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Exam Stress and Young Minds

Exams and the build-up to them can be really stressful for parents and students alike.

Increased screen time, the pressure to succeed and the inability to switch off can tip the nervous system into permanent “sympathetic nervous system” mode. This is the “fight or flight” mode the body originally evolved as a mechanism to protect us from imminent danger. The anxiety response in the brain causes a cascade of hormones with wide-ranging effects such as shortness of breath, racing heart, paling or flushing of the face, sweaty hands... The list goes on and, if left unchecked, may lead to more regular and extreme symptoms. Youngsters who suffer from anxiety may feel abnormal and socially isolated.

Depression is a deeply personal issue and masks itself in so many varied symptoms. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that perhaps the most effective treatment is personal empowerment of the sufferer’s own treatment so that they can learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, so parents can assist with this.

Finding the tools that work for the individual is key to success.

Our 5 top tips which everyone can try are:

  1. A regular exercise routine is both physically and mentally beneficial for health, especially within a group or team which will help reduce isolation. 
  2. Regular sleep and a bedtime routine are very important, so not just turning off all blue light-emitting devices, but also avoiding food or drink late at night to provide at least two hours to digest. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 1 pm. Encourage children to express themselves by drawing or writing; it’s such a beautiful tool as an outlet to release thoughts.
  3. Breathing is also vital – learn how to retrain the breath. The hormonal cascade causes us to shallow breathe and suck in more air than we breathe out, making the panic worse. A great technique is “The Big Breath”. Tony Ulatowski has been using this technique in West London with more than 400 students, from pre-schoolers to secondary students, for the last year and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents, teachers, and pupils.
  4. A healthy balanced diet including “live” foods, vegetables and fruits can be hugely helpful. Amazingly 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. A study from Victoria, New Zealand in 2017 found patients with moderate to severe depression had a statistically significant improvement in their symptoms on a modified Mediterranean diet. Dr. Chatterjee, star of the BBC’s Doctor in the House, shows that diet can make a difference. However, when was the last time your doctor asked you about food when you were concerned about feeling depressed?
  5. There are also a few natural supplements which are safe, effective, nonaddictive, adaptogenic, providing an evidence-based approach for mood imbalance and anxiety in both children and teenagers.

The benefits of Saffron

One of the most widely tested is the ancient spice, Saffron. Saffron targets the gut as well as the brain. Dr. Paul Clayton, Fellow at The Institute of Food, Brain, and Behaviour, believes Saffron should be considered in place of current therapies, which he believes are outdated and on off-target “By targeting core aspects of mood and anxiety, Saffron works far more rapidly than the pharmaceuticals, which are shooting at the wrong target. In short, Saffron restores normal nerve function in key areas of the brain. If you have chronic inflammation, the “brakes” are put on a few key processes. Saffron takes the brakes off. Moreover, it acts very fast (hours, not weeks or months), has no withdrawal symptom, no side effects, and is safe to use with children.”

Formulated by a parent, for others in his shoes.

When Kevin Leivers, founder of The Naked Pharmacy discovered his own child was struggling with hyperactivity and lack of sleep he set out to find a natural product to give to his son. This lack of effective choices led him to develop a child-friendly effective formulation of Saffrosun called 'Saffrosun for Children'. Since its launch in 2016, we have been delighted with the positive feedback from practitioners and parents alike who are looking for nutritional support for children which can be safely integrated with conventional medicines.

When faced with a child or teenager who is nervous, has a low mood, or suffering from poor emotional balance, frequent tiredness and/or poor-quality sleep, a high quality, correctly strength food-based supplement is an effective option to use alongside conventional approaches.

happy child free of exam stress

The Naked Pharmacy always has an expert Pharmacist on hand to speak to you about any questions or concerns you might have.

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