How can you learn how to sleep

10 scientific methods to help you sleep better despite exam stress

by Tim Reichel

2:53 am. You are lying in bed and you cannot sleep. You have now reached sheep number 18.532 and the herd is far from over.

You're awake, wide awake to be precise. And has been for a while. You ended your study session earlier today because you wanted to treat yourself to enough rest and relaxation. But your plan didn't work out.

Many students struggle with insomnia - especially during exam time. Either they spend their nights at the desk because they have to keep their study schedule; or they can't sleep at night because the stress of the exam won't let them go.

If you are currently getting too little sleep and are lying awake due to stress, then this article will help you. I've researched some of the best scientific methods for treating sleep disorders and summarized them in ten simple tips for you.

Counting sheep, on the other hand, has no chance.


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How you can sleep better despite exam stress

Sleep is a science in itself. And because that's the case, I've read some studies, sleep guides and interviews with renowned sleep researchers for you.

You can get the essence from these sources served on a silver platter in the following tips. But if you want to read the details, you can do this here, here, here, here, here and here.

These ten methods will help you with stress-related sleep disorders:


# 1 Avoid blue light!

Many students spend time in front of a screen before going to bed. It does not matter whether you are busy with your smartphone, watching films on your tablet or studying on the computer monitor: The blue wavelengths of light that these devices emit wake you up.

Therefore, make a habit of avoiding any type of monitor 30-60 minutes before going to bed. Instead, read a book or do some offline work.


# 2 Recap your day!

If you go to bed after a stressful day of nerve-wracking events and exertion, your brain won't be able to go into sleep mode all of a sudden. Your head will first try to process the past day and go through detail by detail - and that robs you of sleep.

Do this before your brain and review your day before you go to bed. Take a few minutes to do this and review the past hours. It is best to do this in writing and in this way bring order to your thoughts.


# 3 Introduce a sleep ritual!

Humans are creatures of habits. And creatures of habit like one thing in particular: rituals. Rituals are recurring, regular events that bring structure to your everyday life and trigger certain feelings in you.

That is why they are made to conquer your sleep disorders: Think of your own sleep ritual, which you will perform every day before going to bed from now on. This can be, for example, planning the next day, drinking a cup of tea or reading a book. The main thing is that your ritual calms you down and creates a feeling of relaxation in you.


# 4 Don't go to bed until you're tired!

Many students think they need to go to bed at set times to get enough sleep. Unfortunately no Unfortunately not at all. Because if you go to bed even though you are not tired yet, you are guaranteed not to do one thing: sleep.

Only go to bed when you are really tired and your body signals that it needs rest - not before. Otherwise you are wasting potential and lying around unnecessarily. Apropos:


# 5 Don't lie around awake!

Waking times in bed are annoying and unproductive. First, when you lie awake in bed, you are wasting time because you could work on your goals while you are awake or pursue nicer pastimes; and second, you are putting unnecessary pressure on because you are trying in vain to fall asleep.

Before lying around awake for hours, it's a lot smarter to get up on time and put off sleep. Leave the bedroom and do some quiet activity in another room until you feel sleepy again. The aim of this measure is to encourage an atmosphere of sleep and not of agitated wakefulness in your bed and bedroom.


# 6 Don't keep looking at the clock!

If you can't fall asleep, it won't help if you keep looking at the clock. At most, this leads to concern, frustration, and destructive thoughts.

Nobody has fallen asleep faster just because they have confirmed every five minutes that it is already late. Therefore, put your clock in an invisible place in the bedroom or turn your alarm clock out of your field of vision.


# 7 Always get up at the same time!

Rituals work not only before sleep, but also afterwards. A fixed time to get up gives your day structure and helps you to establish a fixed sleep rhythm. Therefore, make a habit of getting up at the same time, regardless of how long you slept the previous night.

Wake up with the alarm clock at the same time each morning, regardless of how long you sleep at night. A regular wake-up time leads to sleepiness occurring at a similar time in the evening.


# 8 take a nap!

If you are particularly tired and weak during the day, you can take a short nap (or, in modern German: a power nap). To do this, lie down in a quiet environment for 15-20 minutes, close your eyes and relax.

To limit your rest time, you should always use an alarm clock. For most people, a relaxation break of more than 30 minutes leads to undesirable indolence and a shorter night's sleep.


# 9 meditate!

Meditation helps you to calm down and to approach your hectic everyday life in a more relaxed manner. By meditating, you reduce stress, promote your health and organize your thoughts. Especially in strenuous phases and with insomnia, you can shut yourself down by meditating and find better sleep.

To do this, do a short meditation exercise before going to bed, concentrating on your breathing and relieving stress in this way. In the beginning, you can use suitable YouTube videos or free apps to support you.


# 10 Don't be afraid of not getting enough sleep!

Worrying about not getting enough sleep is the leading cause of insomnia. The fear of shortened sleep is unfounded, because shortened sleep under stress and excitement does not lead to a sleep deficit if there is no struggle against falling asleep during the day.

Don't think too much about a possible lack of sleep. Accept periods of insomnia as a natural phenomenon and don't put yourself under pressure. This will only make it worse when in doubt.


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Every student suffers from insomnia from time to time. Fluctuations in sleep rhythms and different relaxation needs are completely normal and are human nature.

Depending on the situation, emotional tension, and motivation, a person's need for sleep can vary greatly. However, the key to managing these dynamic changes is not to fight against this phase, but to accept the natural fluctuations in sleep.

You cannot force a sound sleep. But by taking appropriate measures, you can improve your skills in dealing with it. If you understand this and use some of the methods shown regularly, you will sleep better immediately.

Maybe not longer, but better. Despite exam stress.


Image: © Lacie Slezak /