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Tips on Sleep Before Test Day

westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
in General 3788 karma
Gearing up for the September exam, I consistently made sure to go to bed at 10 pm to wake up at 6 am, but on the night before the exam, my brain was too alert and I simply couldnt fall sleep. I basically went in the September exam after spending all night awake tossing and turning in the bed. This happened to me on a previous take and it had a negative impact on my performance.

Do you guys have any advice on what I can do so that I can calm the brain down and gdtsome deep rest the night before test day? I tried working out consistently, meditation and I had mixed results with melatonin.

Comments

  • ToxoplasmosisToxoplasmosis Alum Member
    233 karma
    I tried to consistently get 5-6 hours of sleep (less than my desired 8) the whole week before the LSAT plus a really brutal workout the evening before and when Friday night rolled around I slept like a baby.
  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma
    Interesting. I was actually considering doing similar, like purposely not getting alot of sleep 2 nights before so I can be sleepy the night before. Have you had similar sleep issues too? @Toxoplasmosis
  • ToxoplasmosisToxoplasmosis Alum Member
    233 karma
    @westcoastbestcoast yeah I've experienced a lot of sleep issues before stressful stuff like finals in undergrad, so I figured any amount of exhaustion I could pile on would help haha
  • CUU20004CUU20004 Member
    33 karma
    Did you feel as though sleep had a negative effect on your performance during the test or did you realize it when you got your score & noticed a significant drop from your PTs? I also didn't get much sleep before the September test but I felt fine during it.....still debating cancelling though...
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25293 karma
    Yeah, I was really concerned with this issue and took it as a challenge. The ability to sleep the night before is a big victory in the mental game, and I took it personally. I synced my sleep schedule for a 9 pm bedtime for months, and in the last couple weeks, I pushed that to 7. The night before, I ate a big dinner and then took some NyQuil just to really attack on all fronts. It took some tossing and turning, but by 10, I was out and slept soundly until 5. Woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
  • NanchitoNanchito Yearly Member
    1754 karma
    Go to the gym. Lift weights and run. You'll sleep like a baby.
  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma
    @CUU20004, at least for my first take, I definitely noticed that a lack of sleep made me less focused and sharp, especially during the LR sections. For the second take, I felt that my focus really deteriorating during the hard RC passage and LG game, and spent almost a minute in a glazed state rather than moving forward. The score was definitely a drop beyond the 3 point differential. Even though I didnt feel good about that first take, I still decided not to cancel in the offchance I would do better than I thought and also to review my perfomance.

    Thank you @"Cant Get Right" for providing your experience. Has nyquil ever made you groggy when you woke up? What kind of meal did you have for dinner? I heard that a carb heavy meal at dinner can make for a distrubed sleep because of all the energy that the carbs provide.
  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma
    @nanchito haha, I have been doing all that but I guess I didnt go hard enough the night before? Did you exert yourself harder than usual in the gym the night before?
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25293 karma
    Thank you @"Cant Get Right" for providing your experience. Has nyquil ever made you groggy when you woke up? What kind of meal did you have for dinner? I heard that a carb heavy meal at dinner can make for a distrubed sleep because of all the energy that the carbs provide.
    No problem! NyQuil has made me groggy in the morning, but by taking it so early in the evening, it had time to completely wear off by 5. I didn't take any chances on that either, I experimented in the weeks and months before to find the optimal time to take it.

    For dinner, I ate an incredibly carb heavy meal, haha. 6 pancakes with pulled pork (locally, humanely raised, of course, lol). I thought of it in the same way marathon runners "carb up" the night before a race. In theory, I think it's supposed to take the body long enough to process the carbs that the energy doesn't hit until morning. Again, I experimented with this beforehand to know exactly how I'd respond to it. Everything seemed to go exactly as planned.
  • NanchitoNanchito Yearly Member
    edited September 2016 1754 karma
    @westcoastbestcoast Yes, push yourself harder than usual, but not too hard. Keep your heart rate up by doing some burpees in between weights or something, or lift faster.

    Additionally I agree with the stuff your face idea. Eat a huge dinner, like a thanksgiving dinner. It'll put you in a coma for sure.
  • desire2learndesire2learn Legacy Member
    1171 karma
    I like a little bit of an opposite approach. I feel like as long as I am super well rested for the two weeks leading up to the test then one night of not great sleep doesn't affect me as much because my body is in a good place to begin with. I wouldn't intentionally not get sleep for the nights leading up to the test because then my brain would be mush. The best option of course is doing plenty of testing like @"Cant Get Right" so you already know how everything will play out. The man is amazing. Way to leave nothing to chance!
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25293 karma
    Luck is for suckers, thieves, and fools. Take charge, not chances!
  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma
    Thanks guys for all the responses! Looks like I need to do some experimenting with the food, fitness and possibly nyquil haha
  • draj0623draj0623 Alum Member
    916 karma
    I don't know if this would help anyone else but I'm the kind of person that dwells on everything at night just as I'm about to go to sleep, even if I exercised during the day. I also don't like to go too hard on exercise because physical exhaustion does generate some mental exhaustion for me. Anyway, the week before my LSAT, I went to bed early enough to allow for 15-20 minutes of Parks and Recreation (sub it out for your favorite mindless comedy). I put Parks and Recreation on my cell phone to just listen to the jokes and silliness which distracts me from my existential questions that creep up at night. I found that feeling some level of joy at night helped me sleep on time. Make sure it's a re-watch of an old episode so you don't get too into it and end up staying awake. I slept like a baby the night before test day. Others said they heard car alarms and all sorts of madness through the night and I couldn't hear a thing.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    Before any test that requires me to be up early I have to basically stay up the entire 24 hours before hand. Then I hit the gym, run about 8 miles, and take an anti-anxiety med before bed. I also make sure to listen to an audio book instead of Netflix or something that is going to cause light pollution in my bedroom.
  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma
    Unless you've consistently worked out late at night and easily fallen asleep after, I wouldn't suggest doing the experiment of working out the night before the test. I like to work out late at night but there are times when working out before bed actually makes me very restless and it's hard to fall asleep.
  • lsatblitzlsatblitz Alum Member
    521 karma
    I don't think 1 week is long enough to get your sleep schedule well adjusted. It took me about a month to get it down. I'm one of those people who takes forever to fall asleep though, but I had no trouble sleeping or getting up for September.

