Natural Ways to Stay Awake in Class

We often have at least one class throughout our college career that was not our first choice, has a time that is too early or too late, or a professor who has a talent for teaching you to sleep. I actually had a night class that had a section in the syllabus about sleeping in class. It said that if you fall asleep then you will have to take a 15 minute walk outside or around the hallways. If you fall asleep again during that same class, then you’d be dismissed and receive an absence for that class. This situation happens a lot due to loaded schedules and sleep deprived students. Here’s a list of 9 tips and tricks on how to stay awake in class to save your grade and respect your professor.

  1. COFFEE. Whether you drink caffeine or not, nursing a hot beverage keeps your hands warm and keeps your digestive system from thinking that it’s time for sleep. I personally drink decaf coffee and tea, but the temperature trick still works the same.

  2. KOMBUCHA. This was a surprisingly strong tool for staying awake and it comes in caffeine free choices. The carbonation isn’t as damaging to your stomach as soda, and the herbal ingredients are natural aids to keep your body functioning and alert.

  3. MINT GUM. They say that chewing mint gum while studying or taking a test will help you remember the information. I don’t have proof of that, but I will say that chewing minty things opens up your sinuses and perks up your eyes naturally.

  4. MENTHOL LIP BALM. In the same vein as mint gum, minty chapsticks offer the same awakening aromatherapy. Lip balms that contain menthol, like Burt’s Bees, heighten your senses in a way that is natural. You could dab a little chapstick on the outside of your eyes (not in your eyes!) to wake them up. Just be careful if you try this because actor’s use this, called the Menthol Method, to get tears fast.

  5. POSTURE. We easily fall into slouching posture, which can restrict your breathing and give you muscle pain. To help facilitate blood flow to the brain, try to check your posture every now and then. Stretching also helps revive the muscles.

  6. SNACK. Munching on food- yes! This just keeps your digestive system operating and reminds it that it is not time for sleep yet.

  7. PARTICIPATE. Easy enough, right? Raising your hand gets your body moving and using/raising your your voice will perk up your ears. Plus, the professor will know that you are paying attention.

  8. DOODLE. This has saved me many a times during an 8 a.m. class. I’ll try to make the doodles in theme to whatever is being discussed and they help me identify sections of my notes better. Color studies have shown that using a blue inked pen will help your brain remember material better, too!

  9. LEG EXERCISES. Yes, this is possible. Yes, this can be discreet. Little things like flexing your calves or lifting your thighs an inch off of the chair can be done in reps. It may seem like useless movement, but the repetition can give your muscles a nice burn. Exercise and class attendance can be multitasked!

At the end (or start) of the day, staying awake in class is your responsibility, even though we all have times when we just need a long nap. Just do your best and your professor should be able to recognize that. Good luck!