Top 10 Ways to Stay Awake in Class
By Aimee Hosler Feb 6, 2012
It's 2 p.m. and you feel like a zombie practically sleepwalking to your next class. Was that late night worth it? Probably not, but it's too late now. What you are experiencing is a common problem among college students whose late nights and erratic sleep patterns can make it hard to even crawl out of bed, let alone make it through class. There is no quick fix for crummy sleep, but these top 10 recommendations may help you to stay awake in class.
10 no-fail ways to stay awake in class
1. Get enough (regular) sleep.
Getting enough sleep is an obvious way to stay awake during class, but how you catch your Zs matters. According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health, irregular sleep patterns can lead to symptoms of depression and inattention, so aim for a regular sleep schedule. If work or family life makes this impossible, research online colleges--their flexible scheduling might be just what you need to work around these demands.
2. Fake it until you make it.
Want to curl up under your desk and crash? Avoid temptation: take tidy notes, listen to lectures and ask great questions. It won't be easy, but staying on task--even when it's painful--will help you keep your head in the game.
3. Keep it straight.
Sitting up straight in class will improve your focus, not to mention your posture.
4. Chill out.
When you're groggy, consider warm and cozy the enemy. Take off your jacket and bring a bottle of ice cold water to class to refresh your senses (and sense of purpose).
5. Go front and center.
Sitting in the front of the class makes it easier to maintain your focus. Besides, you are much less likely to drift off under a professor's watchful eyes.
6. Break a sweat.
Hitting the gym or riding your bike in the morning will ramp up your energy for the rest of the day, not to mention help you fight that freshman 15.
7. Eat your heart out (and your grades up).
You don't need a nutrition degree to know that skipping meals or eating the wrong foods can stunt your academic prowess and all but guarantee a mid-day crash. Aim for small, regular and healthy meals throughout the day.
8. Master the power nap.
Have an hour to kill before class? Take a power nap. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Mental Health, even short naps prevent burnout and provide a mental boost.
9. Get buzzed.
Caffeine is no substitute for healthy sleep habits, but can be a temporary fix. According to a study conducted by Austria's Medical University, Innsbruck, caffeine may even enhance your memory. Just remember that what goes up, must come down.
10. Catch a breath of fresh air.
Sometimes respectfully excusing yourself from class for a couple of minutes is the best way to beat the sleepies. Get some fresh air, stretch your legs and then get back down to business.
When to seek help
The best way to stay awake during class is to simply get adequate sleep at night, but sometimes other factors come into play. If you suspect that depression, insomnia or another condition is interfering with your sleep schedule, visit your school's health center for guidance. You'll be glad you did.