If you’re taking the LSAT in the morning, you’ll likely have to wake up pretty early to be prepared for the LSAT. Depending on how close you are to your test center, you may need to wake up at 6 AM to even get to the test center on time. Unless you are decidedly a “morning person,” this might be a problem.
Even if you do manage to fall asleep at a reasonable hour the day before (unlikely, unless you train for it), getting less than the requisite amount of sleep in the weeks and months leading up to the LSAT can profoundly affect how much you get out of your test prep, not to mention your emotional stability and physical health. You need 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night from now on. As the NYTimes reports, “Some of the most insidious effects of too little sleep involve mental processes like learning, memory, judgment and problem-solving. During sleep, new learning and memory pathways become encoded in the brain, and adequate sleep is necessary for those pathways to work optimally. People who are well rested are better able to learn a task and more likely to remember what they learned.”
Here’s some advice on how to avoid feeling like a zombie on test day:
If you need to wake up at 6 AM, you need to be in bed by 10 – 10:30 PM. Maybe this is when you always go to bed, in which case you can disregard the rest of this post (and immediately check yourself into a nursing home). Now, let’s say you typically wake up at 7 AM on weekdays, and go to sleep around midnight. Assuming your a month out from the test–if you continue doing this, you’ll be running a sleep deficit of one hour, and potentially be under-slept by 2 hours the morning of the test. Bad idea. The solution?
- Start going to bed (and waking up) 15 minutes earlier than usual every week from now on!
- Limit the amount of coffee you drink to 1 – 2 cups/day max.
- Exercise for 30 minutes every day.
By the week before the test, you will be in the habit of falling asleep at around 10 – 10:30 PM. Your social life might suck, but your score won’t. Best of all, you’ll get accustomed to this change gradually, so test day will feel like just another day. Which it is.
Photo: “Day 197 – Sleeping Baby” courtesy of Ken Wilcox.