How to Study When Tired and Stay Awake

Do you ever get incredibly tired when you start a study session? Notice that your energy levels drop and find it hard to stay awake when you open your books to begin your revision?

Well, you are not alone as many people will feel tired and lethargic when they begin to study.

This can be especially true when you have just had a full day of classes and you are in need of some quiet time and shut-eye.

However, if you are approaching your exams or prepping for your mocks, then you may not have the time to fall asleep and grab a nap, now is the time to get yourself studying.

Today, we will discuss the best ways to stay awake so you can get into a good study session and improve your academic performance.

Keep Moving to Help Your Energy Levels

Doing any form of exercise can be a great energy booster. It can help you if you need to stay awake when you are feeling tired.

Puts Your Brain Into Action

Getting fresh air and natural light can help with your brain function, plus it can relieve stress and increased anxiety which can come on around exam time.

Every 30 minutes to an hour plan to do some exercise, whether that is going for a walk, stretching, or jumping jacks, it will help you stay alert and it can improve your sleep quality as well.

Study In a Brightly Lit Room

Artificial light can also be beneficial to help you stay focused and make you have productive hours in your study sessions.

No Matter The Light – Keep it Bright

As long as you have some form of bright light in your room, whether it is natural light or artificial, it will keep you awake and alert.

So, if you are studying and you start to feel sleepy, then open up your curtains or put on your main light to wake your brain up and improve your cognitive performance.

Sit Upright and Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When you study, you probably want to feel as comfortable as possible to help you get ready for studying, even though you feel like you want to get comfortable, this can do more harm than good.

Depending on how much sleep you got the night before, that comfort could turn into you feeling sleepy and make you want to go to bed and take a nap.

Think About What You Are Wearing

Don’t wear clothes that are too comfy, e.g. pajamas, this will certainly cause you to fall asleep if you have everything else going on at the same time, such as a warm room or it’s night time, and before you know it you’re energy level has plummeted and you’re falling asleep.

What Do Sleep Studies Say?

Back in 2014, a study was done on working memory to see if sitting up or lying down affected it during a test.

It showed that people who were lying down when taking the test felt like their performance was affected negatively, whereas those who were sitting up did not feel affected.

Get Enough Sleep

It may seem like an obvious answer to stop you from falling asleep you need to get enough sleep and make sure that the sleep quality is good.

But many people (like college students), think that they can run off of limited amounts of sleep which is not helping them in the long run and could cause them to forget what they are studying and not retain information.

Get Your Hours of Sleep in

Ensure that you get the right hours of sleep a night and try and adjust your schedule so you can do so.

You may be a night owl who thrives more at night time, but that can mess your schedule up during the day when you need your brain power.

Avoid Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine is great as a pick-me-up, but too much of it can be detrimental to your health and your body.

You may feel awake but are you really functioning?

Energy Drinks Can be a Problem

It is okay to use it at some point to help you wake up in the morning, but in the case of energy drinks, it is best to avoid energy drinks when you are studying as it has been noted that they can cause dependence and dehydration.

Even mild dehydration can be a problem as it will make it harder for you to focus on tasks and make you feel lethargic, plus you could get insomnia and heart palpitations.

All in all, they are not the best thing for you when you want to study effectively.

Create a Study Group With Like-Minded People

Studying with people who like to study similarly to the way you do and care about their work can help you stay motivated and alert about what you are doing.

Bring along a good notebook and some highlighters and pens and start making notes that will help you retain the information you are learning.

Keeping it all together in one notebook will help you when you need to find out some information.

Be Careful About Who You Study With

If you pick the wrong people, then your study sessions can descend into a lot of chatting with the hours passing and no studying being done.

This is why it is important to bring similar people on board and work with them toward a common goal.

It will help all of you out so that when you are about to take the exam, you know that you did all you could do to make sure you got enough studying in.

Keep Drinking Water

Water is your friend when it comes to studying.

Water is what your body is craving when you are feeling tired, so you need to keep yourself hydrated, as dehydration (refer back to energy drinks), can be incredibly bad when you are trying to study, and for your health in general, which we have already discussed.

So, if you are looking for a pick-me-up and it is later in the day, reach for a bottle or cup of water first, and make sure that you keep one on you at all times.

Other Ways to Use Water

You don’t just have to drink water to wake yourself up, you can also brush your teeth, splash your face with cold water, or take a shower to get you ready for studying.

Sometimes all you need is a shock to the system or just a change of scenery in between studying to keep you going.

Don’t Pull an All Nighter

You may think that going all night would be a great idea when you need to study, but in reality, that can throw you off for days afterward as you try and get your sleep schedule back to the way it was, and you may not even find an all-nighter to be beneficial in the end as you are too tired to remember what you were supposed to learn.

It is not worth it at all.

It is an Unhealthy Way to Study

Any form of sleep deprivation is not going to be healthy for your body, it will be like you have been drinking alcohol with none of the fun effects you can get with it.

You are studying towards a goal – to learn.

It won’t help you out and you will be mad at yourself the next day, and possibly a few days after that.

Just stick to what you already are doing and do not deviate.

Be Nice to Yourself

It should go without saying, but you have got to not be so tough on yourself when you are trying to study.

Yes, you need to learn and get in as much information as possible to help with your exams and tests, but if you punish yourself and force yourself to stay awake when all your body really needs is a good night’s sleep to feel right again, don’t push that aside.

If you really are too tired to study, then don’t.

You Will Find The Time to Study

Maybe it is not the right time for you to study and you just need to relax for a little bit before you can go at it again, you will be able to make the time for it if you give yourself that time.

This will be a better thing to go for, and it will stop you from going overboard.

We can’t force ourselves to do something that we physically cannot do.

Be kind and don’t force anything.


After reading this article, hopefully, you know how to study when tired and what to do to wake yourself up when it is needed.

Always remember to be kind to yourself and don’t get into a blind panic about what you need to do. You will find the time to study what you need as long as you make a plan and stick to it.

It’s a tense time, but this will pass, and before you know it you will be in and out of that exam hall in no time.

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