Studying often makes one feel sleepy and tired, especially at night. But fret not, there are ways to increase your concentration when studying. All you need to do is make small changes in your daily routine so you can battle drowsiness and study for long hours. Let’s explore answers to the question of how to prevent sleep while studying.
Why Do I Feel Sleepy All the Time?
All students want to put their best foot forward and deliver excellence in their examinations. But while studying, most of them get trapped in sleep. It jeopardises their studies and costs precious time during exam preparation. If you're wondering why do I feel sleepy all the time, you should consider the various possible reasons, as described below:
1. Not Getting Quality Sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is mandatory for good health. Insufficient sleep leads to fatigue. As per studies, during sleep, the body repairs and regenerates cells. This makes one feel energised and refreshed on waking up. Even though the required sleep time varies according to the individual, getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is best. It also keeps stress at bay and helps you focus on your studies.
2. Nutrient Deficiencies
Not taking a balanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies during exam time. It will make you feel exhausted all day. As per studies, the following deficiencies are linked to why you feel sleepy all the time:
- Vitamin B (B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Many students suffer from a lot of stress during exam times. As per studies, stress can lead to exhaustion and mental fatigue.
4. Medical Conditions
Some students feel sleepy because of certain medical conditions, such as
5. Too Much Caffeine
Caffeinated drinks give you a temporary spike in energy level. But too much caffeine can cause sleeplessness. As per studies, it can increase nighttime sleeplessness, decrease total sleep time and increase daytime sleepiness.
As per studies, dehydration is related to low energy levels and decreased ability to focus. It disturbs the sleep cycle and can make you sleepy all day.
7. Sedentary Lifestyle
Many students do not do any physical activity during or before exam time. Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve symptoms of fatigue.
How to Avoid Sleep While Studying?
While studying, look for ways to maximise focus and manage time to get good grades in the exams. Here are 12 effective ways how to avoid sleep while studying:
1. Sit Straight
Leaning up against pillows or on the couch can make you drowsy. Avoid getting too cosy when you study. Laying down gives the brain a signal to rest in contrast to sitting straight, which alerts the brain. The position in which you study matters a lot. Always sit straight when you study for long hours at night.
2. Do Not Study in the Bedroom
It is best to avoid places you sleep in to study. Also, it is advised to keep luxuries such as leg cushions and pillows at bay when studying as they can make you drowsy. Make a study space in the room, study at a desk, and sit straight on a chair. Also, most students tend to study under a table lamp. It creates a cosy environment and tempts you to sleep in dim surroundings. It is best to study in a bright room.
As per a study, bright light at night helps you stay awake longer and increase productivity. Depending on your choice, you can also choose to study in places like the library, a well-lit area, or a cafe.
3. Move Around a Little
As per a study, a 10-minute walk can improve memory and concentration. It also relieves exam stress. Walking pumps oxygen to the brain and muscles. It quickly boosts blood circulation in the body and energises you. Whether you move outside or in the house, it will alert and refresh you. So, take short breaks—either dance, walk, or stretch—do whatever suits you.
4. Keep Hydrated
As per a study, dehydration can lead to fatigue. It will drain your energy and make cognitive functions like studying difficult. Also, it affects short-term memory, alertness, concentration, and perception. It is best to keep yourself hydrated when studying, especially in summer. Though the amount of water one should have varied, 3-4 litres is a must for every student.
5. Eat Healthily
Your energy level depends upon what you eat and how you eat. Though you may feel tempted to have junk food, unhealthy snacks, and sugary beverages, they may spike sugar levels. They can also make you sluggish. Also, sugary snacks result in lethargy and mental fog. Instead, you can opt for peanut butter, carrots with low-fat dips, and yoghurt with nuts and fruits.
Aim to have a balanced diet and small meals frequently. Each meal should have protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Do not forget to include fruits, nuts, and probiotics. Also, if you overeat, you can doze off, so avoid doing that.
6. Active Study Methods
To get good grades in school and college, you need to read and reread textbooks enough to absorb all the information. Repetition can be boring at times; you can try active study techniques to get the most out of textbooks without feeling sleepy. Some methods you can try are described below:
- Read loudly
- Teach your friends or classmates. Group studies motivate and stimulate new interpretations of textbook materials. It also helps to solidify concepts and avoid falling asleep. You can also relax and enjoy studying with friends.
