insomnia before the bar exam

How To Avoid Insomnia Before The Bar Exam

The bar exam is stressful, and a common complaint many takers have is insomnia in the days and weeks leading up to the test. In this post, we break down how to avoid insomnia before the bar exam, and also advice on who to contact should you still have issues!

How To Avoid Insomnia Before The Bar Exam

1. Stick to your sleep routine.

The best way to avoid insomnia before the bar exam is to stick to your sleep routine as best you can. Now is not the time to make drastic changes to your nightly habits. The worst thing you can do to wind yourself up even further is change how your mind approaches bedtime. Try to keep the rhythms of your nightly routine as consistent as possible. If you typically watch TV or Netflix before you go to sleep, keep doing so! If you normally take a late night walk, take one. Whatever you do, try to keep as close to your normal approach to sleep as possible.

If you need to stay in a hotel overnight before the bar exam, this is trickier. However, you can do things to minimize your risk for insomnia before the bar exam. Consider bringing items you typically have at home, like a favorite blanket, pillow, or fan. Even small things like this can help reset your mind and make you feel more at ease, which will help you sleep!

2. If you can’t fall asleep, help your mind reset.

If you find yourself staring at the ceiling and unable to sleep, the best thing to do is help your mind reset. Get out of bed and engage in an activity that takes your mind off your troubles. Light (non-bar exam!) reading is a good bet to help ease your insomnia. Commit to reading for half an hour, and then try to sleep again. Often, people who suffer from insomnia just need to help their minds stop obsessing over the fact they can’t sleep. Staying in bed isn’t going to help, so you might as well get up for a little while.

3. Remember you are not alone!

You can also remind yourself that even if you don’t sleep very much or sleep very well before you take the bar exam, you can still pass. It happens every single administration. It is very common for students to get low quality or not enough sleep. If you have been sleeping relatively well up until the bar exam, it should not make or break you on test day. Of course, it is best to try to avoid this. But knowing you can still pass and you are not doomed will probably help calm your nerves!

4. If all else feels, seek help with other methods like sleep restriction.

There are other methods to help you with your insomnia before the bar exam. These methods should be supervised and monitored by a professional trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT-i).

A common one is to try to restrict your sleep. What this requires is you commit to laying down for a very restricted amount of time. It will vary from person-to-person, but the idea is that you give your body a window to sleep, and wake up at a pre-set point, no matter how well you slept. This technique works two ways: first, it helps your body develop a waking pattern so it knows when it needs to wake up. Secondly, it restricts sleep to the point that you will be more tired when you lay down than you typically would be. Many people who suffer from insomnia swear by this method. Reach out to a CBT-i professional to see if this method is for you!

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