How to Sleep Before an Exciting Event

Four Methods:Changing Your DietDoing ActivitiesChanging Your EnvironmentSetting up a Routine

If you have a big event coming up and are stressing out about getting enough sleep, don’t worry! There are plenty things you can do to ensure you have a great night of sleep. A few changes to your diet, activities, and night routine will help you rest so that you have all the energy you need for your big event. By taking time to develop a strategy for sleep, you can also help yourself to avoid common sleep obstacles.

Method 1
Changing Your Diet

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    Cut your caffeine intake. Caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for 4-6 hours. This means that if you drink caffeine within 4-6 hours before bedtime, the caffeine will keep you awake as you’re trying to fall asleep. Avoid drinking anything with caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. Some studies suggest cutting caffeine out at least twelve hours before you go to sleep.[1]
    • Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means that drinking it before you go to bed will cause more bathroom trips through the night.
    • Caffeine is one of the more common causes of sleep disturbances.
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    Avoid drinking alcohol. While alcohol may make you fall asleep faster, it disrupts long-term sleep. Alcohol will wake you up every 90 minutes or so, preventing long, restorative sleep. Waking up repeatedly through the night will make you groggy for your big event.[2]
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    Eat lightly. Try to avoid eating anything heavy or rich within two hours of going to bed. Your body works hard to digest fatty good, and it may keep you up. The same goes for spicy or acidic foods as they can cause heartburn or stomach pain.[3]
    • If you are hungry when you go to bed, consider eating a light snack. Bananas or half a turkey sandwich make good snacks.
    • Warm milk may also help you feel more full, while also contributing to your sleepiness.

Method 2
Doing Activities

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    Exercise early. Exercise will help you fall asleep, but you want to do it at least six hours before bedtime. Since exercise raises your body’s temperature for 5-6 hours, it can keep you awake. Your body’s temperature needs to drop so that you can sleep.[4]
    • The exercise will help to make you more exhausted, thus helping you fall asleep.
    • Try jogging.
    • Weight training can also help.
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    Read a relaxing book. Try to read for thirty minutes to an hour before you go to bed. Avoid reading an exciting book as this could stimulate you and keep you awake. Read under a dim light so that your mind relaxes.[5]
    • Avoid reading from a back-lit device. If you are reading an electronic book, try to read it on a device that requires additional lighting.
    • If you find yourself falling asleep, let yourself.
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    Listen to soothing and relaxing music. Make sure the music has a slow tempo and is an instrumental. Avoid listening to anything loud, as it will wake you up. Listen to the music in a different room so that you don’t have to worry about getting up to turn it off. This works like a lullaby.[6]
    • Try using “nature sounds”. Buy or download a CD or MP3 which has several hours of rainstorms, ocean sounds, rushing wind or birds.
    • What you consider relaxing may vary. Some people find death metal relaxing and are very annoyed by smooth jazz or whale calls. Make sure to choose something right for you.
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    Set aside time to think about the day. Plan to set aside fifteen minutes before you go to bed to let your mind go through everything that happened during the day. Make sure you do this before you go to bed to avoid tossing and turning over these thoughts as you’re trying to fall asleep. If you still have things on your mind at the end of this time, write them down.[7]
    • If you have trouble sleeping because your mind is going over the big event or something stressful, write down what you need to do. Keep a paper pad beside your bed, and when you wake up, write down what needs to be done. This will help set your mind at ease.[8]
    • Sometimes this can be done in the form of a prayer. Talk through your day in the manner of your regular religious conveyance. Prayer varies widely between religions. If you are unsure how to pray in your religion, talk to your community leaders.
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    Stretch your muscles. This will help your muscles relax, which will help you sleep faster. You only need to do a few basic stretches for it to have an optimal effect. Stretching will also prevent muscle cramping, which can wake you up in the middle of the night.
    • Try doing some yoga-like stretches. Look up poses online.
    • Stretch like a cat. This means randomly stretching parts of your body that feel tight. Think about how cats stretch when you are trying.
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    Take a hot bath. Taking a long bath will help relax muscles and relieve pain. Avoid showers as they wake you up instead of helping you sleep.[9] Part of this may be due to the fact that many people associate showering with getting up in the morning. Adding a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender, can help relax you.
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    Use breathing exercises.[10] While you lay in bed, put your arms at your side. Monitor your breathing and watch your abdomen move up and down as you breathe. As you breathe in, tense a part of your body such as your leg muscles. When you breathe out, relax that part of your body. Do this from your head to your toes.
    • Take a meditation class, so that you can learn esoteric breathing techniques.
    • Talk to your doctor or therapist to learn exercises for breathing.
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    Get more sunlight during the day. Your body’s internal clock responds to natural light. As soon as you wake up, seek out sunlight. You can open your curtains or take a short walk outside. Throughout the day, take a break and find some sun. This will help your body start a routine to wind down when it’s dark outside. [11]
    • If sunlight is a limited resource, think of getting a sun lamp. These are available online, and they can help to supplement natural sunlight.
    • Leave your bedroom blinds open when you go to sleep. This can help you to wake up from light exposure.

