To feel and perform your best it is absolutely essential to get enough sleep, and that is what makes getting a good night’s rest, especially critical when you are preparing to take an exam.
Here are some useful advice and tips from sleep experts to help you wake up feeling prepared and refreshed when you wake up in the morning each day.
How to sleep well during exam times:
1. Make enough time for sleep
It is essential to schedule enough time for sleeping. When you need to get up at a certain time, determine how many hours you want to sleep and add an extra thirty minutes. Then count back. That will be the time you are scheduled to turn out the lights. That extra hour an hour is very important – don’t forget about the amount of time it takes to get dressed, brush your teeth and so forth.
2. Watch what and when you eat
Eating meals late at night due to studying all day long will impair your sleep and change your internal clock. Although you shouldn’t go to bed feeling hungry, try having a large dinner before 7 pm, and then if you are still hungry, a small snack later in the evening. There are certain foods that are thought to help sleep, including walnuts, bananas, milk, and turkey. They all contain tryptophan which is used by the body to produce melatonin.
3. Limit the number of caffeinated drinks you consume
Although the effect caffeine varies from one individual to the next, you should try to avoid all caffeine sources after 3 pm, and make adjustments to that if necessary. Keep in mind coffee is not the only thing that contains caffeine – it is also in over beverages like soda, chocolate, and tea.
4. Make your bed the place where you rest
Doing last-minute revisions or checking your email while you are bed can prevent your brain from associating your bed as a place of rest, and your bed instead can be associated as somewhere that cognitive arousal takes place. That can make it difficult to get to sleep, so make sure that all distractions are removed from your bedroom.
5. Don’t use a smartphone while you are in bed
Light and noise are emitted by electronic devices; both of them will prevent you from sleeping. The LCD screens on tablets and phones emit blue-enriched light. This type of light influences the internal clock (or circadian rhythm) of the body and delays the sleep hormone called melatonin from being released. Although it is possible to sleep without melatonin, the sleep that you get will be non-refreshing and light. Another thing that light can do is make you feel much more alert, which trains your bed to associate your bed with cognitive arousal.
6. Establish a bedtime routine
Performing exercise is an excellent way to relax during your exam time since it improves your mood due to the endorphins that your body releases. However, these endorphins that are released as a result of exercise can impair sleep as well. Therefore, try to avoid exercising during the final two hours before you go to bed. Instead, use those last couple of hours on a relaxing bedtime routine. For example, you could sit and read a book or relax in a bath with lavender oil in the water.
7. Clear your head prior to going to bed
That old saying about taking a problem with you to bed will cause you to wake up with a solution does have some truth to it. However, you don’t want problems to prevent you from getting to sleep.
Your brain will stay active if you lay awake and mull over your thoughts, so keep a notebook next to your bed so that you can write down your thoughts before you go to sleep. Breathing exercises and meditation can help as well.
If you are unable to fall asleep, don’t force yourself to try to sleep. Use the 15-minute rule instead: if you are unable to fall asleep after about 15 minutes, then get up out of bed and leave your bedroom. Try to relax someplace else. Don’t go back to bed until you feel sleepy once again.
8. Keep in mind that sleeping poorly for one night won’t hurt you that much
The next day might be harder and you may need to drink more coffee in order to function, however, you will still get through the day following one night of sleeping badly. Sleep is something we do automatically – you can’t forget yourself asleep, so don’t worry about how not sleeping will impair your sleep the next night.
If necessary, try taking a nap, but keep them to less than a half an hour, and don’t nap after 3 pm. Following a night of sleeping badly, most likely you will sleep well the next night.