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Health Care
Ways To Stay Healthy During Exams, Even With Coffee
Exams. Coffee. Staying up nights. The three words are synonymous. We all know excess coffee is bad, and staying up through the night has adverse effects. But we still do it - 'cause we're stuck - and we have to push ourselves.

So here are some ways to keep healthy, along with coffees and night-ups.

First looking at the better side of things. Coffee does help.

The Good Coffee Points
It stimulates the nervous system. Coffee helps relieve mental as well as muscular fatigue. It increases alertness and also boosts energy levels. Coffee also gives you a mild positive 'high'. Yes, that's why the whole world goes the coffee way, once exams are on.

But of course all these great benefits are when you don't go overboard. So how much is the right amount?

Getting It Right
Says dietician, Ritika Bhambri, 20 to 200gms of caffeine per day, will give you all the above benefits. She elaborates 150 ml of brewed coffee has about 80 to 120 mg of caffeine. Instant coffee has less, about 50 - 65 mg.

Coffee Alternatives
So if you're going to be having lots of coffee - go for instant coffee. Or better still says Ritika, these days you get de-caffeinated coffee in the market. So if you are one of those ten cups a day types - de-caffeinated coffee is just what you need.

But if you are the kinds who MUST have brewed coffee - then make milk coffee. Use just milk and no water - add your coffee to that, and brew - this will reduce caffeine content.

Tea Break
Then of course we have tea - the perfect substitute to coffee. Tea contains theopromine and theophyline, which helps relax your coronary artery and promotes blood circulation, says Ritika. It is therefore a healthier option and a better stimulant.

If not substitute, you can at least complement it with coffee. Have a coffee break, then a tea break, and so on.

It would also be a good idea to rotate with some other healthy options, as bournvita, hot chocolate, horlicks or complan. If you hate milk you can try horlicks or hot chocolate with hot water.

Water The Elixir
Don't forget the elixir of life - water during these exam days. Often fatigue and mild headaches are a sign that you are becoming dehydrated. If you don't consume enough water, your output of energy will drop. Carry a water bottle with you, and drink periodically throughout the day.

In fact you should try and drink a cup of water for every cup of coffee. (this is in addition to water you may take during meal-times) Water will also somewhat decrease your desire for coffee.
Staying Up
If you plan to stay awake through the night
• Eat a light meal at night
• Avoid oily or fried snacks - these will only make you sleepy.
• If you are taking coffee through the night - eat something light along with it - eg a biscuit or rusk

Immunity Decreases
One study of medical students, during which they tested the immune system before, during and after final exams, discovered that the immune system was at its lowest right before and during the final exam. When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that suppress the immune system and you are less able to fight off viruses.

De-stressing is therefore important for your physical as well as mental well-being.

Be sure to take out time for some fun everyday. Having a good laugh is a great way to de-stress and have fun.

Have a set hour of leisure time everyday to have fun. Do not use this time to watch TV or read other books/magazines. Avoid any activity which strains the eyes - as your eyes too need rest.

Go out and play, take a walk, go meet a friend in the neighbourhood, do some yoga, meditation - anything you like - but some outdoor activity is best.

If inside - listen to music, dance, or if nothing else, take a shower.

Suffering from sleepless nights?
Some of you may face the opposite problem of not being able to drop off when you want to. This is because you are too stressed and your mind is whirling with all that you have read.

Sometimes sleep can be facilitated by a warm shower or bath, glass of milk or warm non-caffeinated beverage, or listening to relaxing music. Reading something boring may also help.

So keep these tips in mind and get set go – it’s exam time!