Your brain on finals

Feeling overwhelmed by work? Need a pick-me-up? Don’t drink one of those disgusting 5- Hour Energy drinks, binge-eat Twinkies, or cry out in sorrow. Instead, calmly read this interview with Fiery Cushman — one Brown’s fantastic professors of Psychology — and learn about what you can do/are doing for your noggin in the coming weeks.Sarah Weiss: Does what I eat have an affect on my brain’s ability to study?

Professor Fiery Cushman: Actually it does.  The brain consumes a large proportion of the body’s energy, and several studies indicate that our investment in careful, effortful thought depends in part on the amount of available sugar in our blood.  When your blood is full of energy you work harder and longer on difficult problems, and are also better at exerting willpower and control over your behavior.But this doesn’t mean that your studying should be fueled by a steady stream of soda and twinkies.  That will buy you a short-term jump in blood sugar, but a long-term crash.  A smarter strategy is to fuel yourself for studying the way you would for a hike: using snacks like trail mix that provide a steady stream of fuel over a long period of time.