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23 Best Tips On How To Stay Awake In Class? [2023 Latest]

By: Susie
Updated On: October 25, 2023

It's happened to the best of us. One minute, we're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, filled with anticipation for the learning ahead.

The next minute, our eyelids are drooping, our attention is wandering, and we're struggling with how to stay awake in class.

Whether it's a Monday morning lecture slot or a tedious afternoon seminar, remaining alert and engaged can be quite the ordeal.

Most of us are familiar with this scene. You walk into class ready to absorb knowledge like a sponge, only to find your energy levels dropping faster than your favorite song's beat on replay.

As sleepiness sets in, you start questioning: "How do I keep from dozing off in this important lecture? How do I maintain my focus?" Well, fear not! Here are practical solutions that will help you battle these classroom zzzs effectively.

Recognizing the Reasons for Feeling Tired in Class

Before we dive into the active part of battling classroom fatigue, it's essential first to understand what might be causing this drowsiness in class.

Recognizing the Reasons for Feeling Tired in Class

Most commonly, there are three prevalent factors dictating this condition: lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and monotonous classes.

Lack of Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults. Many students fall short of this mark due to reasons like homework deadlines and social demands.

Without adequate rest, your engine runs on low fuel. This situation results in droopy-eyed you struggling to stay awake during lectures.

Poor sleep often translates to poor understanding and diminished retention capability. It’s thus crucial that university exam cramming or late-night Netflix binging should not come at the expense of quality sleep.

Nutritional Factors Affecting Energy Levels

Your body needs a well-rounded diet to function at its best. Eating high-sugar foods may give you a quick energy boost, but they often lead to an "energy crash," leaving you feeling more tired than before.

Aim for whole grains and lean proteins that offer sustained energy reserves throughout the day. Also imperative is staying hydrated; slight dehydration often mirrors fatigue symptoms. So don't forget that water bottle when heading for class!

Influence of Monotonous Classes

Last but not least on our list is the role monotonous classes play in fostering tiredness. If your class content is droning or not challenging enough, your brain tends to keep itself engaged, which becomes an uphill task, leading to yawning and eyelid drooping eventually.

Breaking up this monotony with participatory activities or brain breaks can significantly help enhance alertness levels.

Now that we have understood some leading causes behind feeling tired in class, let's tackle how we can actively combat this ennui.

After all, becoming aware and proactive is the first responsibility we have toward our education.

Why it's Important to Stay Awake in Class?

A classroom is more than just a space where knowledge is shared - it's where minds are shaped, destinies are forged, and futures are built.

Why it's Important to Stay Awake in Class?

While every class might not be packed with endless allure and intrigue, staying awake helps you to absorb critical knowledge and skills that could prove crucial down the line.

The Connection Between Alertness and Academic Success

Being alert in class has a direct correlation with academic success. Alertness enables us to maintain focus, understand complex ideas, capture essential details, and participate actively in classroom discussions.

A study by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School shows that there’s a significant correlation between good grades and sleep.

Students who managed their sleep schedules performed better academically than those who didn’t. The reason for this is simple: an alert mind has greater cognitive abilities.

It absorbs more information, stores it effectively, processes information faster, and recollects what's learned with greater ease.

Proper rest supports optimal working memory, attention span, and logical reasoning, as well as a host of other cognitive functions that contribute significantly to learning efficiency. In contrast, drowsiness clouds the mind, leading to poor concentration and understanding - every student’s nightmare.

Negative Effects of Sleeping in Class

Sleeping in class portrays you not just as a non-serious student but could hurt your academic progress significantly.

Beyond giving the impression that you're disinterested or disrespectful to instructors (which could affect your rapport with them), sleeping during class time means missing out on critical lectures and discussions that may never be repeated.

Remember that questions that make most exams come from within these lectures - missing out on these highlights because of sleep sets up room for disastrous performance when exams roll around.

Building an understanding around concepts being taught often requires following an instructional sequence from start to end; sleeping interrupts this process, making comprehension chances slimmer when awake.

How To Stay Awake In Class: 23 Best Tips

How To Stay Awake In Class: 23 Best Tips

Keeping awake in class is more than just a matter of willpower. It’s a skill that you can cultivate. To help you out, we've curated some science-backed strategies and simple techniques that will help you remain alert and engaged. So here are the top tips to keep up your energy levels and stay woke - academically!

Sit Up Straight

Maintaining good posture doesn’t just make you look alert—it can help keep your mind alert, too! Sitting up straight allows sufficient oxygen flow to your brain, which is one of the essential components for maintaining concentration.

It's also helpful for keeping backaches at bay, further reducing any discomfort that might distract you from the lecture.

You don't have to be ramrod straight; maintain a comfortable yet upright posture and refrain from slouching or laying your head on the desk.

Take Notes

Taking notes does wonders for staying awake in class. This active form of learning keeps your brain engaged since it forces you to listen attentively, process the information, and write it down in a summarized form.

