bit of effort in this area will take you a long way, and help you function better in all spheres of your life. That’s why we’ve created a list of energy management tips for college students, which are easy to follow but will change your life for the better.
Many of us are guilty of using food just as a means of stopping our stomachs from rumbling. Food is much more than that, though; the sooner you realize it, the better.
If you filled your car tank with gasoline although it’s built to run on diesel, you wouldn’t expect it to perform at its best, would you? The same analogy holds for your body. If you always put junk food into your body, it will not reach its full potential. Instead, you will feel fatigued and depleted of energy.
Your nutrition as a student needs to be composed of ingredients that will support sustainable energy levels throughout the day. By eating a diet full of sugars and saturated fats, with very little fiber, you are causing in yourself a sugar crash.
Instead, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes and grains, and nuts and seeds. Make sure also to eat regularly throughout the day. It is much better to consume more smaller meals than fewer bigger meals, since the latter will leave you sluggish for hours on end. (1)
If you need a snack, eat a banana, a whole-grain bar, or a protein bar, and avoid Snickers and other high-fat sugar bombs.
If you have ever worked out, you know that regular exercise will keep your energy levels high. Even though exercising might make you feel tired physically for a short time, it will replenish your mental energy, and allow you to maintain your focus and vibrancy.
Exercising at least four times a week will counterbalance all the sitting associated with studying, and will also help you concentrate more easily. (2)
When we say you should exercise regularly, that does not mean that you need to go to the gym and do a grueling workout every time that will make you feel exhausted. But, if that’s your thing, go for it!
Instead, what we mean is that you should incorporate some form of physical activity into your weekly schedule. Going to a dance or yoga class also is good physical exercise. However, maybe the most beneficial exercises for boosting focus and concentration are endurance sports, such as running, cycling, or walking.
By taking half an hour to an hour every other day in the week to be active and move your body, you will gain at least double that in quality time you can spend concentrated on studying.
Sleep Well and Nap
Are you one of those people who believe sleeping is a waste of time? It’s true that if you sleep eight hours a day and you live 90 years, you will have slept through 30 years of your life. However, to make the most of the other 60 years, you should do it regularly!
A regular person needs around eight hours of sleep every night to function properly the next day, and to be at their best both physically and mentally. During sleep, our body is hard at work processing what happened the day before, and repairing any potential problems.
If you had a long and focused study session the day before, you should get a good night’s sleep and give your brain enough time to process new information and create neural pathways so that you can access the data the next day.
Don’t hesitate to take a nap sometime during the day, as well. It was discovered that a 20-minute nap is highly beneficial in to keeping energy levels up, and will give you the same energy boost a much-longer sleep session would. (3)
Use a PEMF Device
If you have not heard about PEMF, it’s time that you change that, because it has the ability to improve your life.
PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) is a completely natural and non-invasive form of therapy that can be used by anyone to achieve important health benefits.
PEMF can be used by sick and healthy people alike, and it is especially beneficial for students who have a hard time managing their energy levels, due to the way in which PEMF therapy works.
PEMF therapy is administered with a PEMF device – the most popular ones are PEMF mats, pillow pads, and probes. The process is completely non-invasive, pain-free, and has no known side effects.
A full-body mat is the best solution for students, since you can simply lie on it while you’re studying or relaxing, and it will do its magic.
PEMF therapy has the potential to recharge our cells with energy, reduce fatigue, help us sleep better, restore focus and concentration, boost our immune system, as well as help treat many common diseases. (4)
All of these health benefits are supported by years of scientific research and a great number of reliable studies that confirm PEMF is a good energy management tool for students.
Alternate Between Tasks
Before going to sleep, plan the next day so that it is filled with a variety of tasks. Alternate your time between studying, seeing friends, exercising, relaxing, taking a walk, etc. If you try to binge study for the whole day, it is highly likely that you will burn out quickly. You might have enough energy to pay attention like that for an hour or two, but the rest of your time will go to waste.
A really good technique to stay motivated is to organize your study time in chunks. Study actively, without any distractions, for a given period (25, 30, 40 minutes), and then take a short break (5-10 minutes) to do something relaxing.
