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UPSC Essentials Special: ‘Prelims 2023 three months away, but don’t compromise on proper sleep,’ experts suggest

UPSC Essentials Special: ‘Prelims 2023 three months away, but don’t compromise on proper sleep,’ experts suggest

Lack of sleep can negatively impact the performance of UPSC aspirants' studying capabilities, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress levels. Experts give tips to deal with it.

The journey of UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation is rigorous, to say the least, with aspirants going to all extremes to cover their syllabus, appear for mock tests, and do multiple revisions. The intensity of the same only increases toward the last couple of months ahead of the prelims examination with sleep being the biggest casualty of this process. More often than not, students pull all-nighters and sleep fewer hours than required to devote as much time as possible to their studies. Experts, however, advised against doing so as any compromise on sleep can end up doing more harm than good in your efforts toward cracking this much-coveted exam.

Tanya Jawa, Clinical Psychologist, Mental health department, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali said, “As the UPSC exam approaches, students often find maintaining a healthy sleep schedule challenging. Lack of sleep can negatively impact their performance and studying capabilities, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress levels

She further explained that poor sleep and stress are directly related to each other with lack of sleep leading to students feeling stressed, triggering memory impairment, decreased concentration and productivity, and hampered cognitive functioning. “All of this can negatively impact performance and studying capabilities. Therefore, it is essential to prioritise sleep during UPSC exam preparations to ensure optimal performance and success,” said Tanya Jawa.

Before we delve deeper into ways an aspirant can practise proper sleep hygiene, it’s crucial to understand the various factors hampering their sleep cycle. According to Dr Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore, factors that can hinder sleep during UPSC exam preparation include stress, anxiety, caffeine intake, irregular sleep schedule, lack of physical activity, and exposure to electronic screens at night.

Simply put, they should fix a time to sleep at night and fix a time to wake up during the day. “That helps in training their mind to automatically induce sleep around the same time each day. In order for us to feel well rested, it’s necessary to sleep for at least 6-8 hours each day,” the psychologist explained.

To ensure proper sleep, experts emphasise keeping stress and anxiety regarding the exam at bay. For the same, Jawa suggests practising effective time management, taking breaks in between, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

“Proper sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help students feel more relaxed, reduce anxiety levels, and improve their overall mental health. Getting enough sleep and rest is crucial, especially during exam periods, as this can improve concentration levels and memory recall.

Students can also reduce exam anxiety by practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. These techniques can help to calm the mind, reduce stress levels, and increase focus and concentration.

Visualization exercises, such as imagining oneself doing well on the exam, can also help to reduce exam anxiety. Finally, seeking support from family, friends, or counsellors can help deal with exam anxiety,” she shared.

Often ignored, make sure you pay attention to your eating habits too! “A healthy diet rich in nutrients and balanced meals can promote better sleep quality. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods before bedtime,” Dr Chowti said.

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