How to sleep better: 6 top tips

Written by: UPSU

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Getting enough sleep is important in order to perform your best in exams, however, during exam season it can be the most challenging time to get some quality shut-eye.


Lack of sleep can impair your ability to focus, retain information, and make clear decisions. If you're struggling to get a good rest before an exam, here are some tips to help you improve your sleep and maximise your chances of success:

1. Create a bedtime routine

Try to establish a bedtime routine leading up to your exams. Go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day to help regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. This will help you feel more alert and rested on your test day.

2. Avoid caffeine and stimulants

Caffeine and other stimulants can interfere with sleep and make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid consuming these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime. This includes (but is not limited to) coffee, tea, and energy drinks.

3. Limit screen time before bed

The blue light emitted by electronic screens can suppress melatonin production and make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid using electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and computers in the hours leading up to bedtime. Instead, try reading a book or practicing relaxation techniques.

6. Create a comfortable sleep environment

Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep. This includes a comfortable mattress and pillows, a cool room temperature, and minimal noise and light. Consider using earplugs, an eye mask, or white noise to block out distractions.

7. Practice relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or muscle relaxation can help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Practice these techniques in the hours leading up to bedtime to help you relax and fall asleep more easily.

8. Avoid late-night studying

Studying late into the night can disrupt your sleep and lead to a cycle of anxiety and poor performance. Instead, try to finish studying at least a few hours before bedtime. Use this time to relax and prepare for sleep.

9. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can lead to sleep disturbances and fatigue. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. However, avoid drinking too much water right before you plan to sleep to prevent waking up to use the bathroom.

Remember to prioritise your sleep and take care of yourself during the exam period. Good luck!


Below are some apps and podcasts that we recommend to help you keep on top of your sleep. 



Unmind is a mental health platform that empowers you to proactively improve your mental well-being. Using scientifically-backed assessments, tools and training you can measure and manage your personal mental health needs, including digital programmes designed to help with stress, sleep, coping, connection, fulfilment and nutrition. 

Unmind is free for students for 12 months via UniDays

Find out more about Unmind

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle monitors your movements as you sleep, using your phone’s microphone. Armed with this information, it can wake you up when you’re in a lighter phase of sleep. Simply set an alarm “window,” and the app will ease you awake at the best time during that range.

Find out more about Sleep Cycle


Sleep With Me

Sleep With Me is a bedtime story designed to take your mind off of the racing thoughts that keep you awake at night. As you listen you will find yourself distracted from your worries and drifting off into dreamland... due to the fact the story gets a little bit more boring with each passing minute.

Slow Radio

Step back, let go, immerse yourself: it’s time to go slow. Listen to the sounds of birds, mountain climbing, monks chatting as you go about your day. A lo-fi celebration of pure sound.


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