How to help exam insomnia

Sink into sleep by Judith Davidson Insomnia and Anxiety by Colleen E. Carney and Jack D. Edinger

Students studying intensely can struggle to fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night with their minds racing. Here are three techniques to help exam insomnia.

  1. Take an observer’s stance. Notice where your mind is going and jot down your observations and problem-solving thoughts on a notepad.
  2. Calm yourself by slowing your breaths down to 4-6 per minute and count 10 of them.
  3. Do not try to sleep, instead create bedtime conditions where your body falls asleep.

Conditions that tell your body it is bedtime include: exercise during the day (but a few hours before bedtime), get up at the same time each day, create an evening wind-down ritual and a bedroom with soft lighting.

For other tips on improving your sleep, check out these books in the QUT Library catalogue or visit QUT counselling Services for a private, confidential counselling session.

Academic Skills Adviser @ QUT Library


  1. During exams, students fully contain themselves in their rooms and houses. Not even when they are catching a pause from the study. Children need to step out of home, even if it’s for 15 minutes within studying sessions. Just walking on a balcony or terrace is notably more relaxing than wasting break time on social media.

    • Thanks for you comment. Yes, getting outside and some fresh air is vitally important for all aspects of our health.

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