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Curbing APFT Anxiety: 12 Ways to Relax and Get More Sleep

dog with sleep mask alseep with paw over alarm clock

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In this Article:

  • Set two alarms and stop checking the clock.
  • Practice deep breathing or meditation to relax.
  • Turn off electronics 30 minutes before bed.

Are pre-test nerves getting in the way of your sleep? Follow these tips to calm down and sleep better so you are on your A-game on test day.

Stop worrying about sleeping (or oversleeping)

  • Worried you’ll sleep through your APFT? Set two alarms to put your worries to rest. Literally.
  • Turn clocks away from you. Take off your watch and turn alarm clocks around so you can’t watch the time pass.

Wind down before bed

  • Practice deep breathing. Inhale for three seconds and exhale for two seconds. Repeat for three minutes.
  • Squeeze and relax muscles. This will relax your muscles and your mind. Start at your toes and work your way up your body, flexing and then relaxing one group of muscles at a time.
  • Think about something relaxing. What’s your happy place? Swaying in a hammock? Taking a snooze on a beach? Fishing on a lake? Let your mind wander as you imagine the details…
  • Read an actual book (an electronic one can disrupt your sleep cycles). This tried and true method works like a charm. Just make sure the book isn’t TOO exciting. Then you won’t want to put it down.
  • Meditate. Meditation can be practiced by anyone—you don’t need specialized knowledge or training to benefit, and it doesn’t take long. Not buying it? Trust us, it works. Use this guide to get started.

Avoid activities that could sabotage your sleep

  • Avoid caffeine, like coffee, soda, and chocolate, within six hours of bed. No explanation needed.
  • Eat dinner at least two hours before going to bed. This will give you time to digest, which will make you feel more comfortable, and will help you avoid indigestion and stomach and sleep disturbances.
  • Power down your electronics 30-60 minutes before your target bedtime. The light from your phone, TV, or tablet screens could keep you up, and distract you from sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking close to bedtime can shorten the time spent in the deeper stages of sleep that leave you well rested. Not to mention it dehydrates you.
  • Make sure your room is dark. This might sound like common sense, but sleeping in a pitch black room helps your body produce natural sleep hormones. Here are more tips for optimizing your sleep space.

Remember, one of the best ways to curb pre-APFT anxiety is to be prepared. So start preparing for the APFT early. Try these APFT training resources.