Most of us feel like we are pretty good at using our brains; I mean, we’ve been doing it our whole lives, right? But are you really getting the most out of your mind when it comes to memory, study, and creativity?
There are loads of little tweaks and changes you can make to your current routines that will give big brain benefits. Which of these are you not currently using to their full effect?
Yup. You read right. Research (and experience) shows that napping is the way to make your brain and your body work better, but napping at the wrong time of day or for too long can be counter-productive. Take a look at this napping cheat sheet courtesy of the Boston Globe to get it right. How to nap – Boston.com.
Get adequate sleep at night and take a nap during the day when possible. The average person needs about 8.5 to 9 hours per night, but some need more and some need less. Stress in your life—physical, mental, or emotional—will often increase your need for sleep (though it may make sleep more difficult). If possible, try to go to sleep at the same time each night and allow your body to wake up on its own. The research on this is hard to fault. Numerous excellent studies from around the world show that getting enough sleep is absolutely critical to functioning at your peak, mentally and physically. Example: A U.S. Navy study of recruits in training published in 2008 noted, “In short, recruits who receive 8 hr of sleep per night scored on average 11% higher [on a standardized test] than their counterparts who receive only 6 hr of sleep, supporting our hypothesis that more sleep was associated with significantly better academic performance.”
Jeffrey Ellenbogen, a sleep research fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that those who studied and then slept on it did much better on a test the next day than those who didn’t sleep. In fact, sleepers got an average score 76% correct while the all-night crowd got only 32% correct! Find the full story here.
When I was a kid I mowed lawns for extra money during the summers. Sure, it’s hot, sweaty work–especially in West Texas where chickens actually lay hard-boiled eggs–but mowing lawns is great. How else could a twelve-year old make twenty dollars an hour?
One thing I quickly learned was that taking care of your lawn mower makes the work go much more smoothly. Making sure the blade is sharp, the oil is changed regularly, and the air filter is clean can save you hours a day.
I heard of one idiot who failed to check the oil, like, EVER causing the engine to seize-up altogether and transmogrifying the mower into a very large, grass-covered paper weight. My dad was NOT happy.
Your brain is the tool you work with as a student, so take care of it! If you don’t you end up working much harder for poorer results. I’ve seen poorly maintained brains seize up during finals, burst into flames, and significantly char previously quite serviceable head wear.
So avoid trouble and save yourself time and effort by taking care of your gray matter. Here are some tips to on how to keep your noggin humming along. The links give more info and prove that I’m not just making this stuff up. Real scientists–and sometimes video footage–show I’m for real. So there.