Avoid Sleeping During Class

Edited by Emmanuel M. Lardizabal, Eng, Jonathan, Monika and 29 others

No one will notice if I'm covered with my Fedora.

Every student knows the feeling. You arrive to class with the best intentions, find a seat, take out your book and begin listening attentively to your instructor. Suddenly, the lights are off (did the room just get warmer?) the projector is on and with every click of a PowerPoint slide your eyes are buckling shut. You frantically try to keep them open but uncontrollable, unconscious and unrestrained drowsiness is taking over.

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Maybe you spent the night studying or had to work late. Maybe you have a disruptive roommate or are struggling to sleep. Whether it's an early morning class, post-lunch hyperglycemia in an afternoon class or a night class most students have found themselves stuck in sleepiness during class from time to time, while some students find this to be a chronic challenge.

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There are many negative effects of sleepiness in class, the most obvious is academic performance, however, there are some strategies that can help.

There are two ways attack sleepiness in class – the first is prevention and the second is the cure. Preventative methods are things you can do before class while cures are things you can do during class when you're feeling sleepy.

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Prevention

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  1. 1
    Sleep lots and sleep well.
    I know, I know…students have busy schedules. Between the readings, writing, labs, classes, extracurricular, families and jobs many students find it difficult to get to bed at an appropriate time. But if you're a chronic classroom sleeper you might want to examine your sleep schedule and try to modify it as necessary. The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person and changes as we age. In other words, there is no magic right number for the amount of sleep you need, it is dependent on genetics as well as your age. The National Sleep Foundation has stated that young adults between the ages of 16 – 21 need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best and most young adults do not get enough sleep — one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8.5 hours on school nights[1]. Your first action is to look at your sleep schedule for the following:
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    • Ensure you're getting enough sleep.
    • Ensure the sleep you're getting is satisfactory. Do you snore or wake up a lot? Do you fall asleep in front of the T.V.? Establish healthy sleeping habits that include sleeping in bed, in the dark with an appropriate temperature. Fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist (such as FitBit or VivoFit) can track your sleep and report on the duration, restlessness, times awake. If you are getting adequate hours of sleep but still find yourself tired and irritable throughout the day, track your sleep and keep a sleep journal. Then try to make appropriate modifications or speak to your doctor.
    • Set a sleep schedule and adhere to it as best you can. Yes, even on weekends. Once you train your body to the schedule you will find yourself with better sleep and more energy throughout the day.
    • Before going to bed, refrain from eating a large meal or drinking alcohol. Refrain from caffeine or nicotine at least an hour before bed. If you exercise at night, end at least three hours before bed. Meditate, read or listen to music before you fall asleep. These habits can ensure a good night's sleep.
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  2. 2
    Eat Well.
    Before class stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugar. Instead, opt for a protein rich meal that will keep you full and focused in class. If your instructor allows it, bring fruits and vegetables such as apples and raw carrots to class. The crunch as well as the sugar can give you a boost. Ensure your hydrated - drink lots of water throughout the day.
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  3. 3
    Exercise.
    The only way to experience the full mind blowing effects regular exercise has on your body is to try it. Just like getting more sleep you might read this step and think when would I possibly have the time to exercise? When you're tired the last thing you want to do is exercise. BUT even if you're tired and fatigued just being even a bit more active will boost your energy level. Walking in between classes or hitting the gym for even 45 minutes of cardio will boost your energy. Try an exercise program you can commit to that includes at least 45 minutes of cardio 3-5 times a week and you will notice the positive effects on your energy level.
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  4. 4
    Get Ready.
    If possible, have a shower before going to class. This will wake you up and get you going. Arrive to class prepared – know the material and have questions/comments to contribute. Listen to music that will pump you up for class.
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Cures

