Teenagers across the country will no doubt be feeling the pressure as their exams loom large. Help them stay on top of exam stress with the following nutrition tips and lifestyle tweaks.
What to eat to beat exam stress
Pay close attention to their diet. When feeling stressed it’s all too easy to grab a quick snack on the go, when really our body is crying out for the nutrients it needs to help it cope with the extra pressure.
Wholegrain carbohydrates (brown bread, brown pasta) will give them long-term energy without causing sugar highs and lows and cravings.
Boost their B and C
B vitamins help to support the nervous system and vitamin C supports the adrenal glands, so increasing the supply of these should make them feel better. B vits are found naturally in potatoes, bananas, lentils, peppers, tempeh, beans and brewer’s yeast (Marmite and Vegemite are excellent sources), and vitamin C is of course found in most fresh fruit and veg, including broccoli, kale, peppers, oranges and strawberries.
Supplements can also help. Lamberts Multi-Guard for Kids provides optimum levels of vitamins B and C, and other vitamins and minerals in a child-friendly, chewable format. Older kids over the age of 13 may wish to try our Jan de Vries B-Complex One A Day with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid and B12.
Magnesium and stress
Other essential nutrients include magnesium (found naturally in pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and spinach) for the nervous system and iron for energy . Liver is an obvious food source of iron but not for everyone. Sardines, figs and apricots are good alternatives.
Steer clear of stimulants
Stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and energy drinks can aggravate stress. Water on the other hand is great for keeping the brain hydrated. Not too keen on water? Liven up their liquid by adding fresh fruit to their water, or for older kids, try them on Pukka Aqua Herbs (£5.99 for 30ml) , natural and organic herbal elixirs that can be added to plain or sparkling water.
Natural remedies for stress
For additional support during times of anxiety and stress, try the herbal remedy Passiflora, which is traditionally used to help support relaxation. Being more relaxed during the day can make it easier to sleep well at night. A.Vogel Passiflora Complex Spray can be used by adults and young people over the age of 12. It’s easy to use, discreet and perfect for teenagers in the run-up to exams.
You may also wish to try them with Jan de Vries Emergency Essence , which uses a variety of flower extracts to help bring the mind back to a balanced state. It can be especially useful for exam stress.
Top exam tips
And some top exam tips: encourage your child to take regular breaks from revision. There are no hard and fast rules about how best to revise, but regular short breaks can help to improve concentration.
Make sure they get regular exercise. Structured relaxation techniques such as yoga can be particularly helpful, but even a brisk walk will provide a healthy distraction.
Make sure they get enough rest. Crucial for emotional wellbeing, mental alertness and consolidating learning, teenagers should sleep between 8 and 10 hours a day.
72% of parents think their teenager is getting enough sleep but only 11% of teenagers actually do get enough sleep.
Sleep well for exam stress
Sleep is critical when studying, as it aids memory and supports creativity when it comes to finding solutions to previously unsolved problems. The impact on academic performance is clear. It’s a lot harder to take tests and answer questions if you are sleep-deprived.
Sleep also has a key role to play when it comes to mood and emotional regulation as it helps process emotional ups and downs as well.
Make time for a structured sleep routine and don’t let anything mess with it – turn off the screens at least half an hour before bedtime and dim the lights to make falling asleep easier.
Encourage them to turn off notifications on their phones – better still, leave electronic devices in another room. Think of the ideal bedroom as a prehistoric cave - cool, dark, light-free and super conducive to sleep!