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Why your brain needs a study break

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You need a break from studying, really, you do!

You need a break from studying, really, you do!

If you’ve ever found yourself at the end of a paragraph with no clue what it said, it’s probably about time you took a study break. Maybe that’s what you’re doing right now. Are you procrastinating from studying or doing homework? If so, good. Your brain needs the break. Really it does – science says so.

OnlineSchools.org explained that research around the brain’s need to take a break from studying has been going on for years. Overall, researchers found that taking periodic study breaks isn’t procrastination at all – in fact it improves productivity.

The scientific proof
A famous study from the University of Illinois is frequently referenced to explain – to nagging parents – the benefits of taking a break from work. This study explained that attention is not the problem. You always have attention, just not necessarily on the task at hand, reported a Science Daily release on the research.This is because your brain starts to become used to the focus. It becomes “habituated” to your studying.The source explained that this is a lot like breathing. You’re used to inhaling and exhaling, so now you don’t have to think about it.

But you actually need to pay attention to get the grade, so how do you do it?

Take a break
Re-energize your mind by taking frequent study breaks. Essentially, all the research boils down to one major point: if you try to learn too much in a short period of time, you won’t learn much at all. Inc. magazine explained that the average person has a really short attention span – about eight seconds short. There isn’t a definite amount of time when you should start your break – but various studies say anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes are good amounts of time to give your mind a rest. The source explained that a 15 to 20 minute break will help give your brain the time off it needs, but if you’ve dedicated a whole day to studying, then you can take some longer breaks for meals.

You know your body better than anyone else though, so you can dictate how long it’ll take you before you lose concentration again. Whenever you notice you’ve started to lose it, that’s when you should take your break. Of course, for those that are are bit more structure-minded, you could use your BABY-G watch to let you know when you’ve reached your study threshold. Then put the books down.

Your study breaks don’t have to be to be a waste of time though. Here are some tips on how to make your procrastination productive:

Rule No. 1: Don’t do work. 
Don’t use your break to do more work, because what kind of “break” is that, really? You’re just going to stress yourself out more, stressed Inc. reported.

Rule No. 2: Stay off social media.
Sorry, but you shouldn’t just avoid social media, you should avoid all screens in general, said Emond Exam Prep. The source says this is a “low-efficiency diversion” and it might actually have the opposite effect of getting ready. Imagine if you saw what so-and-so was doing right now – shocking! Now you’re only worried about your friend’s actions the rest of the day.

Rule No. 3: Get active.
If you feel like exercise is the answer to everything, that’s because it is. TakeYourSuccess.com explained a quick walk or even a couple minutes of ab exercises will give you some more energy so you can go back to work ready to “do this.”

Rule No. 4: Listen to music.
Music is another study enhancer. You can actually listen to tunes while you study as music has been found to increase productivity – but the trick here is to stick to old songs you already know. Save the new tunes for your time off. It’ll be a great distraction from your work and in turn help give you the boost you need to get back at it, suggested TYS.

Rule No. 5: Snack your heart out.
Careful what you eat though, said EEP. Junk food is great from time to time but a bag of chips or candy won’t give your body the stamina you need while studying. Instead go for the healthy treats like nuts, cheese and crackers – whole grain of course – or fruits and veggies. Basically, just skip the processed foods and you’ll avoid the sugar crash or food coma you’ll get as a result.

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