Exam season is upon us and this can mean increased stress levels and poorer sleep patterns for students as they are revising and preparing for exams. Stress and anxiety are natural during exams, however, they can be debilitating and negatively impact on academic skills such as recall and problem solving. A number of natural remedies are proven to support concentration and reduce the strain on over-worked brains.
Rhodiola to support mental performance
Rhodiola is a Russian herb that supports mental and physical performance and endurance. The herb was commonly used by Russian scientists who believed it would give Russian cosmonauts an edge during the Space Race and Cold War. Numerous clinical trials have shown that Rhodiola prevents mental fatigue and supports concentration and therefore it can support exam performance but it is also useful for those who struggle to concentrate during exam preparation and study leave.
L-theanine to beat exam stress
L-theanine is an amino acid that is naturally present in tea and green tea (hence the name), which is clinically proven to support a reduction in levels of anxiety during exams. L-theanine has a calming effect on the brain, however, this is not accompanied by a sedative effect, making it ideal to support concentration in exam conditions. Research indicates that a dose of 150mg – 200mg of l-theanine prior to an exam is sufficient to reduce anxiety and support performance.
White Chestnut to support a good night’s sleep
After hours of studying and revising, it is often difficult to switch off the mind and get a good night’s sleep, especially the night before an exam. A good night’s sleep is important for exam performance as our brain’s convert information into memories when we sleep. The Bach Remedy White Chestnut can help to ‘turn off’ an overactive mind and support a restful night’s sleep. White chestnut is one of the ingredients in the Rescue Remedy Sleep formulation.
Eat a better exam day breakfast
Our brains run on glucose and we need a steady supply of glucose to our brains to support concentration during an exam. However, that doesn’t mean we should eat a sugar-laden breakfast before exams, in fact too much sugar eaten first thing can cause blood glucose levels to spike and then crash and reduce concentration. Breakfast should provide a combination of slow release carbohydrates and protein to provide a steady release of glucose throughout the day – so try porridge topped with nuts and seeds or wholegrain or sourdough bread topped with eggs or sugar-free peanut butter. If you need a pre-exam snack swap a chocolate bar for a banana and a handful of nuts.
Stay hydrated to support concentration
Research indicates that even minor dehydration can impact mental sharpness and memory. Keep a bottle of water at your desk during all exams. Adding a sprig of rosemary to the bottle might further support memory as the fragrance of this herb has proven memory-boosting properties.
Always check with a qualified healthcare provider before introducing any supplements.