It’s six a.m. on the morning of your statistics exam, and you didn’t sleep a wink last night—except for the 12 minutes you dozed off reading about variable change. Your roommate is snoring, your desk light is giving you a migraine, and if you eat another “energy” bar, you might get sick.
With your full course load, and not knowing whether your uni. will shut down again because of COVID-19, you’ve been exhausted and on edge. It never feels like you can relax either, with the Tennis club and your part-time job eating away at all your free time outside of class.
How can you do your best inside and outside of the classroom when you’re not feeling your best? Nootropics may help you feel rested, more motivated and focused, lower your stress levels, and even boost your creativity.
Could a “Smart drug” fast-pace your studying?
What are smart drugs?
Unlike the “4.0 pills” (i.e., such as the controlled stimulant, Adderall, etc.) that some students get – sans a prescription – nootropics are legal cognitive enhancers or “smart drugs” that can have a positive effect on your mental performance and overall well-being.
Often sold over the counter at a wellness shop, or on the Internet, in general, nootropics come in three forms: natural, synthetic, or prescription-issued.
You may already be familiar with nootropics. For example, if you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or even a slab of dark chocolate while studying—those are all nootropics because of their caffeine and/or L-Theanine content.
What do the experts say?
Your professors have likely told you to always examine credible sources. After doing our homework, here’s what the experts say about how nootropics work: “Nootropics work by altering the brain’s supply of neurochemicals/by improving the brain’s oxygen supply, or by stimulating nerve growth.”
What does this mean for you as a student and your daily routine and study schedule? Nootropics act as cognitive enhancers, quality-sleep inducers, and stress-relievers, and you could benefit from them in the following ways:
- Improved focus and concentration
- Balanced mood
- Increased motivation
- Improved memory
- Lower stress levels
Nootropics for focus and concentration
No matter your course load, the ability to concentrate is essential. Focusing on multiple lectures every day can be taxing, especially if you’re already stressed from life, in general. Nootropics can improve your mental clarity and stamina, which could help you focus for longer periods.
Additional ways to improve focus and concentration:
- Practice yoga, meditation, or deep breathing techniques.
- Establish a consistent sleep routine as much as possible.
- Avoid stretching yourself too thin by signing up for multiple after-school clubs or sports teams.
- Keep an agenda to write down your daily to-do list, which will help keep you on track and give you a sense of daily accomplishment.
Nootropics for mood and motivation
Multiple exams and term papers each semester (on top of normal, daily stress), can leave you feeling low one minute and elated the next, not to mention burnt out, in general. These highs and lows can demotivate and exhaust you.
The good news is research indicates that nootropics such as Ashwagandha, etc. can help stabilize your mood by decreasing your body’s cortisol levels—a hormone released when you’re stressed. In turn, you may feel calmer without necessarily feeling ready for bed.
Additional ways to improve focus and motivation:
- Hydrate! Set a goal to drink at least two litres of water daily.
- Balance is key. Limit the number of all-night study/cram sessions by planning your study schedule to avoid burnout.
- Reassess your social circle. Are you friends with slackers who rarely go to class or submit their work on time? Their mindset could rub off on you, so set personal boundaries.
Nootropics for memory
Consider all of the facts, formulas, dates, etc. you’re required to remember for each of your classes. When you’re stressed and exhausted, you may find yourself going over the same reading passage five times and not remembering much at all.
While short-term or stress-induced memory disruption can be normal, if this is happening for months at a time, incorporating a nootropic into your daily routine could help improve retention and recall, among other benefits.
Additional ways to improve your memory:
- Try to achieve seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
- Break up long study benders by going for a 30-minute walk. Moderate physical activity may clear your mind and improve your retention and recall.
- Re-evaluate your study methods and study environment. Maybe what used to work for you before, isn’t as effective in your current classes. For example, if you’ve always listened to a music playlist whilst studying, instead, opt for a quiet study session.
Nootropics for stress relief
It may be difficult to understand while you’re feeling it, but stress is our body’s normal and necessary response to a real or perceived threat. Not all stress is unhealthy either. Stress on a short-term basis can be motivating, even propelling you closer to your scholastic goals.
On the other hand, mental and physical problems may emerge when we experience stress daily and for long periods. In this case, chronic stress can make us feel exhausted, unable to concentrate, unmotivated, anxious, or depressed.
Additional ways to lower your stress levels:
- Try to avoid processed and fast food as much as possible. Of course, as a student, your budget or schedule may not allow you to cook a homemade meal each night. Why not meal prep on Sundays—and do it with your friends? This can be healthy, affordable, and time-saving in the long run.
- Improve your sleep hygiene by avoiding social media at least one hour before bed. Also, try to make your room as comfortable as possible, so you can fall asleep faster and ultimately get quality sleep.
- Avoid waiting until the last minute to study for an exam. Instead, create daily, manageable goals to avoid burnout.
- Reach out to your campus mental health professional or counsellor for extra support if your stress levels feel unmanageable.
Best nootropics for studying in 2021L-Theanine
Your morning or afternoon cuppa tea is full of L-Theanine—an amino acid that naturally exists in both green and black tea. You can buy this as an OTC supplement or simply as a tea.
L-Theanine could boost your mental alertness, and, in particular, the L-Theanine found in green tea could reduce symptoms of anxiety and boost your mood. Add to that, its stress-relieving effects may allow you to focus on the task at hand.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a post-study takeaway curry, then you may already know turmeric quite well. Touted for its yellow colour and earthy flavour, turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant, part of the ginger root family.
One natural, cutting-edge, cold-water source, Hydrocurc Turmeric can be especially beneficial because of its higher bioavailability, allowing a higher level of its active ingredient – curcumin – to absorb in the body.
In addition to its calming and sleep-inducing properties, especially when taken before bedtime, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and may help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found naturally in oily fish and nuts, such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, leafy greens, or flaxseed, Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fat that our bodies don’t naturally produce, but we must consume them from our diets or via supplements.
Ready to take your grades to the next level?
You carry enough weight on your shoulders each semester—not to mention from the textbooks inside your backpack—so, it’s important to find balance and relief whenever you can.
Earths Secret’s Thrive Complex is a vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and preservative-free daily supplement that blends five powerful, all-natural ingredients to help boost your energy, concentration, and stamina during those late-night study sessions: Hydrocurc Turmeric, Spirulina, Reishi, Elderberry, and Ginger.
In the face of the pressure and expectation to succeed, be kind to yourself and nourish your body, mind, and soul. You may wear many hats daily, but the student cap is only one of them.