Tips to Help You Stay Awake During Lessons

Picture this: You are in your online classes, paying close attention to the screen your teacher has shared with the class. The teacher’s voice is droning through the speakers and little by little, your eyelids start to feel heavy. Have you been experienced this before? While many students may feel guilty answering the question with a yes, this is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s quite a common occurrence for students to start to doze off during classes, and even more so during the new online classes.

Even before the pandemic wherein students are still in the confines of their classrooms, it’s very common to see some falling asleep during lectures. This is because, well, lectures are just way too long. However very common, it’s also common knowledge that doing this in class, online or otherwise, is not a very good scenario and can affect your grades in case you miss out on some of the pointers of the lesson. Additionally, it can also be a blow to your relationship with your teacher or tutor. If you tend to fall asleep during your classes, fear not. We have gathered some tips to help you stay awake during class and avoid this problem.

Reasons why students doze off

Apart from the already mentioned lecture time being too long for students’ attention span, there are also other factors that contribute to the reasons students are falling asleep or finding it hard to stay awake during classes. These reasons may include staying up late either by studying or doing other things, working part-time after school, or even having a heavy meal before classes. With online classes, reasons may also include that they are in a very comfortable environment or in their bedrooms, which they can relate to sleeping.

Tips to stay awake during class

With the reasons we’ve mentioned, it seems that staying awake in class may be harder than you think. Well, that isn’t always the case. There are also measures you can take to help you stay awake and not doze off.

1. Eat a meal, but not too much

It’s never a good idea to attend class on an empty stomach. Aside from not having enough energy for the lessons, not eating can also be distracting especially when you start to get hungry in class. On the other side of the spectrum, eating too much before a class also isn’t a good idea.

Postprandial somnolence or more commonly known as “food coma” is an event after a very indulgent meal wherein one tends to feel tired and sleepy after eating. However, this doesn’t necessarily occur after every meal, just those huge ones especially if packed with carbohydrates. Now, you may be wondering why this happens. This actually relates to the chemical reaction in your brain. A meal mostly consists of carbohydrates will spike on the level of insulin which makes tryptophan, an infamous sleepy type of amino acid, to enter your brain. At first, tryptophan turns into serotonin and later on into melatonin, which makes the person drowsy.  This is why you may feel sleepy in class after a huge meal.

As a student, you should eat a balanced meal that includes fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. This will keep your energy up while avoiding drowsiness from food.

2. Light snacks for class

Since classes are mostly online now, it also comes with the privilege that may not be available in traditional classrooms. Snacks such as those with high sugar content like chocolate or candies can give you the boost of energy you need when the classes start to become too tiring for you. However, while these sugary snacks can give you the boost you need, they are also known to bring your energy crashing down after. Energy crashes can cause the individual to feel more tired than they were before they ate those sugary food.

If you wish to snack in class but don’t want to experience any energy crashes, we suggest snacking on food like nuts, yogurt, fruits, and even bread. These foods are high in glucose, which can help you stay awake and alert during your lesson. However, it should be noted that energy boosts may take a while to kick in.

3. Bring some mints

If you don’t have the liberty to snack during classes, there’s another alternative that’s more discreet while still helping you stay awake during class. Mints are good for keeping you awake and energized because of the menthol in them. The menthol from eating mint (or mint candies) isn’t only reserved for eating. When consuming mint, you also inhale the smell of it and it helps trigger the mind so that you feel more awake and energized for class.

4. Don’t forget to hydrate

Dehydration can also be one of the causes why you are feeling fatigued and sleepy in class. Your body needs fluid to help with the different functions of the body such as with blood flow, which also, in turn, brings oxygen to the brain. You may also lose electrolytes when dehydrated and they also play a major role in keeping your bodily functions. If you are dehydrated, you may start to feel fatigued, lightheaded, and weak in the muscles. As such, drinking water and hydrating yourself can also refresh the person and renewing their focus on the lesson. So, with that being said, why don’t you bring with you a water bottle the next time you attend class?

5. Drink some green tea

There’s a reason why some coffee drinkers have switched to drinking green tea. It has been proven that green tea is more beneficial when it comes to boosting the energy levels than coffee does. Green tea can give you the same boost of energy coffee does while having less caffeine in it. furthermore, unlike coffee and other sugary drinks, drinking green tea will not let you experience energy crashes after the energy boosts. As such, it can also cleanse your palate and help keep you satiated throughout the day, helping you with consuming less in meals and avoiding food coma.

6. Get a good night’s sleep

This is a pretty obvious tip but we’re including it in the list nevertheless. While it may be obvious, too many actually overlook the effects of a good night’s sleep. It’s also not uncommon for students to neglect their bedtime in favor of doing other activities such as watching videos or gaming. Some even think that because classes happen online, they may have more leeway to stretch their bedtime and still make it to their online classes. However, the results may still be the same, online or not, they will still probably doze off in class because of not getting enough sleep.

It’s recommended for growing people to get approximately 7-9 hours of sleep for the body to function properly the next day. Aside from getting those hours of sleep, it should also be consistent. A sleep schedule is just as important as every other schedule. It will help train your body clock so to signal when to wake up and when it’s time to sleep.

7. Take cold showers before classes

Cold showers are not very popular for many students simply because getting up in the morning to take cold showers doesn’t really present a very good reason why. However, we’re here to tell you why taking cold showers may be beneficial in keeping you awake more than you think. Cold showers after waking up help make you feel more alert and well, awake. It increases the heart and respiratory rate as well as blood pressure, giving you the impression of being more awake. Besides, if you’re still feeling sleepy after waking up, we’re sure the cold water will wake you right up.

8. Take notes during lessons

Taking notes will not only help you in studying for the lesson but also help keep your focus on the lecturer. When you are focused on the lesson and what the lecturer is saying, there are fewer chances of you falling asleep or your attention straying. It also engages your brain and helps you pay attention and write down the important details of the lesson and relevant information you may need for your tests.


If you find your attention waning or your focus elsewhere during lessons, you’re not alone. And if you feel yourself dozing off during long lectures, you are also still not alone. On average, a person can efficiently pay attention for ten minutes so it’s normal for your attention to also go elsewhere or fall asleep.

However, while it is normal, you shouldn’t just let it happen. As we’ve mentioned already, there may be some parts of the lesson that you may miss if you don’t focus or start to fall asleep. It may impact your grades and your relationship with your teacher and tutor. With the tips we’ve mentioned above, we hope that they can help you with staying awake and maximizing the time spent on learning.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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