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You ask, we answer

Mostly, 60 minutes is the most one can concentrate deeply while studying. More than that not only leads to 'saturation' of mind, but also physical sluggishness.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 11, 2009 12:35 IST

Q. Whenever I sit to study, my mind gets defocused after 1 hour. After that, I am not able to concentrate on my studies. What should I do?

Mostly, 60 minutes is the most one can concentrate deeply while studying. More than that not only leads to 'saturation' of mind, but also physical sluggishness. A different activity than studies is needed to rejuvenate both. Combining two activities (playing a game of football with friends, taking a walk while listening to music) can help you refocus. You could also do any other preferred activity during breaks. Some students would get refreshed after a short nap. You can also do different activities in each short break (15-20 minute every 60-90 minutes of study). Finally, alternate studies which need focussed concentration (subjects which are perceived by you as 'difficult') with relatively easy study.

Q. I am a class 12th student. I have heard diet plays a key role in beating exam stress. How? Could you please help frame my diet chart?

Intermittent (between main meals), limited, calorie nutrient-rich 'boosts' are required for concentration. Scientific evidence exists that knowledge-based work in examinations is known to induce fluctuations in blood glucose and other hormones in the body. Preliminary evidence also points out health beverages fortified with micronutrients and vitamins, such as drinks with electrolytes, lassi, etc., may be beneficial. But be careful not to take more than an occasional drink with caffeine (Coffee, colas, 'Red bull' drink). These drinks sometimes contain as high as 280 milligrams caffeine per 8.5 ounces (more than twice the amount in a cup of coffee), which may result in increase in blood pressure and heart rhythm irregularity. Green tea may not be a bad option.

Snacks could include nuts and salads. Fruits and healthy drinks help maintain hydration and blood electrolyte levels. Main meals should contain fewer fried foods, some carbohydrates, and adequate proteins. And before sleeping, our traditional favourite, a glass of hot milk may help you sleep well!

(Dr Misra is the director of the department of diabetes and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospitals.)

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