Everyone can relate to that feeling when you are tired, you want to rest, your brain is not sharp anymore but nevertheless, you have to continue your revision goals. At some point, you start to feel that you are losing in this battle and that your whole operational system, called your body, is about to shut down. So what should you do in order to push yourself further? Rather than taking caffeine tablets and energy drinks which have become very popular recently, we prepared some advice for you which does not harm your health but which will let you keep your eyes open and your brain functioning. We want you to succeed with your studies so please check our advice on how to stay awake while learning from textbooks.
Learn the science of sleep with Matthew Walker
Before we get to precise useful tips for staying awake, it is crucial to get some understanding of why we sleep. And here Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams comes in hand! Why our bodies get tired, what kind of processes go on in our brain and bodies, and why you feel exhausted. You should also know what kind of dramatic consequences for your health you sign up when studying all night, preparing for a next-day exam like a marathon-runner. I don’t want to sound didactic (we all face binge-learning for exams once in a while), but don’t feel too encouraged to choose it as your learning style. The book is a great read — don’t skip it — but if you want an instructive summary, check his TED talk.
If you are used to doing your revision half-lying on the bed in your pajama, it is not even surprising that your eyes are closing down. Remember, feeling cozy is your enemy now! It is better to put on clothes that you use to go to university in order to feel that you are not at home but rather working. This will get you out of this home-sleeping mindset! Also, it is always good to sit at the table when you have to do bulks of reading and prepare notes before the exam because it makes you more concentrated and you do not want to sleep that much.
Do Not Revise at Your Place
It is even better if you have the option to revise in the library rather than at home. In this case you will definitely avoid the temptation to curl up in your bed or approach your fridge for the 10th time in a row. Moreover, most likely you will see other students concentrated over their textbooks so it should stimulate your working mood as well. Also the tables in the libraries are large so you can lay out all your books and still have a space for your laptop! If you have to do an all-nighter – library is the place to go! As an option, you can also consider revising with some of your friends at their place or in silent study rooms in the dorms.
Do Some Moving
It can seem that when you are almost dead from not enough sleep, moving is not the best option to save your energy for work. But actually it is not the case this time. We are not advising you to go to the gym for a full work out but rather get out to the street for a 10 minutes’ walk. Fresh air and simple exercising will boost your oxygen levels and will pump your blood which is what you need for staying awake! Therefore, do not stay stagnant!
Talk to Someone
If you feel stuck or tired and you reread the same 2 rows for the 5th time, it is a signal that you need to change the activities a bit. Speaking to someone who understands you, who can support you or share something interesting can help you refresh yourself! Having a conversation is naturally stimulating and emotionally charging. By engaging in a chat for a little bit, you recharge your energy and raise your mood!
Ensure it is Bright Enough
It is harder to fall asleep when lights are on, isn’t it? So you should use this technique for your benefit when you are doing lots of revision. It will stimulate your working mood as well as ensure you have good eyesight even on your graduation day! The more you feel asleep, the more lights you should turn on – that is the way to go! And make sure you have a good table lamp that provides enough lighting from the left because it will take the pressure off your eyes when you are trying to concentrate on the text.
Alternatively, you can switch to e-textbooks as your study partners — the blue light from your laptop or tablet will prevent you from falling asleep. But don’t misuse this feature and regularly stay away from your devices.
Look away from the Computer
You have only one pair of eyes so you should use them wisely to benefit from good eyesight all your life! Lighting is important for this as well as taking breaks! It is good to let your eyes wander every 90 minutes: you can do eye exercises, you can look around or even look into the window for a scenery change! All this will help relieve stress from your eyes and will let you stay concentrated in the long run.
Water and Food
It is unavoidable that you use a lot of energy when concentrating so you will need a recharge! That is why a lot of college students prepare stacks of chocolate, sweets and crisps for their revision times! These are quick carbohydrates which will boost you energy just for a short while! So it is better to eat some brainy foods that stimulate your brain activity and that do not put your waistline at danger at the same time! This includes blueberries, nuts, pumpkin seeds, avocados, carrots, celery or dark chocolate.
Drinking water is a very important habit during revision as well. It refreshes you and boosts your focus. Also you tend to eat less when you drink a lot which is not bad either!