If you’ve been working hard in your online master in liberal studies program, you’ll want to make sure that your brain is firing on all cylinders when it’s time to take to take those all-important exams. By taking a few simple steps you can ensure that your mind is clear, calm and focused, so that you’ll be able to recall information with ease and organize your thoughts effectively.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Did you know that being sleep deprived is as bad as being drunk? Researchers have found that going without sleep for 17 hours affects performance to the same degree as having a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent. That’s almost as high as the 0.08 percent that puts you over the legal drink drive limit in most states.

Pulling late night study sessions before you take crucial exams is the worst thing that you can do if you want your mind to be sharp.

Fuel Your Body with Protein and Healthy Fats

Have you heard of the carbohydrate crash? It’s the energy slump that hits when blood sugar levels plummet an hour or two after a carb heavy meal or snack. Sugar is an obvious culprit, but foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes have the same effect.

To keep energy levels high, opt for meals and snacks rich in protein and healthy fats. Choose foods like eggs, poultry, avocados, almonds and hummus.

Swap Coffee for Green Tea

The caffeine in coffee is a great stimulant; it helps to improve focus and keeps you alert when energy levels are low, but those benefits come with some costs. It’s well known that caffeine increases anxiety, it does this by raising the levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine.

When stress hormones are coursing through your system, your heart beats faster, your blood pressure shoots up, and you’re likely to be more agitated. Caffeine also inhibits a really important neurotransmitter in your brain called GABA. GABA is responsible for keeping you calm, and low levels are associated with anxiety and panic attacks.

So how do you get the upsides of caffeine without the downsides? Simple, you swap coffee for green tea. Green tea has enough caffeine to give you an energy boost and sharpen your focus, and because it’s released into your bloodstream more slowly you won’t have to worry about the caffeine buzz caffeine crash cycle.

Green tea brings some other benefits too:

  • Theophylline and Theobromine both relax muscles and increase blood flow. More blood flow to your brain means more oxygen, which keeps you alert, and relaxed muscles mean less tension.
  • L-Theanine is an amino acid that reduces both mental and physical stress, keeping you calm and steady.

Put it all together and you have a gentle stimulant that produces the kind of calm focus that is perfect for obtaining your online master in liberal studies degree.

By taking a little extra care of yourself at exam time you won’t add to the natural anxiety that’s bound to be to present, you’ll be sharp and energized, and you’ll be ready for whatever questions come your way.