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The #1 Most Important Key to a Great Test Day: A Good Night’s Sleep

I cannot overemphasize the importance of sleep, especially for high school students. We all know what your day is like when you don’t get enough sleep the night before: Terrible! I have to take red-eye flights a fair amount, and the day after a red-eye I simply don’t schedule any work. I know I’m not going to be productive. Well if you are constantly staying up too late and not getting enough sleep, that’s what you’re doing to yourself every day. So how can you make a sleep a priority? Use these techniques to make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you’re productive and not a ball of nerves for your tests.


Set an Alarm


We all set alarms to wake up, but have you ever thought of setting an alarm to go to sleep? I’ve definitely been there when I’m watching TV or browsing Facebook and suddenly it’s midnight and I meant to go to bed two hours ago. I bet you have too. Setting an alarm 20 minutes before you want to go to bed (8 hours before you need to get up) to give you that cue that it’s time to get ready for bed can be a life saver.


Parents, if you’re constantly having to drag your kid out of bed in the morning, try this technique. I know my mom had the absolute hardest time getting my sister out of bed each morning. With this simple tip, you can save yourself a lot of stress in the morning. Test out what time each night works best for you and your children.


Gadgets & Gizmos for Waking Up Refreshed


There are so many apps and gadgets available to monitor your sleep these days, and when the apple watch comes out there will be one more. I use an app called Sleep Cycle, and I absolutely love it. It monitors my sleep by measuring how much I’m moving and wakes me up within a half hour from my specified time during a period of lighter sleep. I’ve been using this app for about two months now, and I very rarely wake up groggy. It also has the easiest snooze ever. You just lift or tap your phone. But it doesn’t let you snooze past your wake up time. If you have another gadget you use to track your sleep, let me know in the comments!


If you want a really low-tech way to monitor your sleep, just take notes when you wake up. Record on your phone when you went to sleep, when you woke up, and how you felt. You can get an idea for how much sleep your body needs since we’re all different.


The Power Nap


I love naps. Whenever I’m feeling exhausted, it is my absolute favorite way to recover. The trick to having great naps and not feeling more exhausted afterwards (we’ve all been there, right?) is to keep it 20-25 minutes. Set an alarm so you don’t oversleep. I promise you will feel great afterwards and ready to tackle that study material or essay.


Action Steps

  1. Set an alarm to go off 20 minutes before you want to go to sleep. This will remind you to get ready for bed so you can get a full 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Start tracking your sleep to see what the best times for you to go to sleep and wake up are.


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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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