Lectures are known for their unmatched ability to lull students to sleep. We are here to help! We have collected our top coping mechanisms for staying awake during class. This way you can remain engaged and learning instead of drooling on the desk. Keep reading to learn how!
Struggling to get to sleep at night? Click the link to check out our post How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule.
Why is staying awake in class so difficult?
One main reason is that lectures and PowerPoints are not highly stimulating to listen and pay attention to. We are surrounded by captivating and attention-grabbing entertainment constantly these days. Which makes slowing down and paying attention to someone give a lesson, incredibly difficult and boring.
While often we are told that falling asleep in class is caused purely by lack of interest or laziness, there is more to it than that. When our minds are working diligently to focus and retain information, it is an exhausting process. Unlike physical activity that pumps you up with adrenaline and endorphins, focusing in class gives you no hormonal boost to keep you awake.
This is often when we feel so tired when listening to a monotone lecture. It is not engaging enough to force us awake, but we are put to sleep by the exhausting activity that is remaining focused and absorbing, comprehending, and retaining new information.
Tips for Staying Awake in Class
Falling asleep isn’t an option. So instead we have several tips that will help you stay awake. Ensuring that your don’t drift off to dream. Whether it takes just one or all of them, these tips are easy and doable.
Eat Something Light Before Class:
No one wants to sit through an entire lecture with their stomach growling. Not only is it uncomfortable but it can also make it more difficult to stay focused. However, after eating a large meal we often feel like taking a nap.
Which is why we recommend keeping snacks like nuts, fruit, nut butters, granola on hand to eat between classes.
This will give you that satiation so you won’t be hungry. Without the sedative effect that a full large meal can have.
Learn more about types of food and how they affect your energy in our post: Does The Ketogenic Diet Affect Your Sleep?
Try Using Acupressure:
When you are sitting in class and find yourself nodding off, try using acupressure. There are certain spots on the body which you can press, add pressure to, or massage in order to encourage your body and mind to remain awake and alert.
The muscle in your hand between your pointer finger and thumb is one of our personal favorites for this. However, that is not the only place where you can apply this method to stay awake. You can also try the following…
- Massage or apply pressure between thumb and forefinger
- Tap the top of head
- Apply pressure, tap, or massage the top of the back of the neck on both sides
- Tap, massage or apply pressure just below knee caps
- Add pressure or massage the bottom of the feet – just below the ball of the foot
Bring an Iced Drink to Class:
If you are allowed, bring a drink in with you to class. We highly recommend cold water or any iced drink of choice.
The first benefit for staying awake is that having the activity of taking a drink of something give you a little something to do physically other than just take notes.
The tactile and sensory input of sipping on a cold drink helps to stimulate your senses that are otherwise not being stimulated by the lecture. This will help keep you alert.
Be Mindful of Caffeine & Sugary Drinks:
When you are in dire need, of course caffeine and sugar can give you a quick boost. However, be mindful that if you chug a sugary drink before class that it may actually cause you to have a steep peak in energy that quickly wares off and leaves you feeling even more sleepy than before.
For some caffeine can actually make it more difficult to sit still and remain focused. So be sure you use with caution and know how you and your body react to high sugar and highly caffeinated beverages.
Learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of caffeine in our post: Caffeine Free: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine
Bring Some Chewing Gum:
Unfortunately, some schools or classes do not allow chewing gum in class. However, if you can chew gum this can be a great little tip for staying awake.
The small activity gives your body a little bit of sensory input and activity to entertain yourself with. Which gives you something to do as you sit and take notes. This can be a helpful little tip for staying awake during class.
Take Naps Between Classes:
You will be amazed at how much a 5-20 minute nap can leave you feeling like an entirely new person.
Unfortunately, most high school schedules do not provide enough time between classes for this. If you have an off period or extra time after you eat lunch, give this a try.
A good nap can truly give you the best boost in energy that you need in order to stay awake during class.
Learn more about the power of napping in our post: The Art of Napping: The Benefits of Naps
Move Around (If you are allowed)
Of course, you don’t want to be a major distraction to anyone else in the class, and you may want to chat about this with your instructor first. However, if you are falling asleep in class then try to get up and move a little bit.
If you are really struggling to stay awake, moving around will help a lot. We understand that not all teachers are very lenient with standing or moving in class, especially before college. Even if you need to excuse yourself to use the restroom so can walk and jump around a bit. This will be helpful. If you are seriously restrained to your seat, then try to stretch out your legs and arms, bound your feet or stretch out your neck and shoulders. Every little bit helps.
Create A Lecture Game (Play with classmates)
We found another fun way to stay alert and attentive in class. Play a game with your classmates where you each choose a word you believe will be used most often throughout the lesson.
For example, if you were learning about photosynthesis you would choose a word like green, sun, or plant. Then as your teacher gives their lecture you get a point every time they say your word. Keep score at the top of your page.
The classmate at the end of the class with the most points wins. This may seem silly, but you will be surprised at how a little something like this can help you remain keyed into what your professor is saying.
Essential Oils & Temple Balms
Different scents can be powerful tools for stimulating your senses and keeping you awake. There are even essential oil blends created to do just that. We suggest using these blends or an energizing balm on your temples and wrist. The scent will help to stimulate your senses and help to keep you alert. Some temple balms also have a cooling affect which can also be helpful.
Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Citrus, Rosemary, Pine Needle, and Juniper, essential oils are all refreshing scents that can be beneficial to staying awake during class.
You May Also Enjoy: Best Bedroom Fragrance & Safe Scents For Bedrooms
Fix Your Sleep Schedule:
One reason you may be struggling to stay awake in class is that you are not getting enough sleep at night.
If you are staying up all night it is of course going to be difficult to stay alert and awake throughout the day. We suggest that you find a way to get everything you need to done, while also getting a proper night’s sleep.
Click the link for our top sleep tips for college students: Sleep Tips for College Students
Stay Awake in Class? You Can Do It!
We will all have days when it is difficult to stay focused during class. Finding ways to remain energized and interested in what is being taught can be very helpful. Standing and moving your body is the best way to get your body awake again.
Other methods are great options for trying to remain awake while sitting and taking notes. We hope these tips help to keep you awake and learning during class, instead of drooling on the desk.
Have a question for us? We would to help answer any questions you may have. Click the link to Contact Us!