Your mind stays busy trying to capture key points from the lecturer's discourse. Besides, the physical act of writing can keep sleepiness at bay better than passive listening can.

Taking notes also has its added academic advantages - it enhances learning, aids memory retention, and offers useful revision material.

Drink Cold Water

Staying hydrated is one of those underrated techniques for staying awake that never goes out of style. One way to kickstart this is by drinking cold water.

Not only does it instantly refresh you, but it also aids metabolism, facilitating better energy production—thus keeping tiredness at bay.

Keeping a water bottle by your side in lectures would be a wise decision! Whenever you start feeling drowsy, take slow sips—it’s like pressing the refresh button on your attentiveness.

Go to Bed Early

The National Sleep Foundation strongly recommends 7–9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Skimping on sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, particularly during slow moments like classroom lectures.

Carry out a little experiment and see if going to bed an hour earlier helps you remain more alert the following day.

Regulating your bedtime also entrains your body's 'biological clock', leading to better sleep quality and improved daytime alertness.

Also Read: 14 Best Mattress For Peaceful Sleep In 2023 [Top Picks]

Hydrate Yourself

Beyond just cold water, staying hydrated in general offers myriad benefits— one of them being increased energy levels.

Dehydration often leads to fatigue and lack of concentration. On the other hand, maintaining a proper fluid balance in your body aids in better cognition and alertness.

Experiment with different hydrating options like flavored water, fruit juices or herbal teas, which not only leave you refreshed but also offer their unique health perks.

Maintain Proper Sleep Timing

The National Institute of Health underscores the importance of not just the quantity, but also the quality and timing of sleep for adequate mental functioning.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday helps regulate your body's internal 'biological clock', promoting better sleep at night and increased alertness during the day.

Try sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. Doing so can help you avoid that mid-class slump and ensure you get through your day energetically.


When lethargy creeps in during class, one effective way to combat it is by moving your body. It doesn't have to be a full-blown workout session.

Just standing up, stretching or walking around for a few minutes every hour can increase your blood circulation supplying more oxygen to your brain thereby boosting energy levels.

A quick trip to the washroom or a brief pencil-sharpening break - find excuses for moving around if classroom decorum disallows blatant workouts!

Take a Power Nap

Contrary to common belief, strategic napping during the day doesn't impact nighttime sleep patterns but instead, enhances alertness and cognitive functioning.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends power naps of 15-20 minutes for boosting alertness without leaving you groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.

Ask Questions

Actively participating in class discussions is another potent method to stay awake in class. Asking questions keeps you mentally engaged and gives you an active role in the learning process rather than being a passive observer.

It encourages concentrated listening as you need to understand what's being said before posing relevant inquiries.

Avoid Heavy Meals Before Class

You're likely familiar with that sluggish feeling after having a big meal - food coma is real. Eating heavy meals can make you feel drowsy as your body shifts its focus from other activities in order to digest all that food. Instead of resorting to large meals, opt for lighter meals or snacks during class breaks.

Foods like nuts, fruits or yogurt are light on the stomach, easy to digest and give just the right amount of energy boost required. Try packing these in your lunchbox for that 'pick-me-up' effect.


Caffeine hailed as the world's most popular stimulant, is undoubtedly a go-to for many sleepy students. Consumed in moderation, it can help shake off that morning drowsiness or afternoon slump.

Be it coffee, tea, or energy drinks, these caffeine-laden beverages are known to enhance alertness and cognitive performance.

Remember to balance your consumption, as over-caffeinating can lead to a crash later in the day. Consuming caffeine later in the day can affect your sleep at night. So go ahead! Enjoy that cup of joe, but also remember - moderation is key.

Chew Gum

If you've ever wondered how chewing gum might keep you awake during a monotonous history lecture…well, you're onto something.

Engaging your senses helps keep drowsiness at bay, and your sense of taste is no exception. Chewing gum keeps your mouth busy, which increases blood flow to the head and thereby enhances alertness. Plus, the minty fresh flavor of most gums serves as an additional sensory boost!

Drink Water

Yes! You heard it again. Drinking water is so beneficial that it deserves a double mention on this list! Dehydration can often mimic symptoms of fatigue.

She is making you feel even more tired than what's actually. Simple hydration by drinking ample water throughout the day helps maintain your body's balance, leading to increased alertness and reduced tiredness during classes.


Eating right might be one of the most disarmingly simple ways to stay awake during class, yet often neglected by busy students surviving on fast food and late-night snacks.

Consuming balanced meals provides the necessary nutrients needed for producing energy in our bodies – keeping us going throughout tough classroom hours.

Opt for high-protein foods (like eggs or nuts) and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains), which offer sustained energy release over lengthy periods.

Get Enough Sleep

A day of wakefulness and alertness begins with a good night's sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function optimally.

