Rest easy before exams

By Ask Alex

Alex, our agony aunt, is here to answer your questions, ease your doubts and help you make tough decisions.

By Ask Alex |

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Dear Alex

Exams are coming and everyone is nervous. I think I'm prepared, but some nights I have terrible dreams about staring at the exam paper and not knowing anything. Sometimes I dream about my pens not working or just not understanding the question. These aren't normal nightmares. When I wake up, I feel like I've had a fever and haven't slept at all. Is there a way to stop these dreams?

Stressed-out insomniac


Dear Stressed-out insomniac,

Anxiety and stress can cause our minds and bodies to do weird things, such as not being able to sleep properly, or dreaming strange, annoying dreams.

Attack this problem in two steps: first, sort out your waking life by being organised, studying hard, and having everything you need ready (including emergency pens!) long before exams start. Trust me, your subconscious mind will appreciate it!

Next, have a peaceful sleep routine. End your screen time at least an hour before bed; dim the lights in your room; prepare your bed with comfy cushions and stick a pretty painting or photo on the wall - it will help calm you.

A small, healthy snack about an hour before bed helps, too: a wholewheat cracker with a little nut butter or cheese, and a warm drink (nothing too rich or filling), or half a banana.

These tips should help your mind to relax and let go. Practice makes perfect.

Email your problems to [email protected], and watch for Alex's answers. And don't worry, you can remain anonymous.