How to Avoid Sleep While Studying

A girl feeling sleepy while studying

Have you experienced that feeling of opening a book and falling asleep almost immediately? This happens particularly to students who are studying for an upcoming examination. It gets very irritating at the time and those who are trying to pass the exam constantly try for ways to overcome the lethargy.

Really is there any way to avoid sleep while studying? Well, there is. But before getting into it, we should know a few things about sleep and its importance in a person’s well being.

Significance of Sleep

Sleep is a very important factor for all animals. It is very difficult to survive without sleep for long. A good sleep pattern is necessary for physical and mental faculties to work in their optimum capacity. It is really as essential for survival as food and water. Sleep plays a housekeeping job by washing out all the toxin accumulated in the brain. It improves neural communication and thus rejuvenates their activities.

Sleep also plays an important role in your health. While more sleep will not improve the immunity, less sleep is sure to make a dent in the armor. Those who are deprived of sleep are found to be sick more often and are susceptible to flu and other epidemics. It also increases the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, variation in blood pressure and metabolic activities.

Scientists believe that it is our sleep which cements our memories and forms new neural pathways in the brain. So sleep time is as important as study time as what you have learned is revised and etched in your memory during these hours. Skipping sleep to put in more hours of sleep can hence have a detrimental effect on your exams.

A girl with pen in hand studying on table

How to Avoid Sleep While Studying?

Nevertheless, there will be situations where you have to compromise on sleep. In such occasions, there are certain tips that can get you through the situation. They are listed below.

Develop Interest in the Topic​

This is the first and foremost thing to do to keep the sleep at bay.  Even after a good night’s sleep, if you feel sleepy when you start studying it is your mind playing tricks on you. Our mind tries to avoid boring things. If you are interested in something, it is easy to concentrate on it. There are many ways to create interest like listening to experts, watching videos on the topic and having a strong will to excel in the exams and so on. If you can keep your mind engaged, you will not feel sleepy.

Take Some Deep Breaths​

Our brain needs oxygen to function. When you are trying to learn, your brain works more and needs more oxygen to perform well. This is why you yawn when you try to concentrate on something. It lets in more oxygen to your lungs and thus more oxygen to your brain.

If the brain is deprived of oxygen, it becomes fatigued easily and you feel sleepy. So remember to take deep breaths at regular intervals to avoid drowsiness.

Light and Air ​

The room that you choose to study should have sufficient lighting and airflow. If the room is dimly lit, the light receptors in the brain send the signal and the brain thinks it is time to sleep. In the same way, if the room does not have enough oxygen, the brain will feel lethargic. So your room should facilitate natural lighting and airflow to make your brain perform at its optimum level.

Drink Lots of Water​

It is difficult to concentrate when you are dehydrated. Make sure to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day. It would also help if you have a bottle of water at your hand’s reach. This will help you to remain alert while studying. Also, a full bladder would require you to take a hike to the bathroom thus making you move more. This also helps to avoid sleep.

Don't Get Too Comfortable​

Some students use reclining chairs or even their bed to sit or lay down while studying. This invites sleep. The body posture is very important to keep sleep at bay. It is best to adopt a sitting position where you keep your spine erect. This also helps to breathe better thus providing enough oxygen to the brain.

Go for a Walk

When you study for hours in the same position, lactic acid gets stagnant in the cell due to the lack of movement. Lactic acid has the property of absorbing oxygen in the blood, thus depriving the brain of it. This will make you drowsy. The best solution for this is to go for a walk for 5 minutes every hour. This gives you enough movement which helps the blood circulation and fresh air which improves oxygen content in the blood.

Avoid Heavy Meals Before Studying​

When you consume heavy food, your body takes time to break down the food to energy. It requires concentration of blood circulation to the stomach. This affects the performance of the brain and you feel sleepy. Hence it is difficult to concentrate on your book while digesting. It is better to take heavy meals when you are going to take a rest and to have light ones before studying.

Read Out Loud

Many students are used to studying by reading silently. But this can sometimes become monotonous and can make you feel drowsy. If you feel sleepy it is a good strategy to try to read the text out loud. This can help you to avoid sleep while studying. But take care not to overdo it as reading everything out loud makes the learning process slow and can make you tired easily.

Take Notes

Taking notes of whatever you have understood is a very good way to recollect what you have studied. It also drives the sleep away as writing activates different parts of the brain. So start taking notes the moment you start feeling drowsy.

Do Light Exercise Everyday

Long study holidays can make you obese and affect your health. Do light exercise for at least 20 minutes every day. This will help to burn the carbohydrates and helps blood circulation. Sweating at least once every day can improve the energy level and will indeed help to focus more.

Try to Study Easy Topics at Night

You cannot concentrate much during the night. So it is better to study easy topics which do not demand much of your attention at night. You can keep the tougher ones to morning time when you have a sharper focus.

Get a Siesta

If possible, take a nap in the afternoon. It has been proven that a short nap after lunch can refresh you and make the learning process faster. However, sleeping for long is not good. It is better to limit your siesta to 40 minutes.


If nothing works and you are genuinely tired, it is better to sleep. Taxing your body without giving it enough sleep can adversely affect your health and learning capability. So make sure you get enough sleep.

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