My little sister rolls her eyes every time I tell her that she shouldn’t be studying on her bed. I recite the warnings that studying on your bed makes you more tired, but she retorts that she doesn’t feel sleepy and that it’s fine. But whether or not she admits it, studying on her bed is working against her effort of studying. When it comes to studying, there are a lot of things we’re supposed to do. Like start studying way in advance, making notes and asking questions, rewriting things in our own words, and on and on and on. But there’s one very, very important thing that a lot of us miss in our efforts to optimize studying.

Taking a break. Before you start to feel guilty at the very thought of it, hear me out (or, read me out). Taking breaks are essential to doing your best for a few reasons – a) it gives you a chance to absorb what you’ve been reading b) it gives you a chance to catch your breath & c) it gives you a chance to get moving! When you’re stuck on a problem or trying to digest a theory, what better way to jog your memory than to go for a real jog? Moving around may just kick-start those creative juices after all, going for a run to some of your favorite music could just be the adrenaline you need in between study sessions.

But before you go off running or dancing or downward dogging or any combination thereof, you’ve got to have something in your belly to keep you nourished and energized. Whether it’s grabbing a banana or snacking on a granola bar, whatever fills you up and gets you going will work. And it’s not just little ol’ me that thinks this, and to prove it, Clif Bar (a company that makes energy bars) wants to make sure that you are being good to yourself and taking study breaks, and they want to give you some Clif bars to keep you going! You can learn more about their campaign here and here. It’s quick and easy – just go on your Twitter account and tweet, “Hey, @NSCS! I just *insert study break activity* for my #studybreak! Now I need a @ClifBar! #TalkNerdy2Me” — and voila, food for you.

So remember, your academic best depends on how well you study – and how well you get going during your break! Study up, fuel up, move around, tweet it, and get some goods!

Give me a break – and some Clif bars!

Jennie David is a 20 year old sophomore at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. She is a member of NSCS and Psi Chi and is a dual citizen of both Canada and the US. She has Crohn’s Disease and is the chair of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada’s Youth Advisory Council. Her career goal is to be a pediatric psychologist for chronically ill children. Visit her blog about the upcoming Peru trip here.