How to Stay Awake in Class
I'm almost certain that everyone at some point in their lives has fallen asleep in class. Whether you are currently in classes, planning to attend classes, or have gone through the whole schooling process and plan to never attend a class again, you've probably experienced this. From a boring philosophy class to an intriguing drama class, there's still the potential of falling asleep.
Sometimes dozing off in class has to do with how little interest you have in the course. Sometimes being sleepy in class is because you were up all night. No matter what your reason is, there are many ways to stop your trip to dreamland.
Tips For Staying Awake in Class
- Sit up front and centre. By sitting in the front, you have the sense that the teacher is looking directly at you, whether or not they are. You are in view of everyone. This position not only gives you easier access to the board or projector—so you can see the notes better—but it makes you feel obligated to pay attention. You will actually fear falling asleep because everyone will notice!
- Take a shower in the morning. Taking a shower immediately after getting up can knock the fatigue right out of you. It could leave you feeling alert for a while afterwards.
- Work out. An exercise routine can give you energy over a period of time. Working out can give you some resistance to feeling tired more easily.
- Take notes. Whether you are a good notetaker or not, the mere act of writing may help you stay awake. If your hand is constantly moving, then there is less of a chance of falling asleep. Just do not get too caught up in your notes that you forget to listen to what is being said. This technique is good for visual learners (people who learn best when they actually see what is being taught).
- Draw sketches or doodle in your notebook. Though this is not recommended for grade school, secondary/middle school, and high school, there is no problem with doodling in college—only if you have a good auditory memory (you remember the things you hear). This is an alternative to taking notes. It keeps your hand busy so you have less of a chance of falling asleep. It may help for moments where the teacher goes off into a personal story or something. If your notebooks are checked for neatness and such, do not doodle in your notebooks.
- Change your position. Do not sit in the same position for the entire class. For example, ladies often cross their legs while sitting through a lecture. Try uncrossing your legs for some time, or switching the leg that is crossed. You can even shift in your seat every once in a while. Even changing the position of your notebook now and then can be beneficial.
- Interact with your teacher. Answering or asking questions in class can keep you alert.
- Suck on a candy or chew gum. Now, please do not go into class with a lollypop sticking out of your mouth. Make sure the candy you select is something unobtrusive and discreet. You do not want to be sitting in class munching on a chocolate bar. If food is allowed, then it's fine, but do not be defiant and bring large packets of candy into the classroom when you know your teacher will be displeased. I've found that chewing gum or sucking on a mint can keep me awake.
- Drink some water. This goes hand in hand with the candy and gum method. Most teachers who do not allow food and drinks will allow a bottle of water into the classroom. Take advantage of that allowance and sip some water every now and then to stay awake.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Often times, as we get relaxed during lectures, we place our elbows on the desks and lean our faces against our hands. Most people do this. Do not prop your head on your hands. This will give your body a sense of rest and invite sleep. Leaning on your hands is as bad as putting your head on your desk. Don't do it!
- Walk out of the classroom. If all else fails, walk away. I'm not saying to pack up all your things and go home. Just take a break—a brief break. Walk down the hallway and get a drink of water. Do some jumping jacks to wake your body up, go to the bathroom to relieve yourself, splash some cold water on your face. If you're near a door that exits the building, go out for some fresh air. Just remember to return to class promptly. You do not want to miss too much valuable information.
How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter
- Drink water. Dehydration can add to your fatigue. Eight glasses of water throughout the day would be ideal. Stay away from energy drink since they only offer a temporary fix. They will cause you to crash later.
- Eat healthy food. Food that can boost your energy includes eggs, fish, beans, nuts, and leafy greens. Avoid sugary food since they will eventually make you crash.
- Drink coffee. A fresh brew of coffee in the morning can be helpful. It can kickstart your energy and it even helps you boost your memory as well. However, you shouldn't drink too much since you can crash on caffeine. If you are planning to be in bed early, you shouldn't drink coffee in the afternoon. The caffeine will stay in your body for about five hours; this can interfere with your sleep schedule.
- Turn up the AC. A cold environment will force your body to work to keep warm. This can help fight fatigue.
- Listen to music. Music can stimulate your brain, which can make you feel more awake.
- Get some sunlight. A quick walk outside can be beneficial. Sunlight can get your circulation going and make you feel more energized.
- Take a power nap. If possible, try to take a nap for 15-20 minutes. You'll feel much more alert afterwards.
- Keep moving. Walking around or doing some jumping jacks can fight fatigue. Small exercises will get your blood flowing and give your brain some oxygen.
How to Stay Awake Without Coffee
If you are not into coffee, here are some alternatives you can take to stay alert.
- Fruits. These have sugars that can give you a quick energy boost. Fruits with vitamin c, like oranges, can help convert fat into energy, which helps fight fatigue.
- Tea. Black or green tea has less caffeine than coffee, so there is no worries about crashing later. It also has lots of antioxidants. These can help fight off some diseases and prevent cancer.
- Ginseng. This herb is known for its ability to boost energy and reduce stress. It can help you relax as well.
- Peppermint. This stuff can make you feel more alert and helps you focus more on tasks at hand.
- Dark chocolate. Having some dark chocolate can give you some caffeine. It also has theobromine, which can raise serotonin levels that can balance your mood.
- Proteins. Lean meats offer a slow energy release.
Sometimes, doing all of these things will prove futile. Sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do to prevent sleep. For those times when your body is worn down and lacking sleep, it's hard not to give in. However, if it is the unexciting drawl of the teacher's voice or the boring content, there's a way to make the experience more interesting for yourself.
In your mind, try to apply what's being taught to real life. Imagine pictures in your head, animate the actions (in your mind). Even if it is math, you can make it interesting. Be creative! If that fails, well, there's nothing you can do about it.
Preventing Dozing Off in Class
The best way to prevent falling asleep in class is to get a good night's sleep. Set a regular bedtime for yourself and stick to it! Try not to take too many naps during the day as that will make you less sleepy when bedtime comes around. If you are still not sleepy, read a book in bed or listen to music.
Stay away from too much caffeine. You never know when you're going to crash; it may just occur during class and that may be the reason for you feeling sleepy. Also, too much caffeine during the day can disturb your sleep at night and then the cycle repeats.
Also, believe it or not, too much sleep can also make you tired. It may sound ridiculous, but it's true.
How Much Sleep is Required?
- For children (5 - 10 years old): 10 to 11 hours of sleep is ideal.
- Teens (10 - 17 years old): 8.5 to 9.25 hours.
- Adults: 7 - 9 hours.
These statistics are just general numbers. Sleep depends entirely on the individual. No matter what age, individuals have different needs. In the end, it all comes down to your lifestyle and your health.
If you want to stay awake in class, try to stay away from caffeine, get a good night's sleep, make the lecture content interesting ,and keep your hands away from your face while in class!