No one ever said finals week is easy. Late-night cramming accompanied by cup after cup of coffee can take its toll on your body, not to mention all of the test stress. But while you strive to review as many books as possible to prepare for your test, don’t forget your health. After all, if you’re sick and uncomfortable during your tests, every effort you’ve made might be in vain. Here are some tips on dieting, dressing and sleeping you can follow to stay energized as you wrangle your finals.
Food and drink
The most important thing to remember about eating and drinking is to do just that: eat and drink. It’s easy to forget in the midst of intense studying, but your brain needs sustenance if you have any hope of retaining information.
1. Eat healthily and regularly
Grabbing an Orion cake from the vending machine is tempting, but it’s important to stick to fresher, more nutritious foods. A banana or orange with some trail mix or yogurt will fill you up better than junk food. Don’t disrupt your food schedule too much and freak your body out. Eat a wholesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same times you always do.
2. Avoid take-out and junk food
It’s easy to chow down on greasy take-out and fast food sparingly. But it could also leave you feeling uneasy in the end. Instead, reward yourself once finals are over.
3. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water, and then drink some more. Nothing else will help your mind stay clear and keep your energy levels high. Sugary soft drinks will do no good. Spice up your water with fruits like lemon, or swap it for unsweetened flavorful tea, which rehydrates just as well as water.
4. Moderate caffeine intake from coffee and energy drinks
Everyone could use a quick energy boost, but too big of a buzz could leave you feeling anxious, unable to sleep or focus. The last place you need to experience caffeine withdrawal is in the middle of your exam.
In addition to eating and drinking, it’s also important how you dress for exams.
1. Layer up
As temperatures and humidity rise, you’ll want to stick to something short-sleeved as a top, whether it’s a flowing graphic tank top or a comfy T-shirt. That said, it could get chilly in the café or exam room if the air conditioner is cranked up to compensate for the weather outside. Be sure to throw your favorite hoodie or oversized cardigan into your bag to make sure you’re not shivering by the time you get to Question 8.
2. Stay cozy
You’ll want loose, flexible clothing from top to bottom – particularly something you can doze off in at a moment’s notice. If it works for a runner traversing the city streets, it’ll work for you as you plough through that last stack of notecards.
3. Accessorize, but not too much
During finals week, it doesn’t hurt to dress things up a little bit and throw on a pair of earrings or a bracelet, but the most important thing is to stay casual and comfortable. Too much chunky jewelry could throw off that delicate balance.
All of that studying during finals week will be for nothing if you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is all too common as the semester wraps up, but it’s also worth avoiding to ensure your GPA stays in top shape.
1. Ensure solid sleep
Devise your time meticulously to stay ahead of the game. You know your body, your study habits, and your finals schedule, so plan accordingly to squeeze in six to eight hours of solid sleep. If the trek back home would make you lose too much precious studying time, scope out a comfortable spot in the library to catch some sleep. No judgment. It’s finals week, and you’re not alone.
2. Take naps
Take time for short naps here and there as well. Put your head down or lie down and set an alarm for half an hour to get some quick power sleep to recharge and wake up more alert, if that sort of thing works for you.
3. Keep your environment relaxing
Dim the lights, put in some earplugs, or throw on some background music to help yourself fall asleep and give your body a soothing respite from the stress of finals week. This may be tough with an abundance of coffee and computer screens, but avoid stimulants before getting some sleep (and stay hydrated).