Always a loser when it comes to managing stress or boosting intellectual performance?. Here are some tips and recommendations to avoid a misstep while you are preparing for that crucial office presentation.
*Sugar is fuel for the brain: True
The brain needs glucose to function, as its cells use it as fuel. When you have a high-priority task at hand, it is not a good idea to go on a diet. Yet it's still better to favour slow-acting sugars and starches such as pasta and whole grains rather than fast-acting sugars. The latter bring on the kilos and lead to spikes in blood sugar that can cause a crash.
* Tea and coffee are good stimulants: False
Tea, coffee, sodas and energy drinks are all bad study aids. Caffeine, though a stimulant that gives the brain a nice little kick, should stay restricted to a maximum daily dose of 400mg and be avoided after early afternoon. Caffeine excess could affect concentration or lead to nervousness, palpitations and trouble sleeping.
* Learning happens while you sleep: True
No need to spend sleepless nights preparing your stuff. Better to sleep. Specialists have spoken: memory builds itself during sleep. The brain, having accumulated all the information during the day, uses nighttime sleep to revive and restore everything it already learned. Even a short nap is efficient for boosting intellectual performance. No need to listen to a recording of somebody else's presentation as you sleep though. It's better to read before falling asleep.
* Physical exercise tires you out before exams: False
All physical activity is beneficial, even recommended, during important tasks. Helpful for managing stress, physical activity brings oxygen to the brain and allows for better efficiency. Whether in the morning or before late afternoon, it also facilitates sleep. The ideal is two or three sessions per week or walking regularly.
* Best to also take complex vitamins to stimulate memory and concentration: False
The ideal is to favour a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant effects. To give your memory a hand and boost intellectual performance, you can nonetheless add some omega-3s to the menu (fatty fish, colza oil, flaxseed, nuts) for their positive effects on neurotransmission. You can also favour nutrients rich in vitamin C (oranges, peppers, lemons) and vitamins from the B group.
* Certain foods like chocolate and fish improve memory: False
Chocolate is rich in magnesium and potassium, cerebral stimulants, while fish is full of phosphorus and amino acids that are good for memory. All of these substances are crucial to the body, but no serious scientific study has ever proven that consuming these foods ahead of an occasion such as an exam could be efficient in boosting memory performance.