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Around 30% of people in the UK are sleep deprived, according to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, with many not enjoying the required minimum seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you have an important interview coming up and you need to be alert, calm, and focused, then making quality sleep a priority is key. Interviews these days can be tough – particularly when they are competency based. You may be required to recall specific figures, dates, and numbers, but as proven in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, poor sleep hampers memory, focus, and concentration. ‘Bright eyed and bushy tailed’ takes on a whole new importance when you are called upon to shine before a recruiter. Follow these tips for a good night’s sleep.

Consider Sleeping Alone The Night Prior To The Interview

You may enjoy snoozing with your loved one at night, but if you have different sleep schedules or your partner snores or is restless, just this one night, consider sleeping in separate rooms. Remember that in addition to sleeping a set number of hours, you also need to enjoy good sleep quality if you are to wake up feeling refreshed and focused. Sleep quality involves two vital things: falling asleep within half an hour of getting into bed, and waking up no more than once during the night. If you have a partner who moves a lot while sleeping, or who stays up late watching television or playing games on devices, the chances are, you will be waking up frequently and never making it to the ultra restorative stage of deep sleep.

Exercise The Day Before The Interview

A large-scale survey carried out in 2013 found that exercise is an excellent way to achieve a good night’s sleep. The poll found that those who engaged in vigorous, moderate, and even light exercise were more likely to report that they slept well every night, than those leading sedentary lives. Moreover, over two third of vigorous exercisers said they rarely or never had insomnia. When it comes to sleep and exercise, the relationship is definitely bi-directional, however. That is, if you sleep poorly, you will most likely feel less inclined to take part in an intense workout.

Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation And Other Stress Relieving Techniques

You may have avoided coffee in the afternoon, been to the gym for a workout, had a nice relaxing bath, and still lie in bed with your eyes wide open, due to worry about the interview the next day. This is the time to keep your ‘fight or flight response’ in check with progressive muscle relaxation. Just squeeze every single muscle in your body that you can, starting with the toes and moving up to the face. Squeeze the muscles for a few seconds then release, working your way slowly through various muscle groups. You can also try a relaxation app like Calm or Breathe to practice meditation and/or breathing. Holistic practices like meditation, yoga and controlled breathing have been found in numerous studies to lower stress hormone levels, putting you on the right track to a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping in a quiet, dark room, staying active, and battling stress in the days leading up to an important interview can help you enjoy good sleep quality. Ultimately, the more prepared you are for your interview, the more likely you are to rest at ease. In the weeks or days before the big day, practice competency-based questions and answers with a mentor or friend until your answers feel like second nature. Nothing beats going to bed knowing that you have all the answers you need, even to the most challenging questions you may be asked.

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