I've always been fascinated with why person A can sit down and have a quality study session while person B’s attempt turns into a frustrating disaster.
I've never been very academic myself, so any edge I can get is important to know. This isn't about turning off the phone and Facebook and other obvious stuff but using our brains the best way we can. So here are some study killers to consider:
- Smoking: A dirty and smelly habit, it’s also a study killer. It restricts the blood flow to the brain, as well as the accumulation of abnormal proteins that affect retention and recall.
- Lack of sleep: Yes, all parents of young children will roll their eyes at me, but I've been there and still am in fact. Try to get a good nights’ sleep if you want to remember more. Avoid coffee before bed, and avoid TV programs that get you excited. Avoid e-mail because if there is a problem you can’t deal with, you won’t sleep well.
- Thyroid issues: If you struggle to get to sleep, easily put on weight, and feel lethargic, then it could be your thyroid or low testosterone. I’ve had low T, and I had dreadful insomnia as a result. See your doctor or nutritionist, and get your hormones checked.
- Anxiety and depression: We all have have a certain amount of stress in our lives, but if we have too much, it can be very detrimental. Consider your brain as using CPU cycles, and if the cycles are taken up worrying, then less are available for learning.
- Weight issues: Regular exercise expands your blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow into your brain. Studies show that your brain capacity can increase by up to 2% when you exercise regularly!
- Clean eating and vitamins: Low levels of vitamins B12 and D are directly linked to decreased mental capacity, as is a poor diet. Western food is often processed and lacking in essential nutrients, so get some advice on a healthy diet.
- Low gut bacteria: I’m sure you have heard of probiotics, but these can be impacted by poor diet, antibiotics, alcohol, sugar, stress, and pollution. Low levels of healthy gut bacteria has a direct effect on your state of mind (via the vagus nerve).
Most of us need every advantage we can get, so consider the above and take action where necessary.