02 Feb Revision tips: ramp up your studies with this grade-boosting magic drink!
We’ve previously mentioned the importance of sleep, exercise and good nutrition in getting your body and mind match fit for exam study. Another effective revision essential you may not have considered is a magic fluid which boosts brain function and can make a real difference to your academic results.
Plain water is easily overlooked, especially given the huge number of alternatives available. Some of these, including energy drinks, hot chocolate and the like, are packed with sugar and calories.
How much is enough?
According to NHS Choices, everyone should have six to eight glasses of fluid daily, or the equivalent of at least a good litre of liquid. And while the NHS says lower-fat milk, sugar-free drinks and tea and coffee count, there’s no beating pure water. Indeed, the British Nutrition Foundation recommends only counting water, given that it’s calorie-free and won’t risk damaging teeth.
The Natural Hydration Council backs up the NHS’s figures. Weather and physical activity levels affect the need to hydrate, while boys and older children should be taking slightly more fluid each day.
Why is water so important when you’re studying?
Our bodies are generally 55% or 60% water (varies depending on gender), which is lost through sweating, breathing and digestion, so levels need to be topped up regularly. Water detoxes, refreshes and hydrates. It’s stored inside cells, organs and tissues, and helps keep bodily workings such as kidney function ticking over.
Young people and children have a higher need for hydration in relation to their body weight than adults. And they may not always recognise the early indications of thirst, especially when it’s warmer or they’re playing sport.
What’s more, even mild dehydration (i.e. where the body is losing more liquid than it’s gaining) can cause lack of focus, reduced mental performance, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, reduced cognitive abilities and tiredness. Dehydration also affects metabolic rate.
Where’s the evidence about it improving exam results?
- A study carried out by the universities of East London and Westminster found that those who took a bottle of water into exams scored on average 5% better than students who didn’t.
- A follow-up study by the same universities found that just 300ml of water significantly boosted concentration in both young adults and children, while mood also improved.
- Brain neurons – the cells transmitting nerve signals to and from the brain – need enough hydration for optional transmission of neurotransmitters, or the brain chemicals which communicate information across the body and brain.
Don’t let it get to the stage where you even start to feel thirsty: make ‘drink to think’ or ‘it’s hip to sip’ your mantra, and ensure you’re taking in plenty of water throughout the day – kicking off with a big glass at breakfast.
Of course, The Learning Cauldron’s advice is to take particular care to hydrate while revising, as the results will speak for themselves!
And if you’re looking for revision materials for Higher and Nat5 English, don’t forget to check out the resources on the TLC website.