Don't let the summer fry your brain!

The summer holidays may be seen as much needed respite for weary students, but evidence suggests that it may actually do your brains more harm than good. This seems to be especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who return to school /college/ university after the summer holidays even further behind than their wealthier peers.

So what are the habits that fry students’ brain over the summer?

Bad Sleep Habits

Despite sleeping for about 20 years over our lifetime, most people aren’t very good at it and probably don’t get enough of it. The importance of sleep shouldn’t be underestimated, with a good night’s sleep being linked to better memory, concentration, alertness, immune system and decision making.

The National Sleep Foundation recommend that young people get an average of 9 hours sleep a night. Most fall short of this. During the summer holidays, sleep patterns tend to significantly shift, with young people staying and waking up later. Although a little bit this is to be expected, it is important to develop good sleeping patterns. Common sleep mistakes include watching TV right up until bed, being on your mobile phone when in bed and drinking caffeinated/energy drinks just before sleep.

Not Doing Any Work at All

Researchers have found that two of the most effective ways to boost memory is called ‘the testing effect’ and ‘spacing’. The testing effect describes the act of having to generate an answer to a question, whereas spacing involves doing a little bit of work often, instead of all at once near the end.

Just doing a few minutes of revision and college work here and there in the summer holidays can ensure that you don’t forget what you once knew. This can involve quizzes, multiple choice questions or past papers. This work will really pay-off 12 months later when you need to recall large amounts of information in exams.

Being a Slave to Your Mobile Phone

The average person checks their mobile phone over 85 times a day. Young people who are too reliant on their mobile phone report being more stressed, have higher levels of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), poorer concentration and end up getting worse grades. It is hard to get out of a bad habit, so it is important to get into good routines around mobile phones during the summer holidays. More time spent outside and with friends in person will lead to happy and healthier students

Final Thought

Life is short and time is precious, so it is good to enjoy the summer holidays. Enjoy the much needed break and have fun. Just a few tweaks and nudges around good sleep, revisiting previous work a little bit and controlling your mobile phone (instead of it controlling you) can make all the difference when you return to school.

This piece was written for Future Magazine by Bradley Busch and Edward Watson, both are experienced coaches who have worked with Premier League footballers and elite athletes who achieved medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016, the duo have also worked with over 200 schools and colleges.

Their book Release your Inner Drive is available now, for more info visit: