I am Stressed About Exams
- October 15, 2022
- Posted by: Ushauri
- Category: Students Questions & Answers
Dear Ushauri! I am a form four student preparing for exams. I am keen on making good final grades and have been studying obsessively for this exam. Other than chronic sleep deprivation, everything seemed normal until about two weeks ago when I started to get dizzy spells every time I stood up. And then a few days ago I had bad cramps and actually passed out, but quickly regained consciousness. This happened to me a few years ago, while preparing for my class 8 final exam. Could this be due to my diet, when approaching exams or any other intense activity, I barely eat, so I am underweight, smoke a few cigarettes daily, drink a lot of coffee and energy drinks to keep me energized. Or perhaps I just need rest, and some fresh air? I am really tired and don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.
Please help me.
Passing exams is important, but your health matters a lot. Fainting is something that cannot and should not be taken lightly. My top advice is you make time and visit a hospital for check-up. You being underweight also need to be addressed by a doctor to rule out any underlying issues.
There are a few things that can make one faint and from your communication, you have several. Allow me to address them here.
Energy drinks have significant caffeine levels that increase urine output and can contribute to dehydration when consumed in large amounts. A significant reduction of fluids in a person’s body, can leave one dehydrated. People who are dehydrated have an increased risk of fainting, especially when they stand up too quickly. This may be accompanied with dizziness, light-headedness, less urination and headaches.
If you don’t drink enough fluids, you affect the amount of blood in your body, as you will experience reduced blood volumes, thus lowered blood pressure leaving you susceptible to dehydration, especially during hot weather.
Since one of the symptoms of dehydration is cramping, we can only deduce that you fainted due to dehydration, but this can only be confirmed once you visit a doctor.
Being overly hungry, as indicated by your statement, ‘I barely eat’ can cause a drop in your blood sugar levels, leave you lightheaded and can trigger fainting.
The pressure you have bestowed upon yourself, panic, anxiety and the energy drinks you are consuming affect your nervous system, thus lowering your blood pressure and this can trigger fainting.
Standing for a long time causes blood to pool in the legs due to gravity thus standing up quickly might leave you feeling dizzy or even cause one to faint.
Finally, I can’t stress enough the fact that you need to visit a doctor and get checked. It’s the only way to know what is happening. The information herein is just but a deduction from what you have written to us.
Watching your health while preparing for an exam is very important. Watch what you eat, be careful with what you drink, minimise injecting your body with useless additives such as sugar and cigarettes and exercises to blow of steam, benefit from feel good compounds which will elevate your mood and make you feel energized, improve your memory, enhance your focus and reduce your anxiety and stress. Taking time to exercise also improves your discipline and commitment to a task solely meant for self-improvement.
Kim- Ushauri Fitness Coach
Taking care of yourself while preparing for exams is necessary. When you are healthy, you will be able to put in more study hours, you won’t have to add to your worries, now apart from exam preparation, you have to worry about why you keep fainting. Taking care of yourself ensures that you do more thus no need to panic or feel the pressure to perform when you know you have covered more.
Cigarettes and energy drinks could be compromising your exam preparation process and adding up to your dizzy spells and cramps.
Energy drinks are beverages intended to increase alertness, concentration, attention, and energy. The problem is that their main ingredient, taurine, L-carnitine and glucuronolactone, don’t provide a genuine energy boost as you might desire. The perceived energy boost likely comes from sugar but it doesn’t last long before you experience a crash, thus the desire to drink another one.
Also be wary of the fact that an energy drink contains about 13 teaspoons of sugar per serving, more than double the World Health Organization’s recommended daily limit of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, apart from other adverse effects of high sugar intake over time, diabetes and obesity, just to mention a few.
The caffeine in energy drinks increases the amount of salt and water that your body releases via urine, which can sometimes lead to dehydration, especially if not compensated with water.
Another ingredient that may make you feel energetic after consuming an energy drink is guarana; a plant, high in caffeine and stimulates the central nervous system, but can cause headaches, insomnia, nervousness, mood swings and reduced appetite, which might explain why you barely eat.
Energy drinks contain citric acid and sugar damages teeth by eroding away the enamel leaving you with tooth sensitivity, tooth decays and a thinner enamel that becomes susceptible to yellowing and stains.
In addition to the above side effects, energy drinks cause impair cognitive development, increase risk of depression, increase risk-taking behavior and cause sleep disorders all which you don’t want to be dealing with when you are just about to sit for your exams.
Remember that when an energy drink containing caffeine, a stimulant is combined with cigarettes which contain nicotine, a stimulant, the stimulants affect your brain by increasing focus, can increase blood pressure, making you feel temporarily alert and cause your heart to beat faster and in extreme cases cause hyperventilation and fainting.
Nicotine and caffeine are both addictive and lead to nervousness, insomnia, dehydration, and fatigue. Immediately after consumption, your blood sugar rises slightly, giving you increased energy that soon subsides, leaving you feeling low with a need to drink more energy drinks and smoke more.
Now that you know the risks, consider moderating your intake of energy drinks and smoking. Drink a lot of water as you go along to tone down the effects of energy drinks and keep you hydrated.
Replace energy drinks with nutrition packed beverages such as milk, water and fresh juice. And Eat small amounts of food but often enough to keep your energy levels high. When standing for long periods of time, move your legs periodically and when it is time to stand, do it gently.
Good luck with your endeavors and please take care of your health; you will reap more with time.