The need for sleep varies from person to person. Some people require more than others. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that you should always get a full night’s sleep before an interview.
The most important reason why you should get enough sleep before an interview is because it will make you feel better and more confident about yourself during the interview. If you are feeling tired or groggy, it will be hard to answer questions quickly and effectively. On the other hand, if you are well-rested, your brain will be in a better state of mind and you will be able to think more clearly about the questions being asked of you.
Another reason why getting enough sleep before an interview is important is that it can help reduce your levels of anxiety. For those who experience it, anxiety can make answering questions difficult and hinder your overall job interview performance.
How Much Sleep Do You Need Before a Job Interview?
It is recommended to get at least seven hours of sleep before an interview. This will help you feel refreshed and alert, which will make you more confident in the interview.
There are no independent studies done on sleep versus job interview performance, but by looking closely at other studies around sleep and cognitive performance we can begin to build an idea of why sleep is important for us the night before a job interview so that we can perform our very best.
In the 1996 study Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Performance it was shown that “mood is more affected by sleep deprivation than either cognitive or motor performance” and “partial sleep deprivation has a more profound effect on functioning than either long-term or short-term sleep deprivation”.
From this, we can establish that even one night of bad sleep can be enough to impact our performance and that a lack of sleep can impact our mood more than our performance.
Most people will know the feeling of having a bad night’s sleep and knowing how it impacted our mood the next day. Whether it just be our general attitude towards things or the way in which we interact with others.
As much as we want to impress in an interview with our skills, experience and answers, we must not neglect the personal side. We want to come across as pleasant, professional and approachable.
In the 2020 article How Much Is Bad Sleep Hurting Your Career? Harvard Business Review states “Lack of sleep leads to detriments in job performance, productivity, career progression and satisfaction, and an increase in job-related accidents, absenteeism, and counterproductive work behaviours. Conversely, better sleep has been linked to improved memory, knowledge acquisition, and learning”.
The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep Before a Job Interview
Sleep is important for the brain because it allows your brain to have time to rest and recharge. By getting enough sleep, your brain will be able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
It is also important for the job interview because it puts you in a more alert and focused state so that you can go over your final preparation before your job interview.
In our article 11 Things You Must Do the Night Before a Job Interview we look at what your night routine the day before a job interview should look like. We recommend getting these tasks out of the way as soon as possible to afford you the time to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is not only important to supporting our interview performance but it is also important in everything else that goes on prior to the interview. How we prepare for the interview, how we interact with our family and how efficiently and safely we arrive at the job interview.
All of these things if handled negatively could cause us stress or impact our mood. We want to avoid anything like this in the build-up to our interview and go there feeling happy, positive and confident.
What to Do if You Can’t Sleep Before a Job Interview
Whether it’s nerves or excitement, sometimes getting to sleep the night before a big interview can be challenging, and it needs a little more than counting sheep to get us there.
The Military Method
This United States Navy Pre-Flight School created routine helps pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less.
- Relax your face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
- Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
- Exhale, relaxing your chest.
- Relax your entire legs
- Empty your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scenario
- If this fails, try saying the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.
- Hopefully, within 10 seconds, you should fall asleep
For other methods of how to get to sleep instantly check out this article on Healthline.
For more information on what goes into creating an environment for good sleep and how to get good sleep, check out this article from Sleep Foundation – What To Do When You Can’t Sleep.
Can You Get Too Much Sleep Before an Interview?
Too much sleep is defined as more than nine hours a day. You might think getting a few extra hours of sleep in will make you more awake and alert for your job interview…but will it?
According to sleep specialist and author of “The Power of When,” Dr. Michael Breus, more sleep isn’t always better for you.
As reported on insider.com, Breus states:
“The stage of sleep that you wake up in is the one that has the biggest effect on what I call a sleep hangover”
The stages of sleep are one, two, three, four, and REM.
According to Breus, stages one and two are the easiest to wake up from, REM is slightly more difficult, and then stages three and four are the hardest.
When you decide to sleep that extra hour or two, chances are you’re going to wake up from the REM cycle, or cycles three or four, which means you’re going to feel groggier.
“If I give people one piece of advice, it’s stick to one sleep schedule, period, end of story,” Breus says.
Morning Job Interview vs Afternoon Job Interview
In our article What is the Best Time for a Job Interview? we discuss the pros and cons of a morning job interview vs an afternoon one.
As we have covered in the section above, you should look to stick to a regular sleeping pattern the night before a job interview. Even if your interview is in the afternoon and it might feel tempting to sleep for longer.
Instead of sleeping extra, use your time wisely in the run-up to your interview to make sure you are fully prepared.
Check out – The Ultimate Guide On How To Prepare For A Job Interview
You should look to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep the night before your job interview. Feeling well-rested will help you start the day well, make you more focused and alert and ready to perform at your best in your interview.
Do not be tempted into sleeping extra hours to feel more rested. Sleep to your regular sleep pattern and go about your day, preparing for the interview ahead.