7 Ways to Combat Sleepiness in Class


Picture this: You’re seated in the lecture hall when suddenly your eyelids get heavy and your head nods forward. Then, uncontrollably, you fall asleep, only to be jolted awake minutes later by a dribble of drool and a stunted snore. You hope your professor didn't see (or hear). Considering the demands of schoolwork and extracurricular activities, it’s no wonder you’re tired, but you're unlikely to get sympathy, or an ‘A’, by sleeping in class. So we're here to help you look alive with these seven ways to combat sleepiness in the classroom.

​1. Get Moving

Stretch in your seat or go for a brisk walk during a bathroom break or between classes. Walking propels oxygen through your body, and a 10-minute walk can increase your energy level for up to two hours.

2. Take Naps (outside of class)

Nap time isn’t just for kids. Five to 25 minutes of sleep can help re-energize you. Be careful not to nap too close to your bedtime or for too long as that could throw off your sleep cycle.

3. Look Away

You’re not imagining that those hours in front of the computer screen are sapping your drive. Periodically shift your glance away from the screen to relax your eyes and fight fatigue.

4. Snack Smart

You might crave sugar as a quick pick-me-up when you’re drowsy, but foods like edamame, yogurt, nuts, fresh fruit and peanut butter can provide the lift without the caffeine crash.

5. Start Talking

Take part in class discussions. Science says conversation, especially about hot topics, is a “strong behavioral stimulator”.

6. Step Into the Light

Studies have shown dimly lit environments can exacerbate fatigue. Perk up by grabbing a seat near a sunlit window or other source of light.

7. Breathe Deeply

Like walking, deep breathing pumps invigorating oxygen to your veins, muscles and brain. It can also help alleviate stress.