Studying When Sick

Sick!

I get sick at least 3 times a year (good old Seattle rain and wind), and all I do during that time is sleep and nap and feel pretty miserable. Of course, no work gets done at that time, and grades suffer. I’ve done some research and compiled a few ideas on how to keep yourself together while studying.

Obviously, to feel better sooner we need to drink a lot of water, rest, drink a lot of water and some medicine. In my opinion, if you’re going to avoid doing homework (which you should, nothing good will stay in your head if you study in such a bad condition), it’s best to work ahead a little bit. I discovered that reading all my textbook chapters on the weekends significantly reduces the homework load on the weekdays.

a) Start studying for exams at least a week in advance. You don’t know what’s gonna come up in the last couple of days before an exam, and the last thing you want to do is fail because you simply didn’t feel very well. Read the book a week in advance (I found that it helps me feel less stressed, too), and do future homework as early as possible.

However, if the “sick study” situation does happen,

b) Break big study plans into small, 15-30 minute chunks. Don’t overwork yourself, it might make things worse.

c) Do the easy tasks that don’t require much thinking/memorization. For example, write, make flashcards, rewrite your notes, etc.

d) Get lots of sleep when you can. That’s the best way your body heals itself and if you overwork it, you’ll only feel worse on the test day.

Hope this answers your questions. Again, these are just my ideas and suggestions, there are obviously other things you can do to focus a bit better. If there’s something you’d like to add, comment below!

Stress Relief

Some notes on stress relief: how to deal with test anxiety and long-term stress.

More on relaxation and sleep: meditation , Best time to sleep at night, Power naps, more on sleep cycles.

(Learned this today in BioPsych lecture (Dr. Lauren Graham)).

More Sleep Cycles

More about sleep cycles! Talk about the best time to wake up and the importance of sleep

There are 2 “modes” of sleep: Slow wave sleep and REM sleep.

Slow Wave Sleep is super deep and is hard to interrupt. When you wake up during this phase, you don’t feel rested and are tired for the rest of the day.

REM sleep is lighter sleep, so it can be easily interrupted. A bonus to waking during a REM phase: remembering your dream and feeling energetic.

*** Don’t forget to participate in our giveaway! It ends on May 16th ***

Sources: The Mind’s Machine- my BioPsych textbook (graph). Dr. Lauren Graham- lecture on sleep rhythms and cycles.

Edit: I want to make a comment on the graph:

  • During the pink “awakening” times is when your REM cycle ends. That’s when you wake up in the middle of the night for a couple minutes and then fall back asleep
  • REM Cycles repeat roughly every 90 minutes, but it may vary slightly. If you wake up during the REM phase, you’re guaranteed to feel more energetic even if you slept a bit less than recommended (8 hours)
  • Check out the app Sleepytime for more information and how to calculate your wake up time!

On Meditation

MEDITATION: it can help you relax, improve concentration and even your mood! Doesn’t take too long and can be done at any time/place.

-Last time I was waiting for a ride on a bus stop for just about 5 minutes, and took that time to relax :) I was so calm afterwards!

Everyone can do it differently, but the key is to relax and try not to think of anything.
1) Take a comfortable position and put on some gentle, calming music
2) Close your eyes, straighten up. You can lean against a wall.
3) Let your thoughts come and go. If something starts to bother you, think “I can totally do it later, it can wait.”
4) Only 5-10 minutes a day is all it takes!

Here are some sources and more info on that: 1, 2
For beginners: 1 2
Some music: 1 and Songza and Spotify

 

The Power of Naps

Power Naps are a great way to boost your energy in the middle of the day!

If you are feeling drowsy and tired and still have a ton of homework to do, take a 20-30 minute power nap! It doesn’t take too much time and helps increase productivity.

1. They are most effective if they last 15-20 minutes;
2. They are good of alertness and motor performance
3. BETTER than caffeine. Caffeine just postpones your fatigue, while power naps actually get rid of it.

Best time of day to take a nap: 1-3 p.m. If taken after 4 p.m., you may disturb your sleep at night.

Sources + More Info: 1, 2, 3

Happy napping!

Yoga for Eyes

A set of exercises to help relax your eyes. This would be helpful during a long study session when your eyes are all red and hurting. Do each exercise for 2-3 minutes every couple of hours, it was it will only take you 10 minutes max- a nice short break!

eyes 1 eyes 2
eyes 3

No More All-Nighters

sleep-small

Why pulling an all-nighter is bad for your health and your test grade!

**The most valuable hours for sleeping are early in the night, so it’s better to go to bed relatively early (around 9 pm) and wake up early to finish the studying. With a fresh mind you’ll be way more productive in the morning.

Sources: 1, 2, 3