Improve Your Exam Performance

It is that time of year when many young people are revising and preparing for exams. It is hard not to feel stressed by exams particularly when the outcome can have a significant effect on your future.

Improve Your Exam Performance

Improve Your Exam Performance

So what can you do to improve your revision and your performance in the exams? There are two lifestyle factors that can have a substantial impact on your performance: your sleep and your nutrition.

Sleep for Better Exam Performance

Research into the role of sleep has shown that poor or inadequate sleep causes drowsiness that leads to reduced performance and memory impairment.  Insight and higher-level learning is also aided by sleep.

The amount of sleep we need varies with age. Adults need about 7.5 hours whereas teenagers need about 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, during the teenage years the brain is going through a number of neurological changes that mean that young adults tend to want to go to sleep later and get up later than when they were younger. School timetables don’t fit in with that pattern but it may be possible during the revision time leading up to exams.  You can catch up a bit at weekends but it is not as effective as regular good quality sleep

Some top sleep tips:

  • Treat your sleep seriously. While you are revising, get into a regular routine of going to bed before midnight and sleeping up to 8 hours if your commitments will allow.
  • Leave electronic equipment outside the bedroom to avoid stimulation. So, no mobile, no TV, and no computers in the bedroom.
  • Dim down light levels as the evening progresses and make sure your bedroom is completely dark. This facilitates the brain to produce melatonin and the neurotransmitters that aid good sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and well-ventilated.
  • To induce sleep, listen to relaxing music, read a calming book or watch an amusing TV program. Do not watch the TV news or read a page-turner or do anything that will over-stimulate you.
  • Avoid or reduce caffeine in the afternoon and evening that includes coffee and energy drinks.
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol in the evenings. It negatively effects the quality of sleep.
  • Exercise in the morning or afternoon. Only do light stretching exercises in the evening.

Nutrition for Better Exam Performance

Our food provides the building blocks for our brains and our bodies. Good nutrition supports your mood and your brain function. Poor nutrition results in mood swings, stress on our internal organs and erratic brain function.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and de-caffeinated drinks. Avoid sugary, caffeinated drinks because they increase the level of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, in the blood.
  • Reduce added sugar in your diet. Sugars in processed foods go under many names including: agave, dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, sorbitol, sucrose, and corn syrup. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Substitute unrefined complex carbohydrates for simple carbohydrates. Eat wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, grains, beans and pulses.
  • Foods that are good for brain function and mood include: salmon, mackerel, herring, flax and pumpkin seeds, meat and eggs.
  • Foods that are good for sleep include: dark cherries, almonds, kale, bananas, honey, flaxseeds and grapes.

For more ideas see Top Revision Tips.

If you need any help to relax and improve your revision and exam performance contact me so we can chat about how I can help you.

Are you looking for reliable and friendly menopause advice?

Do you remember when you were a young teenager?  Puberty was like a badge of honour and you talked endlessly with your friends about period pains and what was going on with your body.  And then later when you were pregnant you talked with your women friends about all the intimate details of your pregnancy.

So what happened when you started to approach menopause?  Was it still ok to talk to your friends about this new stage?  Or was it suddenly a bit embarrassing?

It was certainly my experience that it was much more difficult to talk to friends about anything to do with menopause.  Maybe that’s because it is seen as a sign of ageing and is viewed in a negative way despite all the positive aspects.

That’s why I decided to write a book that would be like having a knowledgeable friend.  Someone who can help you discover useful information plus tips on nutrition, exercise and lifestyle.  Even better, someone who can give you easy to follow mind/body techniques that will help you to get back in control of your symptoms.

‘Hot Women, Cool Solutions™: How to control menopause symptoms using mind/body techniques’ can be your new best friend and it will cost you less than having lunch with one of your women friends!

Each chapter answers commonly asked questions about menopause including:
  • How can I stay cool and sleep better?
  • How do I control my weight?
  • How do I keep my ‘mojo’?

The book comes with access to bonus gifts including The Menopause Workbook, The Stay Cool Hypnotic Recording and the Mindful Weight Loss Hypnotic Recording.

What are you waiting for – go and meet your new friend!

And sleep

When people find out that I am a hypnotherapist one of the most common problems that they want to talk to me about is sleep.  They either can’t get off to sleep or they wake up during the night or they wake up unrefreshed.  Good sleep is so important for our physical and mental health and that’s why I frequently blog about the subject.
I also run a one day workshop on getting better sleep.   I was preparing for one of these workshops last week and I was looking for any new material or research.  I came across this beautiful piece of music by Eric Whitacre on TED Talks called ‘Sleep’.  The music and the words are so lovely I wanted to share it.

Open Secrets

I had a great day yesterday at Royston Open Secrets It was a showcase for local businesses and community organisations.  Despite awful weather, lots of people came along and there was a really positive buzz within the marquee.

I had the chance to talk to people about the things they would like to change in their lives.  Number one on the list was getting better sleep and I was glad that I had taken along some top tip sheets and some hypnotic CDs which are a bargain at £5.

 Other people talked to me about weight issues and controlling bad eating habits.  I’ve worked with a number of clients on both of those issues and it was a great opportunity to explain my approach to changing the relationship to food.

At the end of the day I was really tired but delighted to have met so many old friends and lots of new friends.  Looking forward to next year’s event, 8 July 2012, already.