For most people, studying isn't fun. Have you ever dozed off while doing something fun like swimming? Yes, it is possible to feel sleepy while watching a movie which naturally should be fun. But watching a movie is a passive activity. Studying on the other hand should be ACTIVE! Since you are reading this article I can assume you've had a major battle with sleep in the past. Or maybe, you are currently battling with it because it is preventing you from studying, especially at night. And passing that exam may determine your future.
Good news is I have compiled some (tested) tips that will help you overcome sleep while studying making you active while studying (at night) and also helping you enjoy studying a bit more for that upcoming exam and none involves CAFFEINE use.
1. To begin with, avoid being too comfortable when studying. Don't leaning against pillows on your bed or curling up against a couch. Instead, sit at your desk with your back straight. Make sure you have strong lighting as well.
2. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Drinking water throughout the day is actually a pick-me-up. It regulates the body’s temperature and it revs up the metabolism. Make sure to keep hydrated, because dehydration can make you tired. At night, as you study, keep water on hand and drink regularly. In fact, drinking water is better than drinking caffeinated drinks when you study. Sure, the caffeine will wake you up and give you a buzz right away, but that buzz will wear off quickly, and actually make you more tired than you were before.
3. Eat healthy!!!! Yes, it is imperative that you get the right nutrients in your system if you want to function optimally. Breakfast is essential. While you may not think that eating breakfast will have any effect on the way you feel come nighttime, it actually does. Getting those extra, essential, nutrients into the body first thing helps your body function correctly all day long. Then, when you ask it to go the extra mile at night, your body is ready to help you out. It has been fueled properly and will be able to think clearer, longer. Eat a healthy snack while you are studying. Eat an apple or granola bar to help stabilize your blood sugar so you can stay alert. Avoid eating sugary junk foods since these can boost your energy but make you very sleepy after a while.
4. Think about what you are reading: be an active reader. Reading is an activity and many people forget that. Even if you are sitting quietly with a book in your hands, your brain should be doing mental gymnastics. Relate what you read to events that have occurred in real life. Paint scenarios in your head. Fantasize! These will help build a bond between you and the topic you are reading. It will also help you remember what you have read for a much longer time.
5. Do more exercise: This is excellent fuel for the body. It helps regulate the metabolism and exercise even helps the brain, so you think better! Getting exercise at least five days a week is key, and on days you know you need to study, make sure to squeeze exercise in. Better yet, as you study late into the night, and feel that tiredness coming on, get up and do a few jumping jacks, run in place, or even do some crunches. Download an exercise app from your favorite app store to help with the reminder and timing if need be.
6. Get some sleep: yeah yeah... I know. I am prescribing sleep to manage sleepiness. This is not the same as prescribing loud music to cure headache though. Getting enough sleep the nights before your study session can really help. While the body does not necessarily ‘bank’ sleep, having gotten the right amount on prior nights can really go a long way towards fighting fatigue on your late nights. And if you are lucky enough to find sleep in the evening, better. An hour of good sleep in the evening could give you extra 4 hours of studying.
7. Right timing is essential: Figure out what time you are the most awake and read then. For some people, that's right after they wake up in the morning. Others are most awake in the evenings. If you are sleepy every afternoon after lunch, don't try to read then or you will be likely to fall asleep. Instead, grab a nap then and pick up your books when you are awake.
8. Listen to music: Listening to music can also have a positive effect on your mood, and can wake you up. It does not have to be loud rock music, either. Simple put on tunes that you enjoy, and watch those brain waves perk right up! You don't have to listen to music the entire time that you read (especially if it slows you down).
9. Take breaks: Take a 10 to 20-minute break for every hour of study time. This will help your brain rest. Watch television, surf the Internet, reply messages or play video games during your break. Set the alarm on your alarm clock or mobile phone to help you remember when to take your break and when the break ends. Be careful not to play games that are addictive or to watch television shows such as series with lots of emotion and suspense. Sitcoms are a better alternative. Avoid procrastination.
10. Take a cool Shower: If you are studying at home, by yourself, take a moment to hop in the shower! Nothing invigorates us like a nice shower, and if you can take it, try using cool water! That will really be an eye opener. You will find, once you are back at the books, that your mind is open again and you are wide awake.
11. Try reading aloud: It may sound silly, but reading aloud triggers a different section of your brain. If you are an audible learner, this may even help you learn better. Read the book aloud to yourself in a mirror, and it will most likely be impossible for you to fall asleep.
Bonus tip: Stop reading immediately and wake yourself up if you feel yourself drifting off while reading. Do tips 2, 3, 5, 8,and 10. Doing these things will tell your brain that reading shouldn't make it sleepy, it should energize it. Eventually, your brain will learn its new cues and stop triggering the getting-ready-to-sleep mechanism each time a book is in your hands.
Are there any points I left out? Kindly share with other readers by dropping a comment below.
By Abdulquadri Akinsanya