Junk food no stress buster

Ian Cheong

The results of a survey by website studentbeans.com released this week have revealed that almost half of all university students experience extreme stress while preparing for their exams.

The survey, which asked 960 university students around the UK, showed that 48  percent get “very stressed or worried”, with many reporting health problems as a result.

61 percent of respondents claimed to suffer from lack of sleep during exam periods, while 51 percent experience headaches and migraines and 47 percent turn to over-eating.

Rebecca Hunt, Public Relations Officer at the Nightline Association said: “A certain amount of stress before exams can be beneficial, but these findings show how exams take their toll on students’ mental and physical well-being.”

Oliver Brann, editor of studentbeans.com, warned that while it is “the easy option to veer towards convenience food, it is also important that students understand the impact that diet can have on not only well-being, but also performance around exam time.”

Despite warnings that consumption of junk food reduces productivity when studying, 64 percent of the respondents said they ate more chocolate, 61 percent drink more tea and coffee, and 32 percent rely on more energy drinks to sustain them throughout the period.

One music student attested to Brann’s belief that turning to junk food and caffeine is counterproductive after drinking “inordinately copious amounts of tea” the night before an exam. He said: “The outcome was really bizarre. I couldn’t sleep all night, quivering and sweating on my bed even though it was really late and I had to wake up early for my examination the next day. During the time of my examination, my fingers kept twitching, I was breaking out in a cold sweat and all I could play was just some randomly strung together misread notes that were hovering all over the page, tempting me to join them in the score itself. I felt like I was in another world. To think this effect would come from consuming tea!”

To prevent such dire consequences, Amanda Ursell, a nutritionist, advised: “Trying to be balanced about your approach to eating and drinking is really important during exam time because eating and drinking the right things can help to boost brain power and concentration.”