Sleeping before a big race

Alarm clock

Sleep is one of the most important performance enhancement tools you have in your tool kit. It can make you happier, faster, less likely to get ill or injured and helps you fully memorize any mental or physical actions you have been learning over the day. But sleeping before a big event can be really difficult. Whether it is an important race, exams or first day at a new job, waking up refreshed and positive is vital, yet the ruminations in your mind can make it incredibly hard to do so.

Here are a few tips that may help:

  1. Accept it is hard to sleep the night before a big event and don’t have big expectations to be able to do so. And remember everyone else is in the same boat so will have had less sleep too. Remembering this stops you adding: “I’ll be rubbish because I haven’t had enough sleep” to the list of things you are already ruminating about.
  1. Aim to get some really good quality sleep in the few days before your big day so even if you don’t sleep well the night before you won’t be in significant sleep debt.
  1. Keep a note book and pen by your bed and before you go to sleep write down any worries or things you mustn’t forget that are running through your mind. They will still be there in the morning and thinking about them at 2am won’t help you do anything about them.
  1. Don’t be tempted to have a glass of wine or a beer to help you sleep. While alcohol can help you get to sleep it will give you worse quality sleep and often mean you wake up earlier than you need to.
  1. Check that your alarm still works when your phone is switched off and then turn it fully off (rather than on airplane or silent) an hour before you go to bed so your circadian rhythm is not delayed from its lights and you don’t get tempted to check it in the middle of the night if you are struggling to sleep.
  1. If you are struggling to sleep don’t get up. Resting is better than nothing so you will still gain some benefit just from lying there.

Sweet dreams!

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