  1. 1
    Watch your Posture.
    Don't slouch, slump or sprawl. Try to keep your head upright and pay attention to your posture.
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  2. 2
    Stretch.
    If you feel yourself getting sleepy, sit up straight and stretch your arms and legs. Move your neck from side to side and your wait left to right.
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  3. 3
    Stay Focused.
    While the professor is teaching/lecturing, try to stay focused on what he/she is discussing. Be active in your thinking. Ask yourself questions about what your teacher is discussing. Compare what your teacher is saying to what you already know.
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  4. 4
    Take Notes.
    Taking notes is an excellent way to maintain focus stay active in your thinking. Your mind will be engaged if you focus on writing down what is being said. You also may think more and be more attentive to the lecture. These notes don't need to be 100% complete, just jot down the points that are interesting to you, and any questions that come to your mind. If you don't find your note-taking helpful in focusing or while you study, you may want to look at other methods. There are actually 5 methods of note-taking. If you are a very logical thinker you might try the Cornell Method of note-taking, while if you're more kinetic you might do better with Mapping Method. Experiment with different methods and find the one that keeps you active, focused and enhances your studying.
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  5. 5
    Participate.
    Think about it. You don't fall asleep when you are active. How many people have you seen sleeping on a treadmill? Or dozing at a concert? When you're active and participating you'll stay awake. Even if your professor doesn't offer engagement activities try to actively participate in the recitations and discussions. Ask questions for clarification.
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  6. 6
    Sit Closer.
    Studies have shown that students who sit in the front and center (middle) of the classroom tend to achieve higher average exam scores [2]. One study discovered a direct relationship between test scores and seating distance from the front of class: students in the front, middle, and back rows of class scored 80%, 71.6%, and 68.1% respectively on course exams [3]. Getting closer means you are more likely to be involved and engaged in class and in turn you will learn more. You will also be aware that the rest of the class can see you and no one wants to be caught drooling in the front row by everyone behind them! Advantages to sitting close include:
    • Better vision of the whiteboard/screen.
    • Able to hear the instructor better.
    • Able to pay closer attention.
    • Greater eye contact with the instructor—which may increase your sense of personal responsibility to listen to, and take notes on, what their instructor is saying.
    • Greater ability to ask questions and participate.
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  7. 7
    Feel The Pinch.
    if the urge to sleep in uncontrollable pinch your palm, or keep an elastic around your wrist and "flick" it. There have also been some studies that say pulling your earlobe will also help you stay awake.
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  8. 8
    Chew Gum.
    The flavour as well as the chewing motion will wake you up.
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  9. 9
    Leave.
    Get up and go for a walk or even to the washroom to spray some cold water on your face.
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  10. 10
    No really, leave.
    If none of this helps and you really can't avoid falling asleep - leave. You are a distraction to other students as well as to your instructor and you're certainly not getting anything out of the class. Just as it would be rude for the person you are having dinner with to suddenly fall asleep at the table - sleeping in class is impolite and discourteous. And no matter the size of the room, your instructor knows that you are asleep. Sometimes it really cannot be helped, wait until there is a break and politely excuse yourself from the lecture.
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Fascinating Facts

A lot of great minds don't sleep much, while other geniuses are sleep masters. For example, both Leonardo DaVinci and Nikolai Tesla were known to only sleep 1.5 - 2 hours a day and both Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin were known to only sleep 3 – 5 hours a night. More recently, White House officials have stated that President Donald Trump only sleep 4 hours a night. Thomas Edison was known to stay away for days and then sleep for days at a time. Conversely, Albert Einstein stated he needed 10-11 hours of sleep a night as well as naps throughout the day while Winston Churchill (who spent a lot of time in his bathrobe and working in bed) famously slept only 5 hours a night but advocated for naps throughout the day. Ellen DeGeneres adheres to a strict 11:00pm – 7:30am schedule while the Dalai Lama has famously said ""Sleep is the best meditation," adhering to 8 – 9 hours a night.

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What is your favourite famous sleep story? Tell me in the comments!

I warned you about the bathrobe.

Questions and Answers

Prevent sleep in class, how to prevent that?

