Students across the UK have today recieved their A level results and are hoping to secure a place at their chosen college or University. But what about the students who don't make the grade?
A record number of applicants gained places at UK universities through UCAS Clearing last year*, following a decrease in the number of A-grades awarded, so while some will be celebrating, others will be feeling disappointed with their grades.
The UK's leading bed manufacturer, Silentnight, and sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, offer advice for students losing sleep over their exam results this Summer.
1) Resist the temptation to wallow
Don't dwell too much on your situation. Understand that you have not achieved what you aimed for, then look at how you can move forward and what you can do to make the best of the situation. Don't sabotage your options or your health by spending long periods, alone, wallowing on your results. Interact with people, talk to teachers, friends and family to help you through.
Value yourself enough to move on.
2) Practise 'the worst possible scenario'
We can become overwhelmed and stressed when we don't think a situation through properly and dwell on the worst case scenario. Use your imagination to ask yourself 'what's the worst that could happen?' and write out all the possible alternatives, even if they seem a little ridiculous.
Once you have done this, reflect on any positives that can come out of the situation.
Many successful people look back at their failures and realise the positives that have come out of the situation.
3) Manage your own expectations
Recognise your limits and realise that there is another option out there for you. If possible, set yourself realistic targets, learn how to ask for help and find out about other options to change your path.
Stop being so hard on yourself!
4) Treat yourself
Whether you got the grades you wanted or not, take the time to treat yourself and do something nice to cheer yourself up. Whether it's going to your favourite restaurant, visiting a friend or watching your favourite film, make sure you do something you enjoy to take your mind off your results.
Stay optimistic and focus on positive things, eg getting a compliment, getting a seat on the train etc. Research shows that people who practise this sort of exercise are healthier and more able to cope with stress and adversity.
5) Put your results into perspective
Stay grounded, don't panic and take deep breaths. Talk to yourself and reassure yourself that everything will be ok. Boost your self-belief and be constructive and positive in your outlook.
Sleep allows the body and the mind to rebalance. There is a temptation to go out, have late nights, and have a blow out to get the emotions out of your system. This is fine, but make sure you get the balance back in your life. Eat healthily, exercise and try to stick to a bedtime routine to ensure your body and mind can wind down and relax. Try to have at least one hour free from technology and social media before you go to bed to allow yourself to switch off.
Advice for parents:
1) Don't just blame your child
It's easy to say the classic lines 'if you had spent more time on your studies than going out / playing football / on Facebook…' but at this stage, blaming your child is not the right approach. Listen to how they are feeling, be diplomatic and encourage them. Share stories of your own failures to help them realise everyone fails at some things in life.
2) Manage their reactions
Everyone reacts differently to failure, some people become withdrawn, some become angry or destructive, and others simply try to forget about it and move on. It's important to deal with the situation, let your child cry, shout, sulk, hide away in their room and don't force situations on them too quickly. They may not feel like socialising with family, helping around the house or even eating with you. Let them have their privacy until they are ready to get back into reality.
3) Destructive vs constructive venting
Keep your eye on the destructive 'poor me' venting - your child will experience this for a while but you should encourage them to accept the situation and look at how they can move on from it.
Constructive venting is when your child reaches a point of acceptance, still feels sorry for themselves, but is able to see the options open to them. This is the stage you want to get them to, to help them accept and move on.
Although your child may not feel like talking to you immediately, it's essential to communicate to them, to let them know you are there when they are ready.
When they do want to talk, suggest a change of scenery eg going for a bike ride, a walk to the pub, or for lunch somewhere they like. The change can be refreshing and shift the dynamic, and encourage them to talk as they are out of their usual context.
Now is a stressful time for parents too and it can be upsetting to see your child going through this situation. Resist the temptation to wallow and try to remain positive. Make sure you set a good example by exercising, eating healthily, reduce caffeine and sugar and get enough sleep. Feeling tired can increase your stress levels and may cause you to think and react irrationally so try to keep a level head and remain as optimistic as possible.
For more sleep tips and for information on Silentnight's range of beds, visit www.silentnight.co.uk/sleep-matters
The full Silentnight range is available in furniture retailers and bed stores around the country.