Method 3
Changing Your Environment

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    Turn off blue light devices. The most commonly used blue light devices are cell phones, tablets, and computer monitors. These devices block your melatonin production, which can cause going to sleep to be much more difficult. Turn off these devices 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.[12]
    • Be careful of night lights.
    • Streetlights can also contribute.
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    Eliminate distractions. Stop checking your email, social media, and text messages an hour and a half before you go to bed. This will help settle your mind before you go to sleep. Turning off these distractions gives your mind time to decompress and focus on sleeping.
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    Keep your bedroom as dark and cool. You’re more likely to have nightmares if you sleep in a warm bedroom, which will lead to a restless night. Try to keep the bedroom’s temperature around 65 degrees as that’s the ideal sleeping temperature for your body. Cooler temperatures help induce sleep.[13] Keep your bedroom as dark as possible as even a little light can keep you awake.
    • Consider getting blackout curtains if there is too much light coming into your bedroom from the outside.[14]
    • Buy a separate air-conditioner to cool the room. This can help you to drastically reduce the temperature.
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    Quiet your surroundings. Turn off all loud devices or go to a quiet room. If you have trouble eliminating the noise (if it’s coming from outside your house for instance), consider using a fan or white noise to mask the sounds.
    • Use a radio to create white noise. Put the dial in between radio stations and turn the volume down to a background level.[15]
    • Get noise-canceling headphones by visiting the website of a retailer and ordering them online.
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    Wear an eye mask and a pair of earplugs. If you cannot change your environment to be quieter and darker, then use these to block everything out.[16] Cheap earplugs and eye masks may not be as comfortable as higher quality ones. Some people may find that it is difficult to sleep with these items on. This may be due to the fact that the cheap materials or design are uncomfortable.

Method 4
Setting up a Routine

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    Plan to sleep at the same time every day. If you have a set schedule, then your body is much more likely to sleep even with the stress of a big event. A normal routine lets your body knows when it needs to go to sleep. Some of this may be conditioning, some of it may be natural inclination.[17]
    • Avoid trying to sleep when you’re not tired. If you lay in bed fully awake, then you will toss and turn, which could cause you considerable more stress. If you are still awake after fifteen minutes, get up and find a relaxing activity to do such as light reading.[18]
    • Be rigid. Variability can be ruinous to developing routines.
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    Plan out what you need for your big event. It’s best to have everything you need for the big event, like clothes or items, ready long before you go to bed. Avoid staying up late to gather what you need as it will cause stress and keep you up.[19]
    • Write it all down.
    • Avoid this if you know you have a tendency to be obsessive.
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    Create a bedtime schedule. A ritual will help tell your body that it’s time to go to bed. It will also help clear your head so that your fall asleep faster. Create a schedule for the two hours before bedtime. In this schedule, set-aside 30-minute blocks for relaxing activities.
    • For instance, if you went to bed at 10 pm, make that the time when you turn off any electronic or blue screen devices is at 8 pm.
    • At 8 pm, take a warm bath.
    • At 8:30, take time to reflect on the day and any pressing thoughts.
    • At 9:00, do a relaxing activity such as reading a book or stretching.
    • During the last thirty minutes, write down anything that is still troubling your thoughts. Write out possible solutions or outcomes to this problem instead of reiterating the problem.[20]


  • Be careful when using medications. This may affect your performance in negative ways and make your groggy throughout your big event.
  • If you have trouble staying asleep, get up and walk to a quiet area. Relax and let your mind wander.
  • Avoid drinking fluids close to bedtime because they can cause many bathroom trips throughout the night.
  • Turn off all alarms so your brain knows that nothing is going to wake you up. Turn off all electronics and put them over the other side of the house/downstairs.
  • Breathe, and know that it is time to settle down. Don't think about the event, think about something boring like school, or possibly work. Think about the book you're reading to take your mind off of it.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Relaxation Techniques