The admission season for MBA aspirants officially begins with the IIFT exam conducted in November end each year, followed by CAT, XAT and all the other major exams which are a ticket to all the dream B-Schools. But as we all have either already experienced or are still in this phase of preparation, the unofficial admissions season commences way back when an aspirant starts preparing for the D-Day. The journey is always lit, with hopes, confidence, a belief that things will turn out to be better with every passing day; that the mocks will gradually turn out to be a motivation when the percentile touches 90. But like rains lash and destroy all meticulously done arrangements for any event, such marks snatch away the little remnants of confidence. In such dire situations it is essential to keep a check on one’s health and sleep; the only medicine to stress and fatigue!
Correct Eating and Sleeping Habits
What are the correct eating and sleeping habits during exam time and what strategies need to be roped in to bring out our best performance? Turning first our gaze to the eating habits that need to be followed:
- Eating small and frequent meals in place of eating large quantities of the meal at the same time. This not only helps to keep oneself energetic throughout the day but also prevents laziness post meal time.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables which will help you rehydrate the body and will provide enrichment of all the important nutrients. Eating a plate full of salad or fruits like melon and watermelon can help serve the purpose.
- Almonds serve as great memory boosters for exams. Nuts which are rich in DHA help improve concentration and memory. So walnuts and even pumpkin seeds should be included in your diet.
- Students often study till in the night and end up drinking too much tea or coffee to keep themselves awake. However, too much caffeine can cause acidity and hence should be limited. Also, late night munching should be avoided as it leads to weight gain and consequently more stress. Instead, fruits can be taken to keep one’s stomach full and mind working.
- Avoid eating fast food and fried food like fries, burgers, pizzas, and chips. These not only pile up calories which do not get burnt due to reduced physical activity during preparation but also makes one feel lethargic and fatigued.
- It is often said that “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a soldier and dinner like a beggar.” This should strictly be followed especially during exam times as breakfast gives you the energy that keeps you active throughout the day while dinner should be light because the only activity that follows after dinner is sleep (or studying in case of students). Hence it is important to intake the right amount of food at the right time of the day.
- Most importantly, treat yourself to good food once in a while as a reward for any accomplishment that you come across, for instance achieving a target percentile in the mock or completing the most challenging part of the course. This will not only overcome your desire for good food but will also act as a great motivation for achieving more such milestones.
Eating right, but being too careless about your sleep patterns can affect your productivity levels, making it hard for you to concentrate. The mind works best when it has received adequate rest and would take half the time it would have taken to understand a topic, had it not been allowed to refresh and recharge.
- It is always best to follow the sleep pattern one has been accustomed to since childhood. For instance, few people prefer studying till late in the night while others waking up as early as five in the morning to complete all their tasks. Hence work and sleep without disturbing your biological clock. Let not your body feel the brunt of your exams.
- Ensure you get least six hours of sleep a day. Taking a quick power nap sometime in the afternoon between 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. can also improve productivity levels. However, make sure that you do not sleep for more than 30 minutes as this can impair your sleep at night. It is always better to get a sound sleep at night than sleeping for 3-4 hours during the day. A good night’s sleep will also make you refreshed and ready for the new day.
- Avoid using your phones when in bed. The light emitted can instruct the brain to perceive the bed as a place of attention and arousal, thus impairing your sleep. The light can also prevent the release of the sleep hormone making it difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Declutter your mind of all issues and go to bed leaving behind all your worries. To think about a situation without your mind being able to solve it completely only increases the stress levels.
- Do not put up unnecessary alarms which not only disrupt sleep but also strain the mind if woken up suddenly from deep sleep.
- A day before the exam, calls for a good, satisfying sleep of eight hours. It is important to remember that even the most challenging problems can be resolved if the mind is allowed to work to its full capacity, which is possible only if it has received adequate sleep and rest.
Eating and sleeping appropriately can go a long way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping you active throughout the day. This is not a time when one can afford to fall ill or succumb to stress and workload. Preparation needs to be done in the best possible way making optimum use of the time in hand. Let your bedroom embrace you with all the warmth it can and let your tummy be satisfied with all the nutritious food. Besides, once into MBA, the work load will not allow you to sleep for more than 4 hours a day. So enjoy your share of sleep while yet not into it!