Are you a student? Remember those nights when you had to cram a lot of stuff for finals, but you kept dozing off? We all have been there and we know the hardest part is to stay awake. After a long tiring day and long hours of study, sleep becomes inevitable. Studying during those last hours of the night is no less than running a marathon.
We know the late-night study is no fun. So here are 15 healthy and lucrative tips for you to ditch sleep and stay awake during late study hours.
1. Study in a well-lit room
It is hard to sleep in bright lights. Bright lights trick your brain into thinking that it is still the day time. Most of the students make this mistake that they study under a single table lamp while half of the room remains dark. In dim lights, you’re supposedly more tempted to sleep. Avoid such a cosy and comfy environment.
2. Keep yourself moving
You are more likely to fall asleep when you stay in the same stagnant position for long hours. Get up when you feel like you are about to sleep. Do short exercises. Move around in your room and stretch your muscles. This will boost your blood circulation and help in keeping your body alert and awake.
If you’re extremely sleepy, keep standing for a few minutes as it is impossible to sleep while standing.
3. Sit up straight
Your study position matters a lot. In a study conducted recently, it was found that a sitting or lying position affects your performance on an exam and your working memory.
While you might think an ideal studying position is lying on a comfy couch or a bean bag, but this activates your parasympathetic system. And this will inversely affect your productivity, i.e. the greater the comfort, the lesser the productivity.
Try to seat yourself in an upright position on a chair as this will keep your body alert. Don’t sit on your bed as this will activate your lazy mode.
4. Hydration is necessary
Always keep a water bottle near you. Drinking an adequate amount of water increases your retention power and memory. Hydration increases your brain function while dehydration shrinks your brain.
Keep drinking water. Here is a trick: the more water you drink, the more bathroom trips you will take. So this will also keep you moving and help you stay awake.
5. Keep chomping on
Keep your mouth busy. Chewing gums are useful in this regard. So the moment you feel sleepy, grab a piece of your favourite gum and chew.
6. Rotate your study topics
When you start feeling sleepy switch your topics, don’t try to power through boring topics as this will diminish your interest. If a subject or topic gets boring, move on to something new and come back to it later.
You are more tired and sluggish at night so avoid studying difficult topics. Try to cover easy, short, and interesting topics at night.
7. Study actively
Keep yourself awake by using active study techniques. Reading and re-reading alone are not enough. Here are a few techniques:
- Learn by writing
- Create your examples
- Do practice questions
- Talk/sing to yourself
8. Readout loud
Reading aloud will minimize your chances of falling asleep. Like a teacher, explain to yourself the topic you just read. This will not only help you stay awake but will also help you memorize it better.
A research conducted in Canada reports that this “dual action” of learning and speaking helps the brain to store information as long-term memory.
9. Use caffeine, but wisely
It’s a very common practice. Students all around the globe use caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, etc. to keep themselves awake.
Some studies suggest that the intake of caffeine is good, while others say it is bad. It was found that the safe upper limit of caffeine intake is 400 mg, i.e. four cups of coffee. So try to abstain from it first. But if you need it, use it wisely.
Balance your coffee intake or substitute it with other drinks such as tea. Don’t chug it all at once as it has a dark side. Symptoms such as headache, nausea, or stomach ache may appear later. So try to caffeinate yourself in small doses throughout the night.
10. Avoid large meals
Try avoiding heavy meals. When your stomach is full, you become lethargic as your blood is directed towards your digestive tract. This makes you lazy and decreases your retention power.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to starve. Take early meals and go for small healthier ones as eating too less also makes you sluggish.
11. Listen to Music
During those quiet hours of the night, music can be a good option to keep you alert. Intense instrumental music is recommended. Find a chill jam or a fast beat or any song that isn’t one of your favorites. Listen to one same genre so that the change of songs does not distract you much.
Remember we have to avoid being too ambient, so don’t listen to catchier songs that will have you wanting to sing along. Also, avoid those slow songs which can lull you to sleep.
12. Study in a cold environment
The cold environment keeps one alert, and working while being warm makes one sleepy. So study in a colder room or always have a fan near you, if possible.
You can also study outdoors but not in a freezing environment as it can have the opposite effect.
13. Do not study in your bedroom
Keep your studying and sleeping places separate. Study in some other area of your home which you do not associate with sleeping.
According to The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard, if you study or work from your bedroom, it will become more difficult to sleep as your brain will think that you are in a place of work.
14. Keep your blood sugar levels high
Low blood sugars make you lethargic and sleepy. To combat this issue, aim for small but frequent meals.
For effective all-nighter, eat proteins, and not carbs. Carbohydrates store energy for later and can even make you more sleepy, i.e. sugars are sleep-inducers.
15. Know your limits
We all are different. Everyone has their limits. If your friend gets an A+ after a one-night study, this doesn’t mean you can too. Some people study effectively after 1 a.m. while others can’t even function after midnight.
What’s important here is that you should know your limits. Realise what group you fall into. If you are not a night owl, try to get things done before nightfall. Don’t punish yourself by keeping up with people who pull all-nighters easily.
Snag some Z’s when you think you can’t study anymore and get a head start on things the next day.
Before you leave!
By studying the right way, even late nights can be one of the best uses of your time. The above-stated tips will surely help you to achieve your academic goals and desired grades. You can do it!
A Psychology student from Jinnah University. She brings her knowledge of Human Psychology and Mental Health issues to help people cope-up with their psychological problems. She addresses important topics on mental health, child upbringing, and a healthy lifestyle with her articles.