- Make visual notes like diagrams or charts.
- Solve as many practice exercises as you can.
7. Nap and Get Quality Sleep
As per a study, frequent napping or proper sleep keeps you attentive improves your mood, short-term and long-term memory. All of these improve learning. Also, it reduces the chances of sleeping during studies. It is no surprise that those with irregular sleeping patterns and poor sleep have decreased academic performance.
Make a sleep schedule as per the famous saying ‘Early to bed and early to rise’. You will wake up fresh and energetic. With a refreshed mind, you can study better. So, stick to a good sleep schedule and take short naps between studies to avoid drowsiness. One should not take a nap during bedtime and not more than once a day.
8. Write and Learn
Reading and rereading everything can get monotonous—you are more likely to get bored and invite sleepiness. So, it is advised that you learn by writing. It will keep your brain active, and also, you can prepare notes that are going to help you for last-minute revisions.
9. Strategise your Study Plan
You are more likely to feel drowsy during night studies. Go for easy and enjoyable topics at night. Avoid difficult topics and complex problems at night. Also, rotate study topics. When you have difficulty keeping awake, switch to another subject or topic.
10. Switch Tasks
Take a break and switch tasks when you start feeling sleepy during your studies. Do not study for long hours. You can also take a 15 to 20-minute break after every 2 to 3 hours. Engage yourself in tasks that make you active and alert, like listening to music, watching TV, or drawing something.
11. Exercise Daily
Regular exercise for 15-20 minutes daily can improve sleep quality. It also improves concentration and memory. You can also do meditation for 15-20 minutes daily. Deep breathing exercises boost oxygen levels, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. All of it aids in improving mental performance. You can also do deep breathing exercises in between studies.
This is how to avoid sleep during study through a breathing exercise:
- Inhale deeply through your nose, and do not move your chest.
- Hold it for 10 to 20 seconds, and then exhale.
- You can also inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, doing about three cycles in a second. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes between studies every 2-3 hours.
12. Refresh Yourself
Wash your face with cold water whenever your eyes feel heavy and itchy due to continuous staring at books. It will make you feel relaxed, refreshed and awake.
If you are studying and reading from a computer screen, then look away from the screen after every 20-30 minutes to avoid fatigue. You can also take a shower or brush your teeth to refresh.
You can also pop chewing gum in between. This will constantly keep your mouth in motion and help you avoid sleepiness. Also, most students take coffee and energy drinks to boost their energy. As per studies, caffeinated drinks can provide short-term energy, but one should not take more than 600 mg of coffee a day.
You can also look for some acupressure points to remove fatigue. Go for pressure points at the top of the head, back of your hands, top of the back of the neck, and bottom of the feet. It will relax you and make you alert.
How to Concentrate on Studies for Long Hours?
You must have got an idea about how to concentrate on studies for long hours. Here are some specific techniques on how to stay focussed for a long time:
- Set a timer for every task, and reward yourself for completing lengthy subjects.
- Make realistic goals and push yourself.
- Make a study timetable.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid heavy meals that make you sluggish.
- Avoid distractions like gadgets, phones, messages and social media. They will not only eat into your time, but the blue light exposure can make you sleepy too.
- Meditate and exercise for 15-20 minutes.
- Switch tasks in between as reading for long hours can be tedious. Regular break for 10-15 minutes will refresh you, increase confidence and release exam stress.
- Find exciting ways to study, like flashcards, colourful notes, and memory hacks.
- Use audio-visual aids to learn concepts and complex topics.
- Keep yourself motivated.
Summing Up on How to Avoid Sleep While Studying
Staying concentrated and alert when studying can be challenging for students, which is why you feel sleepy all the time. So, how to concentrate on studies for long hours? Stay hydrated adopt healthy sleep and eating habits. Also, exercise daily to avoid stress and use active learning methods.
If you want to excel in your studies, follow these tricks that will help prevent sleep while studying and help you achieve the desired academic goals.
- Todd S. Horowitz, Brian E. Cade, August 2001; Efficacy of bright light and sleep/darkness scheduling in alleviating circadian maladaptation to night work - https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.2001.281.2.E384
- Raed Mualem, April 2018; The Effect of Movement on Cognitive Performance - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5919946/
- Anne-Laure Tardy, January 2020; Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7019700/