How to Stay Healthy and Alert During Finals [7 Pro Tips]

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Keeping your body in good condition during finals will lead to better scores. Find out what coaches and other experts recommend.

You’ve worked hard to get to this point, and now the Super Bowl of the semester is here. The last thing you want to do is fumble the ball at the end zone by getting sick.

If you’re juggling a busy schedule, your health may be the last thing on your mind. But, according to the experts, it should be your main priority.

There’s a reason why coaches in the big leagues rotate out their star players and focus on healthy lifestyles. Too much stress and poor habits can cause even the best player to make mistakes when the heat is on.

This can happen to you as you prepare for your finals, but it doesn’t have to.

Following these pro tips will help you stay healthy when it comes down to the final play — or in this case, final exams!

1. Choose Your Food Wisely

Deciding what you eat is not a multiple-choice question, but there is a right and wrong answer.

Loading your diet with heavy carbs and sugars will cause you to experience periods of high energy, followed by hard crashes.

It’s a dangerous cycle that must be avoided, or one of your crashes could happen at the worst possible moment.

Even the pickiest eaters on a budget can prevent the sugar crash. It just requires thinking carefully about what you put in your mouth.

Prepare your meals ahead of time if you can. Avoid greasy, heavy foods for at least two weeks before finals.

Your body needs the right vitamins and minerals to operate at peak levels under heavy pressure. It’s not easy to get those nutrients in today’s preservative-laden, instant gratification meals.

What’s worse is that eating junk means that the few nutrients you do get are allocated the wrong way. They have to get rid of the unhealthy food instead of priming your body and brain for greatness.

2. Get Restful Z’s

It’s tempting to stay up all night cramming when you’ve got a big test on the horizon. But this is actually contradictory to what you’re accomplishing.

Adjust your schedule so that you are able to spend at least half an hour before bed relaxing. Going to bed stressed and rushed causes you to have restless sleep.

If you’ve got a lot on your plate, don’t stay up to finish it. Get up a little earlier to squeeze in some study time as you eat a healthy breakfast.

Sleeping well is an all-day process. You have to create the right environment for your body to feel tired enough to fall asleep. And it’s got to be something you think about the entire day until it becomes automatic.

If restful sleep eludes you often, check your daily routine for these potential reasons:

  • Caffeine in your drink or meals after lunch
  • Heavy dinners less than two hours before bed
  • Alcohol in the evening
  • Screen time right before bed
  • Not enough physical activity during the day

All of these are typical factors that will inhibit sleep.

3. Drink A Lot of Water, Then Drink Some More

Staying hydrated is crucial to your health, and most people don’t realize this.

The benefits of water on the body are incredible — which makes sense when you think about our bodies being 60% water. Dehydrating the body has a repercussive effect on every system we use.

Keep a thermos or cooler of water bottles nearby anywhere you go. Drink whether you’re “thirsty” or not. Replace water with unhealthy sodas and teas.

If you don’t like the “taste,” you can find healthy flavorings, but the best thing for your body is pure, undiluted H2O. Just ask your chemistry teacher.

4. Stay Active

When your schedule includes a lot of sitting around in class and then working, exercise can be hard to justify.

But staying active keeps your brain and body stimulated. Too much inactivity reduces circulation through your body. This inhibits oxygen flow and makes you sleepy.

Studying doesn’t have to be done at a desk. Find a podcast with test tips or record your professors. Listen to the audio information as you work out. Or get a buddy that you can walk and study with.

At a minimum, set your phone or watch timer for 60 minutes. Make sure you get up and stretch in between study sessions.

5. Have Some Fun

All work and no play makes you a stressed test taker.

Socializing is an important human need. But it has to be done in moderation.

Going to the extreme of cutting off ties with all of your friends and family because you have finals coming up is unhealthy.

But so is prioritizing socializing over studying. Find a balance. It’s possible.

6. Schedule Relaxation Time

There’s a lot of science behind the study of meditation. Considered “hooey” by lots of people, it’s actually beneficial for your brain. Relaxation through forced quiet time gives your mind a chance to recover from too much stimulation.

If sitting still without letting anxieties creep in is hard for you, try a meditation app. You can download some for free on your phone.

Certain apps have specific meditations designed to help people get in the mindset to take a test or study, like Headspace. They also have a plan just for students.

From your happiness to your health, meditation can boost your body in incredible ways.

7. Ask for Help

If you’ve tried to balance relaxing, studying, and healthy living, but still find yourself anxious, it’s okay to ask for help.

Most professors are happy to offer extra study sessions. Tutors are free on many campuses today.

But if your stress level goes beyond that of the typical worry of failing your finals, you might benefit from campus or outside counseling.


Staying healthy during final exams isn’t an immediate process. There’s not a magic pill you can take to fix your body and mind, but it is possible.

Keep these seven tips in mind as you begin the final exam countdown. They’ll help you focus on your physical and mental health. When you’re in peak shape with both of these, you’ll reach your goals!

Article Author: Ryan

Ryan Sundling is the Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He works closely with Wildwood Baton Rouge, a community of apartments in Baton Rouge for college students.