Follow the tips provided in this VisiHow article.

See more questions like this: How to stop sleeping in the class

How do I avoid falling asleep in class?

Sometimes in class I will feel drowsy and I will just sink down in my chair and close my eyes a little. Follow the steps provided in this VisiHow article to keep alert during class.

See more questions like this: How to avoid sleep during my tuition class?

Is there any eatable tips to avoid sleep?

Whether eatable things like chewing gum, fruit juices are really helpful to avoid sleep?

Your question sounds funny but the answer is ABSOLUTELY ! When I am driving late at night, I start to doze off sometimes. I have found chewing keeps me awake. I often get a cup of ice and chew the ice to stay awake. It works really well. Chewing gum works to a lesser degree because it does not include that ice cold jolt an ice cube provides. However, for some people this keeps their brains engaged enough to avoid falling asleep.

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I feel It is becoming tough to focus, what should I do?

I study in the university, sometimes I feel sleepy in class and feel too much laziness, I try to stay focused on the teacher, but inside I feel It is becoming tough to focus what should I do?

Follow the tips provided in this VisiHow article as well as before class take a quick brisk walk. You are most likely already walking to and from different buildings for classes, however increase the pace. This will get your heart rate going and release energy boosting endorphins.

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Is there any side affects if I use wet cloth to avoid sleep?

How to avoid sleep during class time please give me a solution

There are no side effects if you use a wet cloth in class to stay awake and in fact it is a great solution if it works for you. Make sure the cloth is cold to help stimulate you.

I'm studying IT in my 2nd year. I want to avoid sleeping inside the class room?

Help me to avoid sleeping inside the class room.

If the rooms are air conditioned and/or filled with humming computers, the rhythmic tapping of keys, and quiet students, and white noise of the air conditioner, all work to lull you to sleep like an electric lullaby. To combat this you need to:

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  1. 1
    Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.
    Eight hours is just an average. Some people need more or less than others. If you wake up in the morning and you are sluggish or groggy, add another 45 minutes to your sleep cycle.
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  2. 2
    Make sure you are only using your bedroom or dorm for sleep.
    Some people find it difficult to disconnect if they spend too much time working or studying in a place they are suppose to relax. It can create a tense environment that leads to problems falling asleep and restlessness. If you need to study, go to the library or another room. Admittedly, this is all more difficult if you live in a dorm, but there are lots of study places on campus.
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  3. 3
    Read ahead.
    If you are finding it hard to stay awake in a particular class and are aware of the content of the day's lesson go ahead and read it. Make a note of any questions you have, and ask for clarification once the teacher gets to them. This way, you'll have to pay attention and wait for the right moment to ask your questions. At least if you do fall asleep, you will already know the material.
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  4. 4
    Make yourself uncomfortable.
    Who can sleep if they aren't comfortable? If you are too cold don't put on a bulky warm jacket, instead choose a lighter jacket or sweater. This way if you do fall asleep you won't sleep long because you won't remain at a comfortable temperature.
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  5. 5
    Exercise.
    It's not only good for your body it's also good for your mind. Exercise will help give you an energy boost without the crash that comes after drinking coffee or eating sweets. It will also help increase your focus.
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  6. 6
    Make sure you protect your eyes.
    Eyestrain may lead to feeling sleepy and contribute to you zoning out. How are you going to pay attention or get any work done if your eyes are burning from looking at a computer screen for too long? Wear computer glasses to help minimize eyestrain, and if you wear glasses �" wear them.
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How to avoid sleepiness during the lectures?

I am an engineering student from Sri Lanka...frequently I sleep 6 hours per a day. During the lectures I completely doze through the first half of the lecture I am studying, but rest of the half I feel sleepy.

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Follow the steps provided in this VisiHow article so you can stay awake longer during class.

Feeling sleepy in morning sessions?

