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Crush Exam Time Cravings

Managing the study munchies

Pulling all-nighters? Pumping the coffee and 5-Hour Energy shots? Setting up camp in the library for the unforeseeable future?

School is hard enough, but on top of that there are exams and with exams come the STUDY MUNCHIES!

Studies show that 70 percent of university students gain weight during exam time and that women are at a higher risk of stress-induced eating.

How to squash your cravings

Tip #1: Walk away from cravings

Did you know that by simply increasing your amount of physical activity by 20 minutes a day you can improve your mood and attention span, boost your energy levels, sleep better and curb your food cravings?

Food cravings can lead to impaired attention and weight gain. So next time you feel the munchies creeping up, grab a friend and go for a quick walk!

Tip #2: Stay hydrated

Dehydration can trick your body into thinking you are hungry, resulting in excess calorie consumption. It is also associated with brain shrinkage and reduced executive functioning, such as planning, visuospatial processing and memory.

Consuming more water can induce feelings of fullness, curb cravings, help focus your attention, and boost metabolism.

Tip #3: Sleep off your food cravings

Did you know that:

  • 70 percent of university students do not get a sufficient amount of quality sleep.
  • Skimping on just one night of sleep can lead to diminished self-regulation in appetite control and an increased consumption of more fatty foods the following day.
  • A good night’s sleep will help reduce excess calorie consumption, curb daily food cravings, and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Tip #4: Essential oils help curb cravings

Essential oils are concentrated volatile aromatic compounds derived from plants that have been used medicinally throughout history. More recently, researchers have found that certain odors can stimulate food cravings and hungry, while others can reduce the urge to eat.

Some essential oils that are used to help reduce food cravings include:
  • Grapefruit oil - stimulates lipolysis, heat production, and suppresses appetite
  • Peppermint oil - increases feelings of fullness, suppresses food cravings, and soothes digestive problems
  • Bergamot oil - helps reduce emotional stress and anxiety and promotes feelings of calmness, while reducing food cravings

Tip #5: Acupuncture helps reduce food cravings

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a spleen deficiency may manifest with symptoms of weakness and tiredness, which are associated with increased sugar cravings. However, eating highly concentrated sugars, like chocolate or other refined carbohydrates, does not actually strengthen the spleen and often results in a sugar crash.

Specific acupuncture points can stimulate increased blood flow to the spleen, which can help to reduce the urge to consume high sugar foods.


Northwestern Health Sciences University chiropractic student Michelle Speranza researched and wrote the tips in this article.

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