How nutrition and sleep can help with your finals


Illustration by Linlin Xing

By Kristi Lucchetta, Staff Writer

Stress levels can be high and energy levels low as finals week approaches. Sleep and nutrition can be key to making students’ lives easier during dead week along with preparation throughout the quarter.

Not only will getting enough sleep help with test performance, learning a new skill and staying on task, but it may also be a critical factor healthwise, including maintaining weight and energy levels, according to

Peter Shields, Ph.D., EWU communications professor and adviser, instructs students to prioritize which finals might need the most attention and to use time management skills accordingly.

“I would advise students to take advantage of the opportunities given by professors,” said Shields. “Us professors want our students to succeed, so communicate and find students who are like-minded to form study groups.”

Shields said he gives his students study guides and review sessions which he expects them to study two to three weeks before the final to be prepared.

“Sometimes I have to study, but how I study usually depends on the class,” EWU junior Blake Snyder said.

Massive amounts of caffeine consumption by students may tend to backfire on them. The more caffeine a person consumes during the day, the harder it will be to fall asleep at night. Sleep deprivation can also affect cognitive skills and academic achievement.

Students may think they can catch up on sleep when the weekend comes around, but this is not a good option. The Mayo Clinic webpage advises against pushing sleep until the weekend, saying sleep schedules can affect the biological clock and cause irritability.

Aside from just sleep, reaching for the energy drink over some veggies will only make it harder for the body to sustain energy for a longer period of time.

According to the Mayo Clinic webpage, studies show deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration. Amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition and reasoning.
“Students should study beforehand and be prepared,” said Shields. “This will allow students to get that confidence and prepare for all of their finals.”

Shields encourages students to know the material to instill confidence in themselves in order to give it their best performance.

“I try to study more than I usually do and for a longer amount of time,” said EWU sophomore Madison Little. “I would not drink a night before I had a final or any test.”

The week before finals, the bars in downtown Cheney celebrate the last Thursday of the quarter. Some students might find it hard to balance finals and going out with friends, while some keep the tradition going of celebrating the quarter almost being over.

“I do a little bit of studying a few days before finals,” said EWU senior Brody Baird. “My ASL class is kind of hard but it won’t influence if I go out on [last Thursday] or not.”

So if procrastinating is an unbreakable habit during finals, remember to make the testing season easier by maintaining a structured sleeping schedule along with healthy food choices.