Though I like the subject, somewhere, while reading a tough concept I go to sleep. Can you tell me a way to control that even though I go out, walk and come back, I get into sleep mode in a couple of minutes. Thank You

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Chew something like gum or drink cold water to remain focused and awake. Make sure to exercise in the morning before your classes to help your body wake up. Also make sure that you are getting enough sleep the night before.

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Sleeping in an online training?

Training at 10 p.m. so how to control my sleep to be awake

Since the training is online you can try these suggestions, as it will not disrupt others:

  • Stand Up.
  • Lightly jog in place every 20 minutes.
  • Apply a cold cloth to the back of your neck.

How do I stay awake in class? I always find myself in a lecture hangover?

I feel like I get an adequate amount of sleep and I eat a sizable breakfast but I still fall asleep in class. I am quite active at the beginning of class, but in the middle somewhere, I always daze off and pick back up in the end. Water has not had good success and gum has not helped either.

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Your sizable breakfast may be the culprit to your sleepiness. Make sure that you are not consuming too many carbohydrates and consuming a sugary breakfast, which will give you a feeling of sleepiness within a few hours of consuming.

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See more questions like this: If you can't eat in class, are their any other ways to stay awake?

What should I do to prevent sleeping in class hours?

I sleep at night time very late because of homework, then I wake up very early in the morning because I have a class at 7 AM.

Unfortunately you are not getting enough sleep. Create a new study habit system and schedule your homework more efficiently to aim for 8 hours of sleep. Perhaps a mid-afternoon nap might help.

Why I am totally different from others?

Everyone studies a lot to get involved but in my case I just need to study only once. Yet I can't beat them in scoring marks, why? I don't like studying which is just restricted to books, I want to discover or invent or study in details about everything. Is there any particular reason for this. The main thing, I am studying medicine, I don't know what to become exactly but want to be a psychiatrist

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You learn kinetically, which means that you need to be a participant in the learning process rather than just an observer. Join a study group as it will help you have more interaction and you will study more effectively resulting in higher marks.

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Disadvantage of sleeping during lectures?

I am searching for above for my thesis. My friend and I cannot search for more info in internet

The disadvantages of sleeping in class are listed above but the biggest disadvantage is you are not retaining important information. Missing five minutes of a lecture can cost you on your next test.

I am getting distracted during lessons by any means?

I want to concentrate during lessons

Please refer to the steps in this VisiHow article to avoid getting distracted in class.

How to work hard and manage time?

I go to ground in the morning and I sleep in the class due to tiredness. How to avoid sleeping in class

Follow the tips listed in this article as well as prioritize your schedule to get more sleep each night.

I am a college student, I am sleeping in classrooms while teaching?

I am sleeping while lecturers and teaching classes. I have tried: I sleep at 11:30 pm. I think it was caused by: Less sleeping hours

If you are going to bed at 11:30 p.m. you should be sleeping until at least 7:30 a.m. or you are not getting enough sleep.

Who is John Cena? What does he do for a living?

I don't know who he is. My friends talk about him a lot.

John Cena is a professional wrestler in the WWE as well as an actor.

I have exams after two weeks finals, and I want to prepare through out the night?

I want to focus and study at night!. I have tried: Yes. I think it was caused by: Over sleeping

Studying late into the night can be not as effective. If you are tired, you will not retain most of the information. What you can do is prepare a two-week schedule of 8 hours of sleep combined with one hour periods of study time throughout the day and evening hours.

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If your schedule will not allow hours throughout the day, consider verbally recording your notes and listening to them as you walk to and from classes and other activities.

Referencing this Article

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Avoid Sleeping During Class. (2017). In VisiHow. Retrieved Mar 23, 2017, from http://visihow.com/Avoid_Sleeping_During_Class

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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  1. https://sleepfoundation.org/
  2. Rennels, M.R., & Chaudhari, R.B. (1988). Eye contact and grade distribution. Perceptual and Motor Skills.
  3. Giles, R. M. et al. (1982). Recall of lecture information: A question of what, when, and where. Medical Education, 16(5), 264-268
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