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Getting to sleep before an interview

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Published: 28 April 2022

Bed in dark light

Knowing that you’ve got an interview the next day can be really exciting. It’s something to look forward to, that you worked hard for. It can also be a bit nerve-wracking.  

With all those thoughts going on in your mind, you might find it a little harder to sleep than normal, which isn’t ideal.  

Feeling rested and energetic for your interview is important if you want to do your best.   

So how do you fight past the nerves and get a proper night’s sleep?   

The military method  

To fall asleep quickly and deeply the most important thing is to be as relaxed as possible. Stress and anxiety can lead to muscle tension and intrusive thoughts which disrupt your ability to do this.   

Try the following:   

  • Relax your face and the muscles around your mouth  
  • Drop your shoulders and let your hand fall to your sides  
  • Exhale deeply   
  • Relax your thighs, legs and calves  
  • Imagine a relaxing scene for 10 seconds  
  • Say the words ‘don’t think’ in your head for 10 seconds  

This should put you in a good space to fall into a deep sleep.  

Get more natural light  

It’s obvious that a dark room aids in falling asleep, but did you know the contrast with bright light is just as important?  

Throughout the day, your body needs natural light, at least two hours a day if you can get it.  

Studies have shown that it keeps your body's circadian rhythm (your pattern of waking and sleeping) healthy meaning you’ll get better, deeper sleep when the light goes off.  

Try spending time outside in the sun on your study breaks, go for a long walk and use it to clear your head of interview worries.  

Come off your screens  

Another light-based tip here, but it’s one worth bearing in mind the night before. Your phones, TVs, laptops and tablets all emit blue light, which has been shown to severely disrupt sleep patterns.  

That’s because it tricks our brains into thinking it’s daylight, which is fine during the day but not so good when we’re trying to relax our bodies.   

The best thing you can do is put away the screens for the last few hours before you plan on going to sleep.  

Instead, read a book, listen to some music or do a little gentle exercise like yoga or meditation to help relax you.  

Avoid caffeine  

Caffeine rich drinks are designed to keep you awake, so it makes total sense to avoid a 9pm cup of coffee.  

For one thing, it increases your heart rate which can lead to anxiety-like symptoms, further stressing you when you need the exact opposite.  

If you’re a big coffee drinker though, it’s not a good idea to cut it out entirely as this can lead to mild headaches and muscle tension.  

Instead, have your last cup around midday to give your body enough time to get rid of the effects before bed.   

The biggest cause of a sleepless night prior to an interview is not feeling prepared enough. You can combat that by doing the work in the days leading up to it.   

You’ll find the confidence you gain, along with the tips above, will see you nodding off quickly and waking up feeling refreshed and ready to do your best.  

With a degree from the University of Sunderland in London, you’re positioning yourself for a brilliant career, whichever industry you want to work in.     

For more information, go to our Careers and Employability page. You can also read about employability skills on our news pages.      

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