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Quick SilverQuick Silver Alum Inactive Sage
edited April 2021 in Sage Advice 1049 karma

People who take the LSAT tend to be driven, which is a good thing. But many of us try to get things done by cutting down on sleep. It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll get more done in less time if you’ve got a full night of sleep, rather than cut down on your precious snooze time.

I speak from experience. I used to be someone who lived by all nighters. Sure, I got things done. I would’ve gotten a lot more done in less time if I had a full night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation seriously slowed my processing speed, affected my mood, and studies show that it can actually lead you to over eat. When I discovered the book Power Sleep, by James Maas. It literally changed my life. My SAT score went up 150 points to the 99th percentile, not from additional study - I just got a good night’s sleep before my retake!

Here are some key points:

First let’s define a proper night’s sleep. I’m not talking about “getting by” on 5-6 hours. Your ability to process information is impaired with those limited hours. Especially if you’re taking something as intense as the LSAT.

To get adequate sleep you need anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. LeBron James is reported to get 12. Yes —That’s half the day. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll have enough sleep so that although you set your alarm clock, you’ll get up a bit before it – in essence, you won’t need your alarm clock. If that’s eight for me or ten for someone else, the point is that’s your number and you’ll function so much better with that amount of sleep.

The analogy I often use with my students is that it’s like having a laptop that is super slow at opening applications. That’s what my brain feels like when I don’t get enough sleep. Everything seem to take longer – almost painfully.

And trust me, I can tell when my students aren’t getting enough sleep. If we hadn’t had the conversation yet, that’s usually when we talk about sleep. And I feel for them, because I was that student and it looks so painful on the other end :)

Here are some key tips to proper sleep:

Set a regular sleep schedule. Despite misconceptions, it’s not like you really can make up sleep that you missed during the week or weekend (read about it in Power Sleep). So try to get that 8 to 10 hours consistently each night - and at the same times.

If you know that you’ve got your LSAT exam at a certain time, make sure that your sleep time is habituated for it well in advance.

Having trouble sleeping?

make sure that all lights and devices are off. If you live in a sunny climate like me, consider getting black out curtains if necessary.
Speaking of devices, you can use features like the sleep clock on iPhone to prompt you when it’s time to go to bed and keep you on a proper sleep cycle.
Limit caffeine intake before bed.
Perhaps my favorite — read an actual book before bed. Not a device, an actual paper format book. It’s old-school but if there’s no glare, and if it bores you to sleep even better!

Feel free to contact me with any questions on this or anything LSAT related.


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