How to get a good night’s sleep before A-level results

Guide, News

It’s almost over

There’s only one more sleep to go until you find out your A-level results, and if you’re not trembling with fear then you’re clearly not taking it seriously enough.

However just because tomorrow could potentially ruin your life, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to have a deep and dreamless doze tonight.

We spoke to a sleep psychologist to find out how to get to get some shut-eye tonight – and how to avoiding sleeping in through clearing tomorrow.

Wind down

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If you want to snooze before the big day, you need to start prepping early. Dr Gita Patel, Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Manchester, says: “You should start thinking about winding down during the day.

“Spend time with family, do things that you enjoy, listen to music. Having a good wind-down routine is the best way to take your mind off results and have a good night’s sleep.”

Save your James Blunt playlist for tomorrow though.

Avoid coffee

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It might go without saying, but put the double espressos on hold if you don’t want to become more of a juddering wreck.

Dr Patel says: “Avoid caffeinated drinks. Alcohol doesn’t help either. Also don’t eat too late – try and have your dinner at a reasonable hour.

“Try and stick to water and soft drinks. A warm, milky drink is probably your best bet.”

See, mum was right.

Stop worrying

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The gut-clenching fear you’re experiencing is no-doubt inevitable, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk.

Dr Patel suggests a change of perspective. She says: “If you’re worried you’ve done badly and it’s keeping you from going to sleep, one thing could be to try and talk to other people, like your parents, about how it’s not the end of the world.”

If your exams went so badly that you think they’ll come back to haunt your dreams, grab a pen and paper. Dr Patel says: “I don’t think there’s any real way of avoiding nightmares.

“But you could try writing down any worrying thoughts you’re having in a diary, to take them off your mind and put them onto paper.”

Get off your phone

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Your friends might be a great support network now, but that won’t be worth anything when they’ve all dozed off without a care by midnight.

Dr Patel says: “Try and stay off iPads and phones  – things that have bright backlit displays can hinder going to sleep.

“You might be thinking about texting people about how nervous you are, but you’ll sleep much better if you don’t.”

Tom can wait till tomorrow to hear about your existential crisis.

Go for a stroll

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Counting sheep isn’t going to help you here – Dr Patel advises a change of scenery to send you into a slumber. She says: “If you’re just lying there unable to sleep, it might be more helpful to get out of bed and go into a different room.

“Try reading or some other distracting activity for half an hour or until you feel really sleepy, then return to bed to sleep.

“You want to keep your bedroom associated with sleep, rather than trying to sleep and being frustrated because you can’t.”

Draw your curtains

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If your results aren’t online until 8am, you don’t want to be refreshing the page blearily at five.

Dr Patel says: “Make sure your room is as dark as possible – use blackout curtains if you have them, and if not use an eyemask. Either will help stop you getting up too early in the morning.”

Set an alarm

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Likewise, if you’re not taking it as seriously as you should then don’t let yourself sleep through clearing.

Dr Patel says: “If you’re worried about oversleeping, set an alarm. Also try to have a backup, someone to ring you to wake you up at an agreed time that won’t be too early or too late.”

Or don’t – it’s only the rest of your life.

The University of Manchester are looking to recruit good and poor sleepers aged 18+ to volunteer in their studies – contact [email protected] for more info.

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