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Natural Support for Exam Stress and Anxiety

Natural Support for Exam Stress and Anxiety

With just a couple of weeks until the start of GCSE, A Levels and other end of year exams, we have had many questions from parents and students about natural remedies and techniques that may help provide additional support during this stressful time.

At Amaranth, we have registered nutritional therapists and health advisors that can provide specific advice for you or your teenagers, but here we share a few general suggestions that may help. If you are thinking of introducing any of these ideas, we suggest that you do so as soon as possible. You should then see the benefits earlier, you also don’t want to try anything new on the day of an exam.  Any questions, just contact us, we are happy to help.

It goes without saying that a good night's sleep the night before an exam will leave you more ready to deal with whatever the exam paper gives you.  This is, however, easier said than done. Night time is often the time when the worries kick in.

A bedtime ritual the night before an exam could make all the difference:

    • Turn off those devices – laptops, iPads and phones (yes phones) a couple of hours before you go to sleep.  The lights from devices may affect your bodies' ability to produce melatonin (the hormone that helps to make you sleepy).

    • Take a warm bath with Better You Magnesium Salts.  Magnesium is often called "nature's tranquilliser".  Human clinical studies have found positive effects of magnesium on sleep and many of our customers swear by it. Magnesium can be absorbed in through the skin, so you can soak away for 20 minutes or so. 

  • Essential oils including lavender,  jasmine and sweet basil have been associated with healthy sleep. NEOM pillow mist contains these oils and provides a much needed bedtime pamper.

 On exam day, consider what you eat and drink to keep your energies up

  • If your exam is in the morning, try to make sure that your breakfast contains fibre (wholemeal bread, oats, fruit) and protein (eggs, nuts or nut butter, natural yoghurt).  Fibre and protein will help you feel fuller for longer and balance blood sugar levels to sustain energy levels throughout your exam.  Ideally stay away from refined, sugary cereals, white breads or pastries.  These release their sugars quickly, which may be helpful short term, but you don’t want to get the resulting energy dip mid exam.

  • For an afternoon exam, a lunch of brown bread with chicken, egg or humus with salad or an omelette and some vegetable crudities would also contain protein and fibre. 

  • You could snack on a protein/fibre rich snack bar either just before or during your exam – I recommend Pulsin Bars, some mixed nuts with dried fruit or peanut butter on toast.

  • Drink plenty of water. You might want to add in an effervescent multi vitamin such as EmergenC sachet. These contain B Vitamins, which are a great way to get an energy boost and may help improve mood.

 Specific supplements and nutrients may be helpful if are particularly anxious or need more support with focus and concentration.

    • L Theanine is an amino acid which naturally occurs in green tea. At a dose of 200mg, L Theanine has been shown to measurably increase brain alpha waves which increase brain relaxation. The herb lemon balm has also long been used for relaxation.  A number of studies have shown lemon balm to calm down the mind and nervous system without having sedative effects.  The Viridian L-Theanine and Lemon Balm is a popular products for worry and anxiety.

  • Rescue Remedy is a favourite amongst our customers. Rescue remedy contains a combination of flower essences to provide support in terms of emotional demand.  Rescue Remedy can be taken in sprays, pastilles or lozenges, so they can be good for taking into the exam room.

  • The medicinal mushroom Lion's Mane is currently receiving attention for improving cognition and concentration. A recent study suggested that this mushroom, may improve speed of performance and reduce subjective stress in healthy, young adults.  It should be noted, however that research so far is limited to fairly small sample sizes and that more research is needed before the benefits are fully known.

  • The herb Bramhi (also known as Bacaopa) has also been traditionally used for memory enhancement.  Ayurvedic medicine describes Bacopa as a "medhya rasayana," meaning a class of herbs believed to improve mental health, memory, and intellect and promote rejuvenation and longevity. Many clinical studies have supported this.  If you are considering Lion’s Mane or Bramhi for concentration, we recommend that you contact us for a conversation with our nutritional therapists so that we can provide more information to help you decide.

  • Magnesium. As well as research with regards to sleep, magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 of the processes in the body.  It has been associated with an improvement in mood and energy.  Magnesium can be absorbed in through the skin and also taken in capsule form. Our supplement recommendation is Viridian High Potency Magnesium which is a blend of three types of magnesium in a one a day dose.

If you are considering taking any supplements, please call and speak to our nutrition team first. You can contact us on 0161 439 9856.  Supplements may interact with other medications and there may be reasons why they are not right for you – always check with your GP.  This article is intended for students aged 16 and above.  For younger children please contact us for advice.

Good Luck!

Find us at: 

Amaranth 19 Bramhall Lane South, Bramhall, SK7 1AL.  0161 439 9856

For many, this week is the start of exam week. Over the last week or so we have spoken to many parents and teenagers about natural remedies that are available to support during this time. At Amaranth, we have registered nutritional therapists and health advisers that can provide specific advice and confirm that the remedies are right for you or your teenagers.