    I cut out almost all caffeine, which helped a ton. I work out in the mornings, but I still cut out my pre workout, which is loaded with caffeine. Definitely no caffeine is the afternoon/evening for me.

    Keeping stress levels low leading up to the test was probably the biggest difference maker for me though. On nights where I had a lot on my mind, I'd toss and turn, as expected. Easier said than done, but avoiding stressful thoughts/actions/behaviors, especially near bedtime, is helpful.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @"surfy surf" said:
    I like to work out late at night but there are times when working out before bed actually makes me very restless and it's hard to fall asleep.
    Yeah, I actually never workout at night before I want to actually sleep. I mean after work at like 6:30-7:00pm definitely not 11pm lol.
  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    edited September 2016 3652 karma
    I'd assume you'd want to go to bed around 10pm if not earlier before the lsat, so my statement still stands. Even working out a few hours before bed can make you feel restless and I don't suggest making an experiment of it unless you consistently have worked out a few hours before bed and managed to fall asleep quickly. I'd rather workout early in the am or in the afternoon so I'm tired by the end of the day and just go for a short walk around my neighborhood or do some light yoga before bed to clear my head. Whenever I consistently do an early morning workout it's pretty easy for me to fall asleep (and wake up) early, but that's just me.
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma
    Relax a little more a few days before and leading up to the exam. There's a "trick" that I used during UG to help me fall asleep in spite of pre-test day anxiety. Not sure if I'd recommend it for the LSAT, but here is what I did.
    1) 2 nights before the test, force yourself to sleep late (ex: 2 a.m.)
    2) Wake up early the next morning (ex: 6 a.m.), and set your alarms for test day
    3) Workout, run, etc...tire yourself out

    You'll likely be exhausted the morning prior to test day, and will probably knock out that night.
    So, for example:
    -Test is on Saturday
    Force yourself to stay awake until around 2 a.m. (Thursday night/Friday morning). Force yourself to wake up early (Friday morning). Set your Saturday alarms the second you wake up and get everything ready for the test. Workout/tire yourself out.

    Again, if you've never tried this before, don't bother experimenting with it just before the test.
  • Daniel.SieradzkiDaniel.Sieradzki Legacy Member Sage
    2301 karma
    @"surfy surf" Yeah, I am the same way, when I work out at night. I get more awake and pumped up. It seems it is better to exercise in the morning or afternoon.
  • Daniel.SieradzkiDaniel.Sieradzki Legacy Member Sage
    edited October 2016 2301 karma
    Anyone else use melatonin? It is a sleep aid that is generally low key. I wonder how it compares to NyQuill? In my case, I would take a melatonin about 15 minutes before bed time and give it time to work. After 15 minutes, I would be exhausted.

    I believe that @Pacifico said that melatonin is child's play, whereas @Dillion finds it very helpful. As with all medicine, its effects must depend on the individual.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25293 karma
    @Daniel.Sieradzki , I discovered melatonin about a week before the test. It worked great, but I was still groggy the next morning, and I just didn't feel like I had enough time to figure it out with only a week to go. I think it would have been a really great option for me if I'd've had more time with it.
  • Daniel.SieradzkiDaniel.Sieradzki Legacy Member Sage
    edited October 2016 2301 karma
    Yeah, that is a great point. You learn a lot about trying melatonin out. It causes some people to feel groggy and others to feel nothing.
  • legal_namelegal_name Legacy Member
    277 karma
    http://imgur.com/0Deu3ev

    "Twas the night before the Lsat".

    But seriously, I felt the same way. Wrote the September test with maybe a couple hours sleep at best. Thank you to everyone for all the valuable advice.
  • heavybassheavybass Legacy Member
    10 karma
    i recommend putting on white noise of some kind (white/pink/brown) before bed and while you sleep. instead of focusing on the thoughts in my head, i concentrated on the sound and it helped me fall asleep in less than 30 minutes. try different kinds of noise (the colors are different frequencies/pitches). i preferred pink noise with a theta pulse (it's supposed to enable deeper sleep), but everyone is unique. there's a pretty sweet playlist of white noise on spotify, but i'm sure you could find other samples on soundcloud or google play or itunes. hope that helps!
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