The days leading to exams are a time of intense pressure and stress for students. Students try to spend as much time as possible, studying and completing their revisions. In doing so, their biggest enemy becomes sleep. Of course, no one wants to waste their precious time sleeping during their exam preparation. However, it becomes a serious issue if a student becomes drowsy during regular study hours, because of lack of sleep. So how can students avoid sleep during their study sessions? This is one of the most sought-after questions about studies, especially when it comes to preparation for an important exam like the NEET PG.
When you ask exam-toppers, they will often tell you strategies and tips on how they do their best to avoid sleep. That way, they can increase their study hours significantly. These students can study for a long stretch without feeling drowsy. Nevertheless, an important thing to remember here is not to compromise on sleep or rest prior to a competitive exam like the NEET PG exam, as this could negatively affect a student’s performance in the examination.
Methods To Avoid Sleep During Study
Sleep is a huge hurdle to overcome, especially if you desire to study for longer hours. Falling asleep or feeling drowsy during exam preparation could have a negative impact on your overall exam preparation, focus and concentration, and could keep you from succeeding in your NEET PG exam. To tackle the issue of sleeping during study hours, we have put together a list of tips and tricks. Without further ado, let’s find out ways to alter your study routine, and make the most of your waking hours –
The anatomy of the human body is such that it has an active response to natural signals like dark and light. This is because the human body is built to react in a certain manner to such natural signals. There also exists an indirect relationship between sleep and light. A brightly lit room can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep in.
Merely having lighting is not enough. Sleepiness can strike even in an illuminated room, especially a room which is not as dimly lit. So, what matters here is a well-illuminated room. A well-lit room can make it difficult for a student to fall asleep. There is proven scientific evidence to substantiate this relationship between sleep and light. The ability to remain awake in light is due to the activation of protein in the body, which happens on exposure to light.
When it comes to studying, good lighting, especially natural lighting, helps immensely. In case it is dark outside, a single small source of light like a lamp is not enough to maintain your concentration. This tends to cause drowsiness among students, especially during their study hours. If you are studying at night, make sure your surroundings are well lit instead of being dimly lit.
A student’s sitting position has a huge effect and significant repercussions, during a study marathon. A correct sitting posture allows students to study for longer hours. The main question is – what is meant by a ‘correct sitting position’? It is a position in which one’s back is upright and supported. A student’s study table should be at an appropriate height, and placed in front of their upper body.
This position is highly beneficial for a student. It assists the mind in staying active while studying. In contrast, a relaxed position, where the body leans on either side, could lead to lethargy and inactivity. Studying in a leaning or relaxing position can make the mind less active, and could take away focus and concentration. This kind of a relaxed position triggers lethargy. To avoid this, try to maintain good posture.
One can always be tempted to get into a more comfortable position while studying. However, that only makes it harder to stay alert, and active, for concentration and information retention. Did you know that there is a direct linkage between lying down and the parasympathetic nervous system? When lying down, the activity in the aforementioned region increases. This parasympathetic nervous system is then responsible for controlling functions like digestion and resting. On the other hand, there is also an association between sitting upright and sympathetic nervous system activity. This neural region is responsible for controlling functions like attentiveness.
This linkage is also not a mere claim but supported by scientific evidence titled ‘The effect of body posture on cognitive performance: a question of sleep quality’ – an analysis by a 2014 study (published by Front Hum Neurosci) to check whether sitting upright or lying down has an impact on the performance of the working memory on a test. According to the authors, when the participants were lying down, their sleep quality had a negative impact on the test performance. In contrast, sleep quality had no negative impact on the test performance when they sat upright.
Another important point to remember is that sitting upright can make the mind active even when the person may have been feeling tired. This way, a person can study with alertness and focus even in a state of tiredness.
Keep your body hydrated
Hydration is very important to stay awake and avoid sleeping during study sessions. Water must be drunk in sufficient amounts to keep the body hydrated. Moreover, a hydrated body will keep you awake during studies. This is a popular trick that some students apply to keep the mind active. Drinking water in considerable amounts has another advantage. It has to do with the frequent need to urinate. The urge to urinate regularly can take away the sleepiness of the body. Also, the need to urinate makes the body move positions. This keeps the body active and also helps in avoiding sleep.
Drinking water in sufficient amounts also helps to keep the brain hydrated. Consequently, there is an increase in a student’s retention power and brain memory. One of the consequences of dehydration is fatigue and sleepiness. Dehydration can significantly reduce the energy of the brain. Sometimes, there may be disruption of cognitive functions due to dehydration, making the task of focusing more difficult than usual.
