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Staying Awake in Class: 7 Strategies for Alertness and Focus

Do you frequently feel sleepy in class? Don’t feel ashamed because nodding off in class is pretty common for learners of any age.

Dozing off in class is usually caused by lack of sleep the previous night (or the previous subsequent nights), whether it is to cram up studying, or to enjoy more recreational activities like playing games and watching shows.

Student falling asleep in class

If it has been one of your major concerns, continue to read on as we will cover some tips for you to feel more alert and awake throughout your day.

1. Take a Cold Shower

It is a good idea to take a cold shower if you usually find it hard to get going in the morning. If you find this hard to do, you should try to alternate between warm and cold water, and then ending the cycle with cold water. Taking a cold shower improves your blood circulation which will help you feel more alert. Try it yourself and you will notice how quickly you will feel more awake.

2. Stay Hydrated

Another simple yet effective thing to do is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Enough fluids will get your blood pumping and supply the oxygen your body needs to function properly. Dehydration may lead to fatigue and this would also affect your ability to focus.

Start your day by drinking a full glass of water to help you get going, and keep your water bottle close by throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and focused.

3. Eat Light Meals

Avoid having heavy meals and opt for a healthy, balanced meal before your class. Most of you would be familiar with the term “food coma”. Food coma or postprandial somnolence is the feeling of drowsiness due to certain hormones your body releases after having a meal.

To avoid food coma especially on days where you are already struggling to stay awake, avoid having large meals, or meals that are high in fat and calorie. Instead, opt for more healthy and balanced options, such as wholegrain, veggies and fruits.

4. Move Around

Before your class, or during breaks in between your class, do move around to increase the blood flow of your brain to help you stay awake. Walking around for 5-10 minutes, or some simple stretching movement is usually enough for you to increase your level of alertness.

5. A Little Bit of Caffeine

Caffeine works wonders. On days where you need a little more boost of energy due to sleep deprivation, a little bit of caffeine will definitely help you be more alert. Do be cautious to not consume too much caffeine as you may experience a caffeine crash after the stimulating effect wears off.

Other than coffee, you should consider having green tea as well. Green tea contains 1/3 the amount of caffeine as coffee does but could give you the energy boost you need throughout the day.

6. Get Engaged in Class

Put in conscious effort to stay focused in the class. Take notes and engage in discussions wherever possible. By having your mind engaged, you would be able to stay awake and feel more alert. Additionally, doing so will save you time when you are revising for your exams!

7. Have Consistent Good-Quality Sleep

Students tend to overlook the need for enough sleep to have more time to do recreational activities in the evening. As a result, this will cause them to doze off the next day when they are at school.

It is generally recommended for teens to have 8 to 10 hours of sleep daily to function properly. Additionally, getting enough sleep is not only about the total hours of sleep. It is important to get a good-quality sleep to feel refreshed when you wake up.

To achieve good-quality sleep, having a routine is crucial. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. This will help your body to know when it is time to sleep and when it is time to be awake.


Feeling sleepy during lessons is a common occurrence among students. But the tips above would definitely help you stay awake and thus maximize your learning.

If you need more tips to further maximize your learning, go to MindWorks Blog to find out more!

If you find yourself constantly falling behind your peers, do consider getting a private tutor to catch up and improve.

All the best and happy learning!

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