Helpful Tip: For top performance on a three hour test, sleep during the several days to a week beforehand is critical for top scores. The nights preceding the night before the test are, in fact, just as important to cognitive function on the day of the test. Sleep quality is critical, as not all time spent in bed is the same! Some suggestions for better quality sleep include: maintaining a consistent temperature, eliminating even minor sources of artificial light, avoiding food for an hour or two before bed, and maintaining a strict schedule for wake-up and going to sleep times (within fifteen minutes).

Relevant Story: A recent study on the connection between sleep and cognitive performance established a clear causal relationship between the two, particularly in the impact on working memory. It even suggested that getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night for four nights in a row was the equivalent of skipping two FULL nights of rest. A different study suggested that getting between six and eight hours of rest versus eight to ten hours of rest dropped your reading comprehension level by two grade levels! I’d say it’s pretty important. This one should be number one!