May is a time that many of us look forward to,
as it brings with it bank holidays and the first signs of summer,
but for the younger generation it means one thing: exam
season.


From SATs right through to undergraduate exams, May is a period
of time that involves studying, studying and studying some more -
and sleep can often be overlooked. Whether it's staying up working
into the night, or lying in bed worrying about the work that has
yet to be done, it's no secret that exam season has an impact on
sleep.


Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, has put
together her top tips to help students of all ages make it through
exam season.


Allow yourself to take breaks


Our ability to concentrate runs in cycles of
roughly 90 minutes. After this time, the working memory in the
prefrontal cortex shuts down and we stop retaining information; so
don't feel guilty for stepping away from the desk. Just a quick
5-10 minute break can help to 'unload' the working memory, allowing
us to come back to the task focused and raring to go
again.


Power nap


Taking a nap might seem like surprising advice
for boosting productivity, but taking time out to sleep can have a
big impact on how much you get done, since you'll wake up feeling
rejuvenated and more energised. Naturally, most of us have a dip in
energy


levels around 3pm, so if you find yourself
losing concentration, this is the perfect time to take a quick
power nap.


Eat more chocolate


Chocolate releases endorphins which act as a
natural stress fighter, and those which contain over 70% cocoa
fight the stress hormone cortisol and have an overall relaxing
effect on the body - so keep some handy when revising as a
reward.


Know your limits


When it comes to studying, the desire to do well
and soak in as much knowledge as possible can be overpowering but
it is important to recognise your limits. Set yourself realistic
targets with regards to what you'd like to achieve that day. You're
not going to memorise a full textbook in one day, so admit defeat
where necessary and get some well-earned rest.