Lack of adequate sleep can not only make you tired during daytime but could also affect your memory and cognitive functions, not things you want when trying to grasp complex classroom concepts.

Make sleeping long enough a priority, respect those bedtime deadlines, create a relaxing nighttime routine, and enjoy the beauty of high energy levels throughout the next day.

Read More: Is One Hour Of Sleep Better Than None? [Count As A Nap?] 2023

Take Naps Between Classes

Catnaps are power-packed sources of rejuvenation! Say hello to more alert afternoons by introducing short naps into your daytime schedule.

The National Sleep Foundation endorses power naps of 20-30 minutes for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.

Pick an empty classroom, use the library couch, or even your car—ensure it's a safe and comfortable place where you can relax. A quick power nap between classes might keep you fresher than that extra-strong coffee.

Be Active

Have you ever found yourself drifting off while being stuck in the same spot? Well, movement is a great alarm clock for your body.

A quick walk in the corridor or some desk-friendly stretches are effective little tricks that inject physical activity into your otherwise sedentary class period.

Spare just five minutes during breaks to indulge in light exercise and prepare for another active hour inside the class.

Please make sure not to overdo exercise that leaves you breathless, or it could have counter-productive results.

Breathe Deeply

When you're feeling sleepy, your breathing becomes shallow and lacks rhythm—it's just one step away from dozing off.

To shake this off, take deep rhythmic breaths as if filling up your stomach like a balloon, followed by slow exhalation.

Doing this for about two minutes redirects more oxygen to your brain and basically reassures it that it's not time to doze off yet.

Follow breathing techniques like the '4-7-8 technique'—Inhale through your nose quietly to a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale completely through your mouth to a count of 8.

Breathe Some Fresh Air

Staying cooped up inside a room, especially with inadequate ventilation, often leads to drowsiness. Make it a habit to step outside in breaks or open the window and let some fresh air enter the class.

Breathing in fresh air can invigorate you, enhance your thinking ability, and reset your sleepy mind, offering renewed energy for another round of focused learning.

Indulging in a bit of nature's greenery and sunlight might be a mood booster that keeps you motivated during long, strenuous lecture hours.

Get Quality Sleep

Going to bed early only goes so far; ensure the sleep you have is good quality. This means diving into REM cycles that leave you feeling actually refreshed upon waking up.

Setting a proper bedtime routine, avoiding screens before hitting the sack, and keeping your room dark and cool - these lifestyle tweaks go a long way in ensuring sound sleep.

Excellent sleep hygiene not only keeps daytime sleepiness at bay but also perks up overall health and well-being.

So, put your phone on 'Do Not Disturb', say goodbye to Netflix's tantalizing "Next Episode" button, and enjoy a good night's sleep.

Explore More: 11 Best Crystals for Sleep In 2023 [Gemstones And Crystals]

Get Some Sunlight

I didn't see this one coming, did you? Exposing yourself to natural sunlight can do wonders in helping you stay awake.

Not only does sunlight increase serotonin levels (hello happiness!), it also helps regulate melatonin - the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).

Spending more time outdoors or sitting near a window during class can help keep your body’s internal clock in check and reduce feelings of tiredness during the day.

Sit in The Front

Choosing your seat wisely can be an easy win against slumber. Sitting front and center keeps you engaged as there are fewer distractions compared to the chaos at the back of the class.

With the professor directly before your eyes, there’s little room for procrastination. Involvement becomes almost mandatory when you sit up front; asking or answering questions becomes easier, which further aids focus and engagement.

So next time, instead of reclining against the back wall, take a brave stride to that chair up front – it might make all the rest of this list unnecessary.

FAQs about 'how to stay awake in class?'

What's a quick fix if I start feeling sleepy during a lecture?

Drink some cold water or step outside for a minute to get some fresh air - these are quick solutions that usually work.

Are there any easy exercises I can do in class to stay awake?

Stretching your arm, rotating your neck, or quietly tapping your feet can keep you alert without distracting others.

Does my diet have anything to do with feeling sleepy in class?

Eating hefty meals just before class can make you drowsy. Stick to light, nutrient-rich food for better energy levels.

Is it normal to feel sleepy in every class, regardless of the subject?

If you're consistently tired despite adequate sleep and diet, it might be best to see a doctor as this is not necessarily normal.

Can lack of physical activity lead to sleepiness in class?

Yes, regular exercise boosts overall energy levels and reduces feelings of fatigue.


Staying awake in class isn't simply a willpower challenge—it's also about listening to your body, incorporating healthy habits, and applying strategic situational adjustments.

From correct posture to note-taking habits and hydration strategies to wisely chosen seating, these strategies ensure you're fully alert during those crucial lectures.

Remember that falling prey to the drowsiness monster now and then is OK. We're all human beings if sleepiness becomes a chronic issue affecting your academic progress.

Don't hesitate to consult a professional. A rested brain is an active brain; let's make the most of it!

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