Can’t Sleep Before An Exam?

5 min read

Are you cramming for your exam and just can’t get to sleep? Many things depend on what you achieve, what your parents expect, and what university you are accepted. Whether it’s an exam or a test, we all feel some pressure. Some deserved, some not so deserved.

To perform at your best, it is vital to get enough sleep before an exam. If you are cramming, you will need a minimum of six hours of sleep and more if possible. Avoid waiting until the last minute to revise, so you won’t be stressed out and unable to sleep. 

It is common to experience difficulty sleeping before an exam, as stress and anxiety can interfere with sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping before an exam, here are a few tips that may help:

  1. Follow a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Wind down before bed by doing something relaxing, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to soothing music.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep, so it is a good idea to avoid consuming these substances close to bedtime.
  4. Exercise during the day: Engaging in physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night. Just be sure to finish your workout a few hours before bedtime, as exercising too close to bedtime can actually make it harder to fall asleep.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Try using relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation, to help calm your mind and body before bed.

If you are still having difficulty sleeping, it may be a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional or a mental health professional for further evaluation and guidance. They can help you identify and address any underlying

Is It OK Not To Sleep Before An Exam?

Most of us have been sitting there worrying about what we know and what we don’t know, so then the exam is suddenly looming upon us, and, holy moly, we need to start cramming.

The problem is cramming or revision for exams, and it needs to be done over time- based on all of your coursework. If you think you can study the whole academic years of work in a week or a few days, think again.

Sleep deprivation is one of the worst things you can do if you are looking for high performance, such as an important exam. You will experience brain fog and worse if you don’t sleep correctly.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep Before An Exam?

Here are just a few of the things you will experience if you didn’t get enough sleep before an exam:

  • Mood shifts, including irritability and depression, this is common with sleep deprivation. This will render you virtually useless on the day of the exam.
  • Anxiety and stress combined with the loss of coping skills. If you can’t cope with an exam, then the writing is on the wall!
  • Underperforming cognitive skills and loss of perception
  • Unable to concentrate and unable to think in a logical way
  • Failure to assimilate and analyze new information
  • Reduced communicative functions
  • Reduction in motor skills, unable to type or write and speed without significant errors

These are just a few of the symptoms of not getting enough sleep before an exam, and I assure you there are many, many more.

How many hours to sleep before exam

The amount of sleep a person needs before an exam can vary depending on factors such as their age, activity level, and overall health. In general, it is recommended that adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers and children may need slightly more.

If you are preparing for an exam, it is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep in the days leading up to the exam. Getting enough sleep can help you feel rested, focused, and better able to retain information.

If you are having trouble sleeping the night before an exam, it may be helpful to try to get extra rest in the days leading up to the exam to make up for any lost sleep. It is also a good idea to follow good sleep hygiene practices, such as creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.

If you are still having difficulty sleeping, it may be a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional or a mental health professional for further evaluation and guidance. They can help you identify and address any underlying issues that may be affecting your sleep.

What Can I do To Improve My Exam Results

The first thing you need to do is get some decent sleep and start your revision earlier.

However, It is understood that some of you cannot sleep because of anxiety, and that is a different subject.

Avoid studying until the last minute. We know it’s hard to stay motivated, and with everything going on in the world right now, it’s easy to let things slip.

Set a cut-off time to finish your revision work at a reasonable time, say 9 pm, that leaves time for you.


Every evening make exercise part of your routine. It will make your body tired and release dopamine and endorphins into your body. This will make you feel good about yourself and relieve some of the stress you are feeling.


Eat healthy foods and not heavy foods. If you’re not training for a marathon, stay away from complex carbs, the sugar conversion will make you feel sluggish and give you a foggy brain.

Eat a diet high in protein and green vegetables, stay away from surgery drinks, caffeine, and anything else that may prevent you from sleeping healthy.

Take A Warm Bath

After you have studied, eaten, and exercised, take a warm bath and pamper yourself, relax in your favorite bubble bath.

Light a candle and listen to some of your favorite music. This time is about you and making yourself feel relaxed.


You need to create an environment where sleep is possible, ditch the laptop and cell phone; you need some me time!

Before you get into bed, make the room cool, this will help with your sleep. Also, make sure the room is dark.

If you have your laptop or phone, the light emitted is similar in wavelengths to sunlight, and you will be wide awake again.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a great way to put yourself in the mood for relaxation; even guys love the scent of lavender in the room and the calming effects.


Listen to some relaxing music. Try not to listen to anything that will excite you; heavy metal or RAP is not ideal before bedtime; you need to bring yourself down to a state where you are completely relaxed.

There are some great relaxation downloads, such as the sound of the waves gently lapping on the seashore.

If you find your mind racing, then pick up a book, not a school book, a book where your mind can wander off and enjoy the serenity of the moment.

Worrying Will Not Help

As the big event looms, worrying is not going to help you. If you can relieve stress, then your chances of success are higher.

There comes the point before an exam where you have to draw a line in the sand and accept what is all you know.

If you have been a good student, then the probability is the exam will work out fine.

The Bottom Line

Many of us have no concept of what enough sleep is. We just accept the pressures of daily life. However, sleep makes a massive difference in performance and logical thinking, the attributes you need to take to any exam.

Don’t leave cramming until the very last minute. It will not help unless you are fortunate.

Establish a sleeping routine where you can perform to the very best of your abilities, and with luck, you will succeed.

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