How many times have we treated our stomach as a mere storage container where we can dump any stuff we feel like, yet we are surprised when it rebels because it can’t handle some of the stuff we’ve put in?Because we are so far from our food supplies, sometimes it is difficult to know the processing stages, chemicals used for preserving or even the ingredients deliberately chosen by the manufacturers in order to please our palates.
As the exam period is looming (GCSE, AS and A levels), most teens rush to do last minute revision and some who left it too late end up giving themselves few hours’ sleep at night. Research suggests that sleep is very crucial for human body just like eating or breathing.
Now, what does this so called sleep do to our bodies?
- It boosts our memory.Our bodies consolidates what we have learnt during the day and reboots the brain to make it work again. Sleep seems to be a time when the mind can catch up on processing and organising things that have been stacked up while revising. Lack of sleep causes headaches, makes the head feel heavy and unable to recall what has been studied previously
- Regulates hormones by stabilising body metabolism, hence control mood swings, cravings for junk food and decreased rational eating. Sleep deprivation messes up the hormones and make a person see life as doom and bleak. This explains why at this stage most teens feel stressed out, not capable of doing anything, starts self harming themselves and develop erratic behaviours
- Keeps our immune system healthy enough to overcome infections such as colds and flu. Lack of sleep can cause other health related problems such as Type 2 diabetes and irregular heart rhythm (which explains why most teens get panic attacks and feel extremely anxious during exam period)
- Sleep increases efficiency by improving our cognitive performances such as reaction time on handling different situations. This is very crucial because passing exams requires nor only accuracy but also speed ( i.e the ability to finish the exams in a set time). Lack of sleep lowers general alertness and attention to detail – making a person prone to doing silly mistakes
What can we do help our bodies sleep better?
- By eating healthy. Food which helps induce sleep include milk, turkey, bananas, avocados, pumpkin seeds and unprocessed wholemeal food such as brown bread
- By doing regular physical exercises. This helps in inducing sleep at night
- By avoiding heavy meal before going to bed as it puts a lot of pressure on digestive system by making the stomach rumble uncomfortably therefore keeping us awake
- Switching off mobile phones or keeping them in another room before going to bed. This reduces the disruptions due to the incoming text messages(and the temptation to reply to them), non stop email alerts and also from the social media keen to keep our teens electronically engaged at night. Here parents can advice their teens to leave the mobile phones downstairs or to the other rooms (i.e not bedrooms)
Any teen’s exam experience you would like to share with me? Please leave a comment below.