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The study and exam period is about to start. Time to focus! The practitioners of the University’s general medical practice have prepared a prescription to stay healthy during these exhausting weeks. The bottom line: keep your head cool!


During the study and exam period students mostly suffer from stress. Thus they come to us with stress-related complaints like headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations and nausea”, explain physicians Hanne Desmet and Nora De Windt of the University general medical practice. “Near the end of the exam period some students suffer from exhaustion as well.”


The doctors have made a list with tips and tricks to keep your head cool and to stay healthy during the study and exam period.


1. Healthy food


We understand it’s not always easy to cook healthy food during the study and exam period”, explain the doctors. “A frozen pizza is of course very tempting when you’re studying all day long. Still, it’s important to not eat too much fast food, because it makes you tired. A prepared salad from the super market is also quick, but it is a much healthier alternative.


Besides fast food, you should also try to avoid rapidly-digested sugars, because they make your blood sugar fluctuate. “Slow sugars, like a banana, keep your energy level stable and are thus ideal as a snack”, says doctor Hanne Desmet.


2. Rest


A good night’s rest helps you to start your day fresh and study all day long. The physicians advise to not suddenly change your sleeping pattern. Relaxing before you go to sleep is essential to clear your head and to sleep well.


If you’re studying alone in your room, try to meet other people during your breaks, because interaction with other people is very important during the study and exam period. “Play a board game with your friends or family”, suggest physicians Hanne Desmet en Nora De Windt.


3. Oxygen for your brain


Your brain needs oxygen to study efficiently. “Go outside every once in a while, to get some fresh air.” Moreover, when you’ve been studying in your room for some time, opening a window will help you think clearly again.


“Physical activity is important as well. If you need a break, take a walk outside, instead of watching tv”, the practitioners advise.

UAB Sport has a special study period sport offer from 8 January 2018. An ideal break after a long day of studying. You don’t have a lot of time? Try the ‘7 minute work out’ of UAB Sport , because every jumping jack or push-up helps you to stay fit.


4. No drugs


We strongly advise against taking drugs to stay awake or to get some sleep during the exam period”, say physicians Hanne Desmet and Nora De Windt. “They can cause heart palpitations or nausea. Some drugs also make you nervous, which can lead to self-doubt during an exam.”


Furthermore, students often experience a placebo effect when taking drugs. According to VUB research, 80% of the students in the experiment who thought they had taken rilatin performed better. “Confidence is the best pill you can take during the exam period. Prepare for your exams and believe in yourself!” thus the encouraging words of doctor Hanne Desmet.


Moreover, the physicians advise against taking sleeping pills, because the effect of the pills might not be over the next morning. “If you can’t sleep at all, you could try alternative soothing herb-based medication”, says doctor Nora De Windt.


Having a cup of coffee in the morning might help to wake you up for a day of studying. However, because caffeine stays in your blood for a long time, make sure you drink your last cup of coffee right after lunch. “If you get tired in the afternoon or evening, go for a walk around the block or in the park”, the physicians advise.


If you do get ill, the physicians are there to help students during the entire study and exam period. Even between Christmas and New Year, when most services at the VUB are closed, the doctors are available. The University general medical practice has limited opening hours during this period.