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13 Ways to Avoid Sleep While Studying

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Update: May 12, 2023
6 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
How To Stay Awake While Studying

It is no surprise that most of us feel sleepy while studying. But dozing off while studying can hamper our study routine or make us less focused. This can further prevent us from scoring well in our exams. 

If you’ve been facing the issue, it is essential to ensure you don’t feel sleepy while studying at night. So, in this article, we have shared how to stay awake at night while studying i.e., how to not fall asleep while studying.

Below are 13 ways to keep yourself from falling asleep while studying. 

Dive in to figure out how to avoid sleep while studying.

1. Power Naps

Daytime power naps keep you awake and prevent you from dozing off while you study. Power naps are the best way to make up for lost sleep and refresh in minutes if you find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep while studying for exams.

Make sure the power nap is only 15 to 30 minutes long; you’ll be able to concentrate after waking up – thanks to the brief energy boost.

2. Start A Healthy Diet

Even though it might be tempting to indulge in eating junk while studying, doing so won’t keep you awake. Junk food and sugary snacks can cause your blood sugar to spike, crash, and leave you feeling lethargic.

Ensure that every meal includes the following:

  • Protein: Whitefish, lentils, beans, white meat poultry, peanut butter, tofu, lean beef, eggs, Greek yoghurt, and tilapia are all good protein sources.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread are examples of complex carbohydrates.
  • Healthy fat: Avocado, salmon, eggs, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butter are examples of good fats.

3. Stay Well-Hydrated

Did you know that dehydration causes brain shrinkage? Therefore, staying hydrated throughout the day is critical, particularly during exams, when you lose track of time and fail to consume enough water.

Keep a water bottle on your study table and drink 2 litres (6 to 8 glasses) of water per day. Set the alarm on your phone, reminding you to drink water every half an hour or an hour, depending on the weather.

4. Do Not Sit For Long

Sitting in the same place for hours can make you feel sleepy. Avoid sitting for long periods to overcome sleepiness while studying. Instead, take short breaks every two to three hours. Walk around the house, go for a short walk outside, do some stretching exercises, or dance to your favourite music. You need to engage in any activity that requires you to move around or that allows you to take a break from sitting. And you’ll no longer have to worry about how to stay awake to study.

5. Avoid Studying In The Bedroom

Getting too comfortable is a major cause of falling asleep while studying. It is best to avoid studying in bed (or the bedroom altogether). If a different study room is unavailable, separate your study area and sleeping area. This will assist your brain in distinguishing between the two.

Sit on a desk and chair with your back straight to stay awake and focused while studying. You can also change your study location daily to improve your concentration and memory, but make sure none of them is too comfortable for you to fall asleep!

6. Study With Your Friends

There is a minimal chance of falling asleep in the middle of a study session if you are studying with your friends. Even though studying with a group of friends can be distracting, it can also help you prepare for your exams better if everyone in the study group is disciplined and focused. In addition, your friends can test you on your preparation or assist you in understanding concepts that are unclear to you.

7. Self-Talk

While it might seem crazy at first, you will realize that self-talking is an excellent way of keeping yourself awake. In fact, positive self-talk can also keep you motivated & focused, thereby making you study harder.

Ask yourself questions like:

“So, what shall I study now?”

“Now that I’ve finished this bit, I can study .”

Or make affirmations like:

“I am going to ace the test tomorrow!” 

“I’m so well prepared; I’m sure I’ll get 90-up!”

8. Take Care Of Your Eyes

We no longer study solely from books and notebooks. This is the digital age, and many students spend hours staring at their computer screens, whether it’s online lectures or reading notes.

As a result, taking care of your eyes and taking regular breaks from the screen is critical.

For eye care, remember the 20-20-20 rule. Look away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes at a point 20 feet away. Then, wash your eyes with cool water every hour, as it instantly refreshes the eyes and aids in avoiding sleep.

9. Avoid Studying Tough Subjects At Night

If you often think, “why do I get sleepy when I study?” the answer most likely is: You pick up tough subjects or topics.

Studying a difficult topic or attempting to solve complex problems at night wastes energy. Concentrate on subjects or topics that are light or interesting to you.

Leave the difficult topics for the mornings when the mind is clear after a good night’s sleep. A good rule of thumb is to tackle difficult topics first thing in the morning and end the day with something that is light and easy or what you enjoy the most.

10. Let There Be Light

When studying, try to create a space with lots of light that resemble a daytime setting. A single lamp or overhead light might not be sufficient to keep you awake if it is dark outside. So, turn on bright lights and set the right environment for study. Light is a cue that can help promote wakefulness, even though there is an indirect relationship between light and sleep.

11. Sit Upright

While studying, it may be tempting to relax, but doing so won’t keep you awake.

The parasympathetic nervous system, known for playing a part in processes like “rest and digest,” is known to become more active when lying down.

Sitting upright, on the other hand, is connected to sympathetic nervous system activity. The sympathetic nervous system regulates mental processes like alertness.

Additionally, you might want to try standing rather than sitting while studying. Occasionally standing up and moving around could improve your blood circulation. In turn, this might keep you from falling asleep.

12. Get Quality Sleep

Learning is impacted by mood, attention, motivation, and memory – all of which are significantly influenced by sleep. It comes as no surprise that insufficient sleep is linked to poor academic performance. Lack of sleep at night is the main factor in making people feel sleepy while studying.

To help the brain recognize that it is time to go to sleep, turn off all electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Moreover, ensure you sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night. Then, when you go to bed and wake up at the same time, you can create a sleep schedule that will ensure you get enough sleep each night.

13. Wash The Face Frequently

Washing your face whenever you feel sleepy is one of the most practical ways to stay awake while studying. This approach has been tried and tested the most. So wash your face with cool water if you ever feel your eyes are heavy or itching. While you’re at it, brush your teeth as well. You’ll feel awake, active, and refreshed after it.

Final Words

We hope this article helped you understand how to avoid sleepiness while studying. Use one or more ways to keep yourself awake and active while studying. 

Another thing to note is not to push yourself hard to stay awake and study regularly. It is equally (if not more) important to take care of your health and get adequate sleep.


How can I stop feeling sleepy while studying?

A few tips that can help you stay focussed and alert while studying are-

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking short frequent breaks
  • Staying hydrated
  • Snacking on healthy foods
  • Moving around every once in a while
  • Having the correct lighting
  • Listening to music if it helps you concentrate

Why do I feel sleepy when studying?

Lack of sleep, boredom, overworking, dehydration, and dim lighting can be a few reasons why you feel sleepy when studying. Other than these one can even have an underlying medical condition. So, if this is something that has been happening always, please consult a doctor. 

Is Sleeping for 5 hours bad?

Getting only 5 hours of sleep on a regular basis can have negative effects on your health and wellbeing. While some people may be able to function well on less sleep, most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night to feel well-rested and function optimally during the day.

Which food prevents sleep?

Certain foods can interfere with sleep and make it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. These include:

Caffeine, spicy foods, high fat or heavy meals, sugary foods or food high in protein.


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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