There are times where it’s easy to overlook the need for enough sleep, but the lead up to your job interview is definitely not one of them. We asked health and wellness expert Dr Susan Biali how to best prepare the night before (and morning of) your next job interview. Here’s what she said.

I’m assuming that, in preparation for your interview, you have familiarised yourself with the basics of the position and company and have anticipated (and practiced formulating responses to) any questions you might receive. Now, let me give you some tips that will help you optimise your interview performance, as success depends on more than just being prepared:

1) Make a good night’s sleep your top goal for the night before

You need a solid eight hours of sleep to maximise your cognitive performance, your focus and your ability to handle a stressful situation with confidence. If you’re well rested you’ll feel more relaxed, your answers will come more easily, and your fresh appearance and demeanour will make a better impression.

2) Give yourself time to wind down before bed

If possible, prepare for the interview in the preceding days so you’re not cramming the night before. If you are forced to prepare at the last minute, stop at least an hour before bedtime.  Turn the lights down, turn off all screens (these suppress production of melatonin and decrease sleep quality), get ready for bed slowly and calmly and have a cup of caffeine-free tea or a bath to help yourself relax and unwind.

Give your time to relax before bed - our tips on preparing for that big job interview3) Plan well and leave extra time

Have your clothes ready for your big day, well before you go to bed the night before, and plan out your route to the location in advance.  Leave yourself extra time to get there and plenty of time to get ready in the morning, so that you don’t rush (rushing produces stress hormones and will make you feel much more stressed and nervous than you already are).

4) Fuel yourself for job interview success

After your good night’s sleep, plan to have a power breakfast.  Make sure it contains protein for focus (e.g. eggs/egg whites in a quick scramble or protein powder in a smoothie), enough fat for sustained energy (e.g. avocado, a great source of healthy fat that you can eat on toast or add to a smoothie), a nutritious carbohydrate source (e.g. porridge or high fibre whole grain bread), and either a fruit or vegetable to add antioxidant-rich fuel to your day and help your brain to feel alive and clear. If you find yourself short on time, I’d recommend topping scrambled egg/egg whites with chunky tomato salsa and eating it on whole grain toast, a complete meal that takes just minutes to make.

Eat a healthy energising breakfast - tips for preparing for that all-important job interview5) Prime your brain and body with exercise

On the day before your job interview (and not later than 7pm the night before), be sure to get in at least thirty minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise.  This will help you shake off stress and nerves, and will promote faster and deeper sleep the night before the interview.  If you have time the morning of the interview, go for a brisk walk, even if it’s just for a few minutes (or park a couple of blocks away so you can walk to the location).  This will make you feel more energised and confident, and the glow in your cheeks will communicate vitality and health to your prospective employer.

If you prepare well for the content of your job interview and empower yourself additionally with a good night’s sleep, optimal food and exercise, and a solid 24 hour pre-interview plan, you will set yourself up to do your very best and make a great impression.

We would like to wish our readers the best of luck in any job interview they have on the horizon. If you have any top tips to add to Dr Biali’s, please add them in the comments section below.