An examination carried out by a 2017 study published by S. Karger AG, Basel regarding ‘Effects of dehydration on brain functioning’ sheds light on various critical effects. The authors reported that dehydration may impair the perception, alertness, short-term memory, concentration and mathematical ability of a person. This may happen even in mild or moderate cases of dehydration.
As such, it is of paramount importance to keep the body hydrated to keep the brain active. A well-hydrated brain will be able to focus throughout the day. This need becomes even more important in warmer climates, like in India. In addition, students that engage in physical activity on a daily basis, should also drink greater quantities of water to keep the body well-hydrated.
Maintenance of appropriate diet
Diet is an aspect that many students tend to ignore during their exams. Some avoid a sufficient and filling diet, because they tend to get drowsy after eating. Drowsiness is natural after a heavy meal as a heavy meal makes the body significantly relaxed. This can make it difficult for the body to keep awake, as lethargy sets in after consuming a lot of heavy food. Due to this, the retention power of the brain is reduced. The need to lie on the bed and comfortably sleep becomes too tempting to resist.
So, what is the ideal way to deal with such a scenario? The solution is simple. Consume smaller quantities of food at a higher frequency. Instead of consuming two to three heavy meals, a student should eat smaller meals, which are more lightly prepared – this means avoiding junk and fried food. A student can have small meals that are high on protein, 5-6 times a day. This strategy will help the body to stay active and avoid feeling drowsy during a study session.
However, diet alone is not going to help here. What also matters is what you eat during studying. Students must stay away from junk food, avoid sugary snacks and meals prepared with heavy fats, as such meals can make you heavy-eyed and sleepy.
Alternatively, one shouldn’t avoid healthy meals. Avoiding a sufficient and balanced diet can also trigger fatigue. As such, the other extreme of staying away from food is not going to help either. Rather, one must adopt a balanced view here.
A protein-rich diet helps keep the mind active during exam days. However, the best thing to do is to go for a balanced diet that has carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, healthy fat, etc. Some components of a healthy diet are whitefish, olive oil, lentils, beans, coconut oil, white meat, peanut butter, beef, vegetables, nuts, peas, oats, brown rice, salmon, nuts, beans, nut butter and eggs.
Proper sleep schedule
A proper sleep schedule is another factor that often gets ignored by students. It is best to ensure that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep in a day. Anything less than 6 hours a day will have a negative impact on the brain’s learning capacity. Sufficient sleep is very important for the mental well being of the student.
Another important factor is sleeping early. Going to bed early is the key to enhancing the brain’s processing power. It provides an adequate amount of sleep. Studying early in the morning will also increase the alertness and focus of the brain. The individual’s mind will also feel much more energetic in the early morning. This is why a student is able to retain a morning study session much more deeply.
Staying awake at late hours is not a smart approach. That is because the mind becomes sluggish and ultimately, the processing power of the brain gets reduced. Late at night, the student develops a slower pace while solving problems that require considerable concentration. Learning new things also becomes more difficult late at night. The trick here is to complete the easy portions of your syllabus late at night. This tactic will keep the brain active and help avoid sleep. Another trick is to reserve interesting topics for late-night studies. During the wee hours, learning topics that you find interesting proves very helpful in avoiding sleep.
Sleep significantly affects memory, motivation, attention and mood. As such, there is an association between sleep and poor academic performance. While one needs to put in waking hours to study, it is important to get enough sleep so that one doesn’t feel sleepy during study hours.
Study with an alert state of mind
For a study routine, avoid sitting down in a static position for long hours. This is extremely necessary to avoid falling into a state of sleepiness. So, whenever you feel sleepy, quickly stand up and start moving around. A student must take regular breaks from studying to stretch their legs and hands. Stretching increases blood circulation, which is very effective in avoiding sleep.
Movement is scientifically proven as a crucial energy booster. In addition to helping you stay awake, it may also help in relieving any exam stress. That is why you should at least incorporate a physical act, like walking, into your study sessions. This helps in steering clear of any sleep-induced laziness and can also enhance focus and concentration.
To enhance attention during your study hours, try the following measures –
- Use visuals like charts, diagrams, maps, etc to remain engaged.
- Study out loud so it helps you listen to yourself and retain information better.
- Teach what you have learnt to a peer/ within a study group.
Sleep seems like an enemy when preparing for an examination. Of course, it is very undesirable when students are looking to expand study hours as much as possible. Thankfully, various measures are available so that you can try to avoid sleep during study. Following these measures diligently, students will be able to maximize their waking time.
There are different methods and techniques mentioned to avoid sleep during your study. You can get complete help with these write-ups.
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