Combine several of these periods, and after that take a longer break to do something totally unrelated to studying and get your mind off of it. This way, you will feel much more energized during the day, and you’ll be able to use your time much more efficiently.
The number 1 drink that we associate with studying is coffee. While it can really help you be more alert and restore your focus, you shouldn’t use it as your main choice for hydration when studying. Instead, make sure that you are drinking plenty of water.
To stay well-hydrated, you should drink at least 2 liters of water over a period of 24 hours. Drink a glass every one and a half hours to ensure that you always are getting enough fluids.
Mild dehydration symptoms include everything you do not want to be feeling when you need to study – a headache, bad mood, loss of concentration, low energy, etc. To avoid feeling this way, you need to prevent being even mildly dehydrated.
Once you start feeling really thirsty, it means that it is already too late. Instead, drinking water should be an automatic activity that you do at regular intervals. Keep a bottle of water at your side at all times when studying, and take small sips from time to time. Trust us, it will really make a big difference. (5)
Are you one of those people who claims they cannot study without a TV or a YouTube video playing in the background? You’re probably fooling yourself. A great way to conserve energy as a student is to remove all distractions when studying.
Think about it: You have a limited amount of energy that you can use on a certain number of tasks throughout the day. The more tasks and apps you open on your smartphone, the faster its battery will drain. The same goes for your body.
Apart from having to divide your energy between multiple things, it will also be much harder for you to concentrate on a single task. So, to manage your energy better and to be more efficient, remove all distractions when studying.
If possible, you should have a dedicated study room, which will be separated physically from the area you use for other activities. This way, it will be easier for you to get into the mood for studying when you enter your “study” space.
Make it a rule not to have any sources of distraction in that room, such as your smartphone, TV, laptop (if possible), and so on. You will quickly notice that you are able to do much more, while not feeling as drained as before.
Spend Time in Nature
If you spend all your time in a florescent box, and the only time you leave your room is when you go to classes or a fast food joint, you will burn out quickly.
Humans have evolved in nature and need it to feel at their best. You would be surprised to know how far a 30-minute walk outside goes in keeping your energy levels up and your concentration strong.
Spending some time outdoors every day, or at least a couple of days a week, will keep your body and mind in shape and prevent aging.
This doesn’t mean that you should take a two-hour drive to get to the mountain nearby. Instead, you can simply go to a park in your town, or take a stroll around your campus if it is dense with trees.
If you can, take your study materials with you, and try studying in nature as well. You’ll see how much more energy you’ll have at the end of the day, which you can use for other activities that you like. (6)
Listen to Music
Music is a double-edged sword, when it comes to energy management and studying focus. It can be extremely helpful, or it can make it hard for you to concentrate on the task at hand. It all depends on what genre you choose, and how you respond to it.
Some people find instrumentals very helpful, while songs that have lyrics distract them. Moreover, upbeat rhythms, with frequent changes in tempo, might also serve as a distraction rather than a helpful tool. (7)
If you like listening to music when studying, you should choose mellow and slow songs that will help you get into a groove and concentrate better.
Our personal best choices are classical music and relaxing jazz. You can find numerous YouTube playlists that last for hours, so you do not need to worry about creating your own or repeatedly choosing a song.
As you can see, there are many ways in which you can use your time as a student more efficiently, and manage your energy much better.
You can incorporate either one of these tips, a couple of them, or all of them, to achieve the greatest benefits. Buy a PEMF device and use it regularly, keep a water bottle by your side, go for walks, exercise, and eat well. Feeling fatigued is not something you should accept as normal, which you will realize after following our advice and making it your reality.
This article is a guest contribution by Helen Nichols.
Growing up in Woodbridge, Ontario, Helen has always been interested in healthy living. After graduating high school she worked as personal trainer for 3 years. After realizing her passion for natural healing, she started studying Natural Nutrition Program in The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. After finishing it with perfect 4.0 GPA, Helen has been working in various naturopathic wellness centers for 6 years. In 2011 she received her Advanced Holistic Nutrition Certificate from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is currently a contributing writer to Well-BeingSecrets.com.