How to stay awake in class

Jackson and his tea
Jackson and his caffeine of choice

Hello, all, this is Jackson, the student-intern in the marketing office. I know Halloween was just a week ago, and you probably have mountains of candy laying around. But even the most delicious and sugar packed sweets probably won’t keep you awake.

Does this sound familiar?

“Students, if you turn to page 231 in the textbook, you will find that major clinical depressions, the neurotransmitters serotonin and/or norepinephrine have been found …”


Unfortunately, I relate to this scenario all too well. Even the slightest mention of my 3 p.m. communication research methods class nearly puts me to sleep. I would love to shake the hand of anyone who can successfully stay conscious through 1 hour and 15 minutes of hearing about experimental design control.

So why do we tend to fall asleep in class?

It could be the carbohydrates, health division dean Tova Wiegand-Green said. Ironically, these pesky energy-providing nutrients will cause a sugar dump in our bloodstream and make us sleepy. So stay away from candy bars. Instead, you need protein to keep things steady and give you calories that can spread out over several hours. Breakfast protein is the best because it boosts your metabolism in the morning and keeps it going throughout the day. If you skip breakfast, your metabolism may be sluggish all day, making you sleepy by late morning or mid-day.

So what is the problem with getting a little shut-eye during class?

First of all, students are missing out on important information or experiences in class that can’t be made up by reading a textbook or extra studying, Wiegand-Green said.

Second, a brain that is deprived of sleep can’t set down new memories and learn new materials as effectively.

My advice: Get up earlier than you have to, to give your body some time to get going. Then grab a delicious cup of Earl Grey tea or coffee.

I asked some students: How do you stay awake in class?

allyson and tamisha

“I put a head phone in one ear to help myself stay awake.” ~ Allyson Bestarb, radiology major (left)

“I eat a good breakfast every morning and avoid signing up for early classes at all costs.” ~ Tamisha Ross, business administration major (right)

Ken Severson
“The more I fight sleep, the quicker I nod off—maybe try not to fight it so much.” ~ Ken Severson, welding major
Andrew Moore
“I stretch and move around a lot because the less comfortable I make myself, the easier I stay awake.” ~ Andrew Moore, business administration major
“I advise sitting near the front of the class and making eye contact. If you still start to get drowsy, take a break and splash water on your face, grab some caffeine, and take a brisk walk around the hallway. When all else fails, doodle.” ~ Tova Wiegand-Green, health division dean

One thought on “How to stay awake in class

  1. The best way to stay awake in class is to schedule enough time to sleep! As a student, I know that this